Top things to do in Dàtóng

Top Choice Cave in Dàtóng

Yúngāng Caves

One of China’s most supreme examples of Buddhist cave art, these 5th-century caves are simply magnificent. With 51,000 ancient statues and celestial beings, they put virtually everything else in the Shānxī shade. Ca…
Top Choice Ruins in Dàtóng

Bā Táizi

Alongside magnificently dilapidated earthen sections of the Great Wall that disappear over the top of Horsehead Hill (马头山; Mǎtóu Shān), a fabulous Gothic church ruin is quite a sight. All that remains of the Holy Mo…
Top Choice Walls in Dàtóng

Nine Dragon Screen

Emblazoned with nine coiling dragons picked out in coloured glazed tiles, this is one of the finest yǐngbì (影壁) spirit walls in China (it has two counterparts in Běijīng). It's also the largest, at 45.5m long, 8m hi…
Top Choice Fortress in Dàtóng

Dàtóng City Wall

This incredible city wall has been rebuilt from the soles up in what must be one of the most ambitious feats of engineering to hit Dàtóng since, well, since the last time it was built. Prior to the rebuild, what was…
Top Choice Gallery in Dàtóng

China Sculpture Museum

This cavernous museum is built within the north Wǔdìng Mén gate section of the restored city walls, with seemingly endless corridors of excellent contemporary sculpture by Chinese and foreign artists. When you get b…
Top Choice Palace in Dàtóng

Dài Wángfǔ

Originally built in 1392 but burned to the ground in a huge conflagration in 1644 during the last gasps of the Ming dynasty, this vast palace complex (191,000 sq metres) reaches all the way north from Da Dongjie to …
Buddhist Monastery in Dàtóng

Hanging Monastery

Built precariously into the side of a cliff, the Buddhist Hanging Monastery is made all the more stunning by its long support stilts. The halls have been built along the contours of the cliff face, connected by rick…
Buddhist Site in Dàtóng

Huáyán Temple

Built by the Khitan during the Liao dynasty (AD 907–1125), this temple faces east, not south (it’s said the Khitan were sun worshippers) and is divided into two separate complexes. One of these is an active monaster…
Historic Site in Dàtóng

Old Town

Dàtóng’s old town has been extensively resurrected at colossal expense to put Dàtóng back on the map. The former mayor – now Tàiyuán's mayor – ploughed a fortune into trying to turn Dàtóng back into an old town (by …
Village in Dàtóng

Déshèngbǎo

A good place to see some raw sections of the Great Wall is Déshèngbǎo, a 16th-century walled fort almost on the border with Inner Mongolia that is now a small farming village. The fort’s north and south gates are st…