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Datong

Datong (大同, Dàtóng) today is fascinating, and charming to boot. Come nighttime, the old-town sensations – with red lanterns swinging in the breeze and wind chimes tinkling on the illuminated city walls – evoke Datong's past glories as an ancient capital. No matter that most of this has been recreated from scratch: an estimated ¥50 billion has been ploughed into a colossal renovation of the old quarter. The city wall has been rebuilt in its entirety, enclosing a retinue of renovated (or newly built) sights. But it's beyond the wall where Datong really comes into its own. The town is the gateway to the awe-inspiring Yungang Caves, one of China’s most outstanding Buddhist treasures, as well as a launchpad to the photogenic Hanging Monastery, the world’s oldest wooden pagoda, crumbling earthen sections of the Great Wall and onward trips to sacred Wutai Shan.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Datong.