Welcome to Datong
Dàtóng (大同) 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 Dàtóng's past glories as an ancient capital. No matter that most of this has been re-created from scratch by an overambitious mayor: a mountain of cash – 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, the paint still fresh on most. But it's beyond the wall where Dàtóng really comes into its own. The town is the gateway to the awe-inspiring Yúngāng 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 Wǔtái Shān.