Datong’s old town has been extensively resurrected at colossal expense to put Datong back on the map. The former mayor ploughed a fortune into trying to turn Datong back into an old town (by rebuilding it). Sadly, a considerable amount of the original old town was levelled before being rebuilt. Nonetheless, what is on show is alluring, especially at night when lanterns illuminate the old town, though an absence of local inhabitants can make the place feel soulless after the day trippers depart.
The rebuilt city walls are a major part of the symphony, and are also delightfully lit up come nightfall. The area east of the Drum Tower (around Gulou Dongjie) feels more atmospheric and less gaudy than the west, with several nice courtyard bars and cafes.