Top ChoiceBuddhist Site in Pingyao

Shuanglin Temple

This fascinating Buddhist temple houses many incredibly rare, sublimely carved Tang, Song and Yuan painted statues. Rebuilt in 1571, it’s a mesmerising complex of ancient halls: the interiors of the Sakyamuni...

Top ChoiceHistoric Site in Pingyao

Pingyao City Walls

A good place to start your Pingyao experience is the magnificent city walls; they date from 1370 and are among the most complete in the nation. At 10m high and more than 6km in circumference, they are punctuated...

Top ChoiceChinese in Pingyao

Qīnqíng Lúshí Pù

This two-storey restaurant lets you sample all kinds of Pingyao and Shanxi treats without stuffing yourself. The bilingual menu offers meal sets featuring small portions of local classics, such as pork terrine...

Mountain in Pingyao

Mian Shan

With vertiginous and dizzying cliffs alongside a deep gorge, this astonishing mountain area is a splendid day trip from Pingyao. Lined with precariously perched temple architecture, scenic gully walks and...

Historic Building in Pingyao

Wang Family Courtyard

More castle than cosy home, this grand Qing dynasty former merchant's residence has been very well maintained (note the wooden galleries fronting many of the courtyard buildings) and exudes an austere...

Buddhist Site in Pingyao

Zhenguo Temple

While not as famous as Shuanglin Temple, Zhenguo Temple also houses a magnificent collection of old halls and ancient statues. Don't miss the still-living 1000-year-old Dragon Scholar Tree. The incredible Hall of...

Taoist Site in Pingyao

City God Temple

Within the venerable halls of this astonishing temple, first raised in the Song dynasty, are some intriguing frescoes, including the hall at the very rear of the temple, the Qǐn Gōng (寝宫). Also look out for the...

Photography in Pingyao

Pingyao International Photography Festival

PIP, founded in 2001, has been instrumental in helping to put Pingyao on the global tourism map. The main exhibitions are held at the Confucius Temple. In 2018, some 3000 photographers from 35 countries took part...

Historic Building in Pingyao

Pingyao Festival Palace

An abandoned diesel engine factory is now a cinema-restaurant-souvenir shop complex, and the venue of the Pingyao International Film Festival. There's an open-air theatre and five auditoriums. The cinema, in a...

Museum in Pingyao

Rishengchang Financial House Museum

Not to be missed, this museum began life as a humble dye shop in the late 18th century before its tremendous success as a business saw it transform into China’s first draft bank (1823), eventually expanding to 57...

Confucian Site in Pingyao

Confucius Temple

Pingyao’s oldest surviving building is Dacheng Hall (大成殿, Dàchéng Diàn), dating from 1163. It can be found in the Confucius Temple, a huge complex where bureaucrats-to-be came to take the imperial exams. Within...

Cafe in Pingyao

Sakura Cafe

This eclectic and fun cafe-bar attracts both locals and foreigners with its daily food and drink specials. It does decent, if pricey, pizzas (from ¥65), burgers, sandwiches and omelettes, plus breakfasts, coffee,...

Film in Pingyao

Pingyao International Film Festival

An excellent film festival founded in 2017 by internationally acclaimed director and Shanxi native Jia Zhangke (贾樟柯), PYIFF showcases the works of upcoming and award-winning directors from China, Asia and the...

Notable Building in Pingyao

Old Town Cinema

This incongruously socialist-era concrete building houses one of the last operating cinemas from the 1960s in China. The building has recently been restored and the facilities upgraded to include a gallery on the...

Chinese in Pingyao

Tianyuankui

With wooden furnishings and helpful staff, this huge restaurant spanning three dining spaces in a courtyard house has a loud and jolly vibe. The iPad English menu has photos of the dishes, making ordering a snap....

Chinese in Pingyao

Déjūyuán

Traveller-friendly, but no worse for that, this popular and welcoming little restaurant has a simple and tasty menu (in English) of Shanxi dishes. Try the famed scrambled eggs with Shanxi vinegar and chilli...

Taoist Site in Pingyao

Qīngxū Guān

This graceful 10-hall Taoist temple at the end of Dong Dajie dates to the Tang dynasty. The most valuable relics here are the stone carvings and the stone tablet inscriptions from the Song to the Qing dynasties....

Tower in Pingyao

Pingyao City Tower

This is the signature structure standing proud above Pingyao, the tallest building in the old town – snap a photo before passing under it en route to other sites. Sadly, you can no longer climb it for city views...

Cave in Pingyao

Zhangbi Underground Castle

This network of defence tunnels stretching underground for 10km, are estimated to be 1400 years old and believed to be the longest of their kind in China. Troops were stationed here in the Sui and Tang dynasties...

Theatre in Pingyao

Yòujiàn Píngyáo

Ninety minutes of immersive, interactive theatre featuring extravagant sets and mind-blowing visual effects will transport you to ancient Pingyao. The audience walks from set to set to experience the performances...