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Gravity Defying Hanging Monastery

HOME / DESTINATIONS / CHINA / 5 DAYS CLASSIC SHANXI

 5 DAYS CLASSIC SHANXI

Shanxi Province or 'Province West of the Mountain' as it would be known in English is located in the middle of the fertile Yellow River valley. The province flourished during the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907) due to the growing importance of the Yangzi basin along the Silk Road. Sadly, centuries of decline followed but, and in many parts due to UNESCO naming seven World Heritage Sites in the region (including the whole ancient town of Pingyao), Shanxi Province offers an amazingly well-preserved look into Buddhist history and Chinese architectural styles throughout the dynasties.

ITINERARY DAY-TO-DAY

1

DAY

DATONG

Explore charming Datong, once the ancient capital of the Northern Wei Empire. Discover the classical masterpiece of Chinese Buddhist art at the Yungang Grottoes dating back to the 5th and 6th centuries.

2

DAY

DATONG / WUTAISHAN

Explore the pavilions of the Hanging Monastery that clings breathtakingly to a sheer cliff. Climb up and take a tour through the winding hallways of this bizarre but beautiful old temple. Discover the Huayan Monastery, the largest and best-preserved Liao Dynasty monastery in China with its murals, sculptures and intricately carved roofs. In the afternoon, lunch with a local monk and learn about life in a Chinese monastery. Drive 4 hours to Wutaishan, one of the four sacred mountains of Chinese Buddhism. Gaze in awe at the sublime mountain landscapes at this UNESCO World Heritage site that is still relatively unexplored by travelers.

3

DAY

WUTAISHAN / PINGYAO

Explore Foguang, a tranquil Buddhist temple nestled in a remote village in the Wutaishan area, houses well-preserved wooden buildings and sculptures dating back to the Tang Dynasty. Drive to Pingyao. Once the financial centre of China and a cutting edge city, it is now the only city in China that has completely maintained its ancient building structures with no modern buildings in the city. Discover the Shuanglin Temple with over 1,500 years of history and an impressive collection of rare and impeccably crafted statues.

4

DAY

PINGYAO 

Named after the Ming and Qing Dynasties, walk down Mingqing Street, the city's main shopping area. Explore the Pingyao Ancient Town, a time capsule of preserved ancient buildings, wooden structures and bright red lanterns. Vist the Rishengchang Money Exchange, one of the earliest of its kind in China, now considered a cultural relic. Explore the sprawling Wang Residence, a testimony to the affluent commercial centre and traditional Chinese architecture. Try your hand at making Shanxi-knife-cut noodles and learn the history behind this technique.

5

DAY

PINGYAO 

Built as a memorial to the founder of the Jin state, explore the Jinci Temple, a rare temple that is not affiliated with the Buddhist religion, instead devoted to the worship of water deities, ancestors, and a multitude of other gods. 

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