From last week’s trip to Yungang Grottoes, we go a little bit further south and visit Pingyao County for the second part of our China Bucket List in Shanxi.
Though I have yet to spend time in Pingyao, many say that going to the ancient city is like traveling back in time to the Ming Dynasty. Many of the buildings and courtyards retain their historical layout and structure. The ancient city is also one of the three World Cultural Heritage Sites in Shanxi (the other two are the Yungang Grottoes, which I covered last week, and Mount Wutai, which is another to-go place soon). The World Relics Committee of UNESCO calls Pingyao “an exceptionally well-preserved example of a traditional Han Chinese city, which was the major center for the whole of China in the 19th and early 20th centuries.”
Another remarkable happening in the city is the annual Pingyao International Photography (PIP) Festival, which gathers professional and amateur photographers from across the world. The event is held in the old town, which becomes a “one large, indoor and open-air photo gallery,” featuring artworks and other displays of local and international photographers. The 17th PIP this year takes place on September 19-25, with a theme of “original inspiration; a brighter future.”
Just thinking how exotic and intriguing Pingyao is makes me excited to travel there. In a few weeks’ time, our friends in Wandering China will be organizing an exclusive trip to the heritage site during the festival. The four-day excursion begins September 22 and costs RMB 1,600, which includes a round trip train ticket from Beijing, private transportation in the old town, admissions fee to scenic spots, English-speaking tour guides, hotel accommodation, dining – 3 breakfast and 2 dinners. What’s more is that all tourists in the trip are automatically participants of Wandering China’s Writers’ Competition.
Checking the net, I found these places of interest in Pingyao, which are definitely my point-and-shoot targets once I get there:
-The three Key National Protected Relics: (1) the City Wall, (2) Shuangxiu Temple, and (3) Zhenguo Temple;
– Rishengchang Bank, the first draft bank in China established in 1823 in the Qing Dynasty;
– Shuanglin Temple, which houses more than 2,000 colorful sculptures including the one-thousand-hands Avalokitesvara and the Sakyamuni.
Wandering China’s Trip to Pingyao and Writers’ Competition, Sep 22-25
All ages. Participants in Wandering China’s Writers’ Competition will get extraordinary gifts, Pingyao tourism bureau diploma, and exceptional opportunities like having their piece published in Wandering China’s magazine and online platforms. RMB 1,600 per person (fee includes a round trip train ticket, transportation, admissions fee to scenic spots, English-speaking tour guides, hotel accommodation, dining – 3 breakfast and 2 dinners). Contact Rose Quan at 139 1152 4254 to sign up. Wandering China 观览国际. Rm 2604, Tower A, U-Space, No 8 Guangqu Rd, Chaoyang (WeChat ID: guanlanzhongguo, firstname.lastname@example.org) www.wanderingchina.com 北京朝阳区广渠路8号优士阁A座2604
Our final stop in China Bucket List in Shanxi: We go back to Datong and hang out in a hanging temple.