PINGYAO - China's Shanxi province

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Does anyone have any comments on Pingyao, China. I am traveling with a family of five.

We were there a while back - probably 10 years ago. It was a real glimpse into China's past - a perfect piece of preserved history. I have no idea if it is still the same, but it was a highlight for us on our third (or 4th?) trip to China.

I recall that we stayed in an OK 3* hotel, but there was a well-known and often cited guesthouse within the walled city that we wished we had stayed in instead. We visited it in case we wanted to return to Pingyao: it had small rooms, no toilets en suite, but was a really charming place for a day or two and in a perfect location.

I was in Pingyao last Aug. 30-31. It is a charming town with the best preserved ancient wall in China (with 72 watchtowers along the walls). You don't need more than a day or two there, so I hope you are going to other places in China too (such as nearby Taiyuan). Of course the main thing to do in Pingyao is to walk as much of the 6 kilometers of the city wall as you can. Due to structural repairs being made to at least one section of the wall you cannot walk around the whole circumference in one full swoop, but rather have to do it in segments.

Other sites of interest in Pingyao are the Rishengchang Financial House Museum (the first bank established in China), Confucian Temple, City Tower, and Nine Dragon Screen. You might also want to make an afternoon excursion to Shuanglin Temple, a 1500 year old Buddhist temple that contains over 2000 clay statues of deities and religious icons. It is within close proximity to Pingyao and can be reached by rickshaw or taxi, or by cycling there yourself.

The "well-known and often cited guesthouse within the walled city" that jbh refers to is probably the Harmony Guesthouse. I didn't stay there, but rather at the Pingyao Hongshanyi Folk Guesthouse. Although the latter wasn't as centrally located as the Harmony Guesthouse, it was an authentic, stylish, elegant Qing Dynasty house with many courtyards that conveyed the historic atmosphere that it intended, albeit with all of today's modern conveniences. It's probably more expensive than the Harmony Guesthouse, but I would definitely recommend it. It is about a 7-10 minute walk from the center of town.

I still can't remember the name of the place I mentioned above. I did check Harmony Guesthouse online though and that's not it.

This little Inn we looked at was quite tiny and rustic and its name was in Chinese only; at the time I believe it catered to Chinese tourists only. Mind you, this was over 10 years ago and things probably have changed, though being Pingyao maybe not - and hopefully not.