During this 5-day tour, visitors visit Mount Wutai, Pingyao old town, Hukou Waterfall, and Yungang Grottoes to enjoy Shanxi province's breathtaking beauty.
DAY1: Hukou Waterfall Travel to Linfen by train and visit the Hukou Waterfall on the Yellow River, China's second largest waterfall.
After breakfast, go to Qixian county by bus to visit the Qiao Family Courtyard, where the movie "Raise the Red Lantern" and the TV series "Qiao's Grand Courtyard" were shot, and the residence of Qiao Zhiyong, a commerce and finance expert in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912); the scenic spots are included in the 72-yuan ticket price and the visit takes about an hour. The courtyard is called "a pearl of northern Chinese architecture" and has three treasures -- a spherical mirror called the "10,000-People Ball", a rhinoceros-watching-the-moon mirror, and a 9-dragon lantern. In the afternoon, you go to Pingyao by bus to visit the old city (tickets are 150 yuan, and the fee for the battery car ride is 30 yuan), taking around 2 hours 30 min. The old city is one of four in China that are World Cultural Heritage sites. You start from the old city wall, an important military fortification from the Western Zhou Dynasty (11th century-771 BC) and one of the four best preserved walls in China, the other three being in Xi'an Walls, Shaanxi province, Jingzhou, in Hubei and Xingcheng, in Liaoning. Next you visit the old county government, the best preserved office of its kind in China; then to the Rishengchang Exchange Shop, an early form of banking; then the largest private bank courtyard in Pingyao at the Xietongqing Private Bank Museum; you can also go to old China's "Wallstreet", a Ming-and-Qing Street, to see the old residences and architecture; you can return to Taiyuan for the night.
Early in the morning go to Taihua by bus to visit Mount Wutai, one of five sacred Buddhist sites in the world and the most important of China's four Buddhist mountains and where both the Han Buddhist and Tibetan Buddhist rites are performed. Wutai gets its name from five majestic peaks, and is also called Qingliang (Cool) Mountain, because you don't feel the heat there in summer. Wutai is a Bodhimanda (site of wisdom) of the Wenshu Bodhisattva, one of four major ones in Chinese Buddhism.You visit Pusa Ding (Bodhisattva Top), the largest lama temple and one of five places for a monastic life on Wutai, and the top of "10 Shaman Temples"; where the Wenshu Bodhisattva with swords is worshiped; then to Guanghua Temple, where the Living Buddha Zhangjia lived and a well-known Huayan Bodhimanda, with 16 rare stone anandas; finally you visit Shuxiang Temple, the largest temple with a figure of the Wenshu Bodhisattva and one of Wutai's "10 Qing temples", and a typical Han Buddhis temple, famous for its gardens and paving stones. Members of the royal family used to visit it in the past.
After breakfast, you visit Wuye Temple, also known as Wanfo (10,000 Buddha) Pavilion,where there are thousands of Buddha figures, and Wutai's most popular temple; then on to Dailuo Ding, where you can make "a small pilgrimage" and show your respect to the five Wenshu Bodhisattvas and Buddha And you can walk along Wisdom Path with its 1080 steps of bluestone up the mountain or take the cable car; after lunch, you leave Wutai by bus for Datong.
Take the bus to Datong, a historical, cultural city and home of Shanxi gourmets and coal, where you can visit nearby Hunyuan county, and Hanging Temple, which China's famous traveler, Xu Xiake, called a wonder on earth, and where Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism co-exist; after lunch, you visit the Yungang Grottos, a world cultural heritage site and one of China’s four grotto treasures -- with Dunhuang Mogaos, Luoyang Longmen, and Maijishan; you ten return to your starting point by train to bring your Shanxi journey to a close.
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