Asia

Train from Datong to Pingyao and first impressions

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We continue with the story of Trip to china we did in August 2012. On this occasion, we left behind the city of Datong to travel to the picturesque Pingyao, a world heritage city.

That day it was time to get up early, because at 7:45 we left our train from Datong station to Pingyao and, seeing the success we had had with the city taxi drivers, we wanted to go ahead. However, that day the fortune got on our side and we quickly stopped a taxi that, without putting any fault, left us at the train station in five minutes.

Anyway, it was fortunate to arrive well in advance, because the magnitude of this train station is considerable. Soon we sat in one of the waiting rooms and dedicated ourselves to observe the sway of busy passengers, many of them with large luggage and bundles.

The train from Datong to Pingyao takes about six hours and, although there was also a night train, we prefer to make the day trip to get more rested. About twenty minutes before leaving, they let us access the platform. As in the India and Vietnam, the train was very long, so it took a few minutes to get to our car. At the door, a reviewer checked the tickets and passport, and let us up.

The category of hardsleeper It is two triple berths per compartment and the compartments are open. We perched atop the berth and enjoyed the day-to-day human landscape of a train trip in China. We discovered that people spent most of their time eating and chatting animatedly. We were also very surprised that the car included a tap from which boiling water flowed and used to cook the instant noodle bowls sold everywhere. In front of us, in the hallway, was a couple with a child who would be barely a year old, very funny. Thanking the child, reading from time to time, and watching the fields pass through the window, the six hours flew by.

Pingyao train station is in the modern part of this town, about 20 minutes walk from the walled city, where our hotel was. The ancient city is somewhat labyrinthine and at first it is difficult to orient yourself. So, so as not to have to go back to drag suitcases for hours like in DatongWe asked the hotel to come and get us.

At the exit of the station we were waiting for a driver from tuk-tuk. In Pingyao the tuk tuks They are different from those in India. They are a kind of carts of about four seats towed by a motorcycle. We accommodate the bags as we could and started at full speed, holding the bags with our hands so as not to lose them in a curve.

In about five minutes, the tuk-tuk He left the modern city behind and crossed the walls of the imperial city of Pingyao. This part is a world heritage site since 1986 and as soon as you enter, you move to another era. We snaked down some very narrow streets and finally dropped us at the hotel door.

He Yide hotel It is one of those accommodations that oozes history all over the walls. The hotel is built in a house built in 1736 and belonged to a rich merchant during the reign of Emperor Qianlong. The rooms are arranged around courtyards, it has a very quiet atmosphere, it is perfectly renovated and it is very close to one of Pingyao's main arteries: Nan Dajie Street.

We cooled off, ate something in the hotel restaurant and went out to visit Pingyao. The walled city of Pingyao can be visited for free, but you have to pay admission to visit the interior of eighteen places of interest or to climb the walls. It costs 150 yuan and is valid for three days. In addition, at the box office we rented an audio guide for 40 yuan, to learn more about everything we were going to see.

In summer, the places of interest close at seven in the afternoon, so we still had a couple of hours to visit the city. If one wants to imagine how ancient China should be, there is no better place than Pingyao, because this walled city is one of the best preserved in China.

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