Taiyuan (太原; Tàiyuán) is the capital of Shanxi Province and a common stopover between Wu Tai Shan and Pingyao.
Situated next to Fenhe River and surrounded by mountains. Taiyuan has a history of over 2,500 years. Now, Taiyuan is important as home to heavy industry and mining. It has 3 notable sights that can be seen within half a day: the Shanxi Museum, the carvings at Chongshan Temple and The Twin Pagodas.
- 1 Taiyuan Wusu International Airport (太原武宿国际机场, TYN IATA). There are flights to Beijing, Guangzhou and Xi'an daily and commonly services Chinese tourists wanting to visit Wu Tai Shan and Pingyao.
- 2 Taiyuan Railway Station.
- 3 Taiyuan South Railway Station. All high speed trains leave from this station.
The bus station is located at the south side of Yingze Dajie, between train station and Bingzhou Lu.
- Beijing - takes about 6 hours
- Datong - takes about 5 hours
- Shijiazhuang - takes about 4 hours
- Wutaishan - takes 4-5 hours (take travel sickness medication an hour before this trip if you are prone, consider suggesting parents give their children some as well as vomiting is common on this journey)
- Yan'an - takes about 9 hours
- Yulin - takes about 8 hours
Price for local bus as for September 2013 is ¥1 per person.
Bus number 1 -- runs the length of Yingze Dajie and one can take this from the intersection across the train station west towards the museum. Hop off at the Coal Museum, just after the bridge over the river (you will see the odd shaped large buildings on the right towards the north. The upside down pyramid is the Shanxi Museum). From the bus stop head north a block and then west toward the river, then north again and you will arrive at the main entrance.
Bus 611 runs from the train station to Jinnan bus station where buses for Pingyao leave.
Bus 619 runs from the East Bus station, passing by the train station and Jinnan bus station continuing further. Ask or leave when people with bags does.
Taxi -- cost ¥8 flagfall and expect around ¥15 from train station to Shanxi Museum (Aug 2011).
- 1 Jinci Temple (晋祠寺; Jìncísì) (25 km southwest of central Taiyuan. Take bus 8 (from the railway station) or 804 for about 45 minutes. Also bus 308 from near railway station about 1.5 hours, ¥2.5;). 7:30AM-6:30PM. Jinci Temple, an ancient ancestral temple, was founded about 1400 years ago and was expanded during the Sui, Tang, Song, Yuan, Ming, and Qing Dynasties, resulting in a variety of architecutural styles. Today it comprises of over 100 halls, towers, pavilions, terraces, and bridges and includes some of the best Song Dynasty sculptures and buildings still extant in China as well as some lovely gardens and ancient trees. Well known structures at Jinci include the Hall of Offerings (献殿; Xiàndiàn), The Flying Bridge Across the Fish Pond (鱼沼飞梁; Yúzhǎo Fēiliáng), and the Hall of the Holy Mother (圣母殿; Shèngmǔdiàn), the most famous building at Jinci. Completed in 1032 and with carved wooden dragons coiled around the eight pillars that support its upward-curving double-eave roof, this impressive structure contains some of the finest Song Dynasty clay sculptures in China, each with a different facial expression. ¥40.
- 2 Yongzuo Temple (永祚寺), Shuangta North Road, Yingze District (迎泽区双塔北路; Yíngzéqū Shuāngtǎběilù) (bus 812, 820 or 873). 8AM-5PM. This temple is noted for its pair of 13-story octagonal pagodas, dating back some 400 years. These twin pagodas, which can easily be seen from much of Taiyuan, are often used as a symbol of Shanxi's largest city. The two towers, made of brick and stone, are 53 meters in height. Visitors can climb a spiral staircase to the top of the western pagoda to enjoy a panoramic view over the city. Closed until September 2018. ¥20.
- 3 Chongshan Temple (崇善寺; Chóngshànsì), Diliang Street, Yingze District (迎泽区狄梁公街; Yíngzéqū Díliánggōngjiē (buses 2, 3, 843, 819, 818 will take you within walking distance of the temple). 8:30AM-5PM. The first temple was built in the Tang Dynasty (618-907). In 1381, the temple was extended. In the 19th century, most of the temple was destroyed. The temple is home to the Buddhist Association of Shanxi Province and includes the Bell Tower, the Dabei Hall, and the east and west wing rooms. The main hall has 3 magnificent statues, one of Guanyin, Goddess of Mercy, with 1,000 hands and eyes. Free.
- Duofu Temple (多福寺; duōfúsì; lit. Blessing Temple), Juewei Mountain (崛围山; Juéwéishān) (20 km from central Taiyuan). ¥5.
- Longquan Temple (龙泉寺; Lóngquánsì; also known as Taishan Temple) (23 km from the city). ¥10.
Other historical places
- 4 Jindoudaifu Shrine (晋窦大夫祠; Jìndòudàifucí). 8AM-5PM. ¥10.
- 5 Old Mosque (清真古寺; Qīngzhēngǔsì), 20 Jiefang Road (解放路20号; Jiěfànglù) (bus 1, 4 or 5), ☎ . 8AM-5PM. A mosque at this location was first built in the Tang Dynasty, but the present one is much younger. ¥12.
- 6 Chunyang Palace (纯阳宫; Chúnyánggōng), 33 Jianshe North Road (建设北路33号; Jiànshèběilù) (bus 3, 4 or 5 to Wuyi Square stop), ☎ . Summer 8AM-6PM, Winter 9AM-5PM. Built in the 13th century and since extended significantly. Features garden and temple as well as a number of other buildings. Closed for repair, April 2018, no end date given. ¥5.
- 7 Changjinglou (唱经楼), 33 Gulou St, LiuXiang ShangQuan, Xinghualing Qu, Taiyuan Shi, Shanxi Sheng, China, 030002. Small traditional temple.
- 8 Mengshan Big Buddha (蒙山大佛). Enormous carved Buddha statue in a hillside, with a replaced modern head.
- 9 Shanxi Museum (山西省博物馆; Shānxīshěng Bówùguǎn), 13 Binhe West Road (滨河西路北段13号; Bīnxéxīlùběiduàn) (bus 1 then walk), ☎ . 8AM-5PM, last entry 4PM. The Shanxi Museum is in a modern four-storey building at a prime location along the Fen River in central Taiyuan. It features a very impressive collection of artifacts from this history-heavy province. Chinese civilization first began to develop in Shanxi and Shaanxi provinces along the banks of the Yellow River, and this handsome provincial museum features some of the best of the historical artfacts from around the province. The museum has on display thousands of objects in a series of well laid out exhibition halls. Permanent exhibits include those devoted to relics from the Paleolithic and Neolithic ages, ancient Chinese porcelain, painting and calligraphy, jades, bronzes, Chinese currency, historical architecture, Buddhist stone scultptures, and Shanxi merchants. Signage in Chinese and English. Free.
- 10 China Coal Museum (中国煤炭博物馆; Zhōngguó Méitàn Bówùguǎn), 2 Yingze West Avenue (迎泽西大街2号; Yíngzéxīdàjiē) (bus 1, 38, 601, 611, 618, 809, 813, 822, 855 or 859 to Yingze Bridge West Station), ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Su 8AM-noon, 2:30PM-6PM. Exhibits on China's coal industry. You will have to pay ¥60 for a personal tour guide (who speaks English) in addition to the museum entrance fee. The personal tour guides do add to the experience though. ¥60.
- 11 Shanxi Science and Technology Museum (山西省科学技术馆; Shānxīshěng Kēxué Jìshù Guǎn), 晋源区长风商务文化区广经路17号 (Bus routes 27, 65, 76, 310, 311 and 823), ☎ , . W-Su and public holidays 9AM-5PM, no entry after 4PM. Free.
- 12 Shanxi Art Museum (山西省艺术博物馆).
- 13 Taiyuan Art Museum (太原美术馆).
- 14 Taiyuan People's Art Museum (太原市群众艺术馆).
- 15 Taiyuan Merchant's Museum, S Shahe North Coastwise, Yingze Qu, Taiyuan Shi, Shanxi Sheng, China, 030001.
- 16 [dead link] Craft Art Museum of Shanxi (山西工艺美术馆), 328 Yingze St, Yingze Qu, Taiyuan Shi, Shanxi Sheng, China, ☎ .
- 17 Taiyuan Museum (太原博物馆). City museum with interesting modern architectural style.
Nature and parks
- 18 Yingze Park (迎泽公园).
- 19 Children's park (儿童公园; Értóng Gōngyuán), Haizibian West Street (海子边西街; Hǎizibianxījiē) (in the city centre), ☎ . Dating back to the Qing Dynasty. Is home to library, exhibitions, planetarium and a number of older and newer buildings.
- 20 [dead link] Taiyuan Zoo (太原动物园; Tàiyuán Dòngwùyuán), 176 Jianhe Rd (northwest corner of Taiyuan, take bus 25, 855 or 864), ☎ . Summer 7:30AM-7PM, winter 7:30AM-6PM. ¥10.
- 21 Forest Park (森林公园; Sēnlín Gōngyuán), Binhe East Road (滨河东路; Bīnhédōnglù) (northern part of city, main entrance and parking area from West Gate on Binhe East Road), ☎ . 7AM-8PM. Artificial forest park landscaped with valleys and rivers. It is features various recreational facilities. ¥5.
- Jinci Park (晋祠公园; Jìncígōngyuán).
- 22 Tianlongshan Grottoes (天龙山石窟; Tiānlóngshān Shíkū) (40 km southwest of Taiyuan. Best reached by car. A bus runs from Wuyi Square in Taiyuan to Qingxu, which is the nearest major town to the grottoes.). 7:30AM-6:30PM. Tianlongshan Grottoes is a series of 25 caves carved into the mountainside of Tianlong Mountain and well known among Chinese art experts for the fine Buddhist statues and decorations which were sculpted within. The earliest of these caves were built during the Eastern Wei Dynasty (534-550), and additional caves were added in the Northern Qu, Sui, and Tang Dynasties. Grottoes 2 and 3 are the oldest in the complex, dating back nearly 1500 years. The largest and most impressive grotto is the ninth one, a multi-storied cave with several large Buddha statues and covered by an intricate three-story wooden pavilion, the Manshan Pavilion. As of October 2018, it's closed for renovation and construction; it should be open around the 2019 May Day holiday. Even the guards won't accept money to let you in. ¥25.
- 23 Longshan Grottoes (龙山石窟; Lóngshān Shíkū) (Longshan Mountain, 20 km southeast of central Taiyuan). 7:30AM-6:30PM. Built at the beginning of Yuan Dynasty. They comprise a Taoist temple and a number of statues. ¥20.
- 24 Fenhe Scenic Area (汾河景区; Fénhéjǐngqū). Scenic area around Fen River. It includes four theme areas, six natural scenery areas and seven sightseeing spots. ¥10.
- Juewei Mountain Scenic Area (崛围山风景区; Juéwéishān Fēngjǐngqū) (24 km northwest of centre). The scenic area is home to a temple, a tower, pagodas and lots of trees. Locals flock here in autumn to see the red leaves and in spring to see the flowers. In clear weather there are great views of Taiyuan.
- Shanxi Jin Opera Troupe Theater. Stages Beijing Opera performances.
- Changfeng Theater (长风剧场; Chángfēng Jùchǎng), 123 Liuxiang South Rd, ☎ . The oldest theater in Taiyuan large enough for an audience of 1,200. Stages Beijing Opera performances.
- Hubin Conference Hall (湖滨会堂; Húbīn Huìtáng), 180 Yingze Dajie, ☎ , , . Stages performing arts and festivals large enough for an audience of 2,145.
- Taiyuan Liyuan Culture Center (太原梨园文化中心; Tàiyuán Líyuán Wénhuàzhōngxīn), 148 Qianfeng North Rd, ☎ . Comprises halls for opera, folk music, story telling and disco. Stages both modern and traditional performances.
- 1 Shanxi Grand Theatre (山西大剧院). Performing arts theatre.
- Wheat Festival. September. Fine foods festival focusing on local dishes based on wheat.
- Wine Festival. November. Festival focusing on Shanxi Province as a centre for local wine production.
- International Folk Art Festival. September. Stages dance, song and theatre and exhibits art and sculpture.
One area to visit for shopping is Bell Tower Street where you will find Fenjiu Dasha, Dongfang Department Store, Jinge Clothing Store and lots of smaller stores. Another option is Liu Xiang where you will find Guidu Department store, Wanjia Dasha, other department stores and many fashion shops.
Local products and markets
Local products can be found around town, but especially in Liuxiang Shopping District. These products include paper cuttings, jade, dough sculptures and lacquer goods.
- Friendship Store, Yingze Dajie.
- Arts and Crafts Store, Yingze Dajie.
- Taiyuan Clothing City, 148 Chaoyang St, ☎ .
- Taiyuan Fine Clothing City, 146 Chaoyang St, ☎ .
- Yudu Commercial City, B76 Chaoyang St, ☎ .
- Qinglong Computer City, 130 Nanneihuan St, ☎ .
- Qinxian Village Flower & Bird Market, Qinxian Village, Xiaodian District, ☎ .
- Confucius Temple Street Antique Market. Lots of small antique shops.
- South Palace Collectibles Market, Yingze Dajie. Lots of small shops selling all kind of local stuff.
- Shanxi Antique City, 3 Datiejiang Xiang, Yingze District, ☎ . Six story mall selling both real angtiques and copies.
- Meet All Supermarket (美特好; Měitèhǎo), ☎ .
- Hualian Supermarket (华联超市; Huàlián Chāoshì).
- [dead link] Tangjiu Shopping Center, ☎ .
- Haoganggang Mutton Soup Restaurant (At the north entrance of Liuxiang).
- Qingheyuan Restaurant, 97 Qiaotou St. Breakfast restaurant serving tasty mutton soup.
- Taiyuan Noodle Restaurant, 73 Yingze Ave (At the junction of Dananmen and Yingze Avenue). Here you can try the very famous local noodles.
- Brazilian Barbeque (Xinjian South Road), West side of the street, near Wal-mart. Eat all you can, nice salads. Around ¥40 per person.
- Hotpot City, 16 Yingze Ave (Close to the train station).
- Lüjiayuan, 352 Jiefang Rd (Opposite the Agriculture Bank of China). Vegetarian restaurant.
- Taiyuan Mianshiguan, 17 Jiefang Rd, ☎ . 11AM-3PM, 5:30PM-9:30PM. Typical local restaurant.
- Sanjin Restaurant, 425 Neihuan South St, ☎ . Typical local restaurant.
- Greenery Cafe, 9 Shuiximen Street, Yingze District, ☎ . Serves Chinese and Western food.
- Waitan Fengshang Western Restaurant, 246 Bei Dajie, ☎ . Serves steaks as well as typical café dishes.
- Tribes People Bar, 63 Mianhua Xiang.
- Xinqing Bar (lit. Mood Bar), 14 Yi Wenyuan Xiang.
- Ba'er Bar, 100 Qinxian North St. The first bar to open in the city.
- Dio Coffee, 5 Xinnan Yitiao, Yingze District, ☎ . Coffee and Western food. Free internet.
- UBC Coffee (上岛咖啡; Shàngdǎo Kāfēi).
- Jiefang South Road Branch (解放南路店; Jiěfàngnánlùdiàn), 23 Jiefang South Road, Yingze District (迎泽区解放南路23号; Yíngzéqū Jiěfàngnánlù) (Just south of Nangong Square), ☎ .
- Wenhua Garden Branch (文华苑店; Wénhuáyuàndiàn), Changfeng Street (长风街; Chángfēngjiē), ☎ .
- Fu West Street Branch (府西街店; Fǔxījiēdiàn), 79 Fu West Street, Xinghualing District (杏花岭区府西街79号; Xìnghuālǐngqū Fǔxījiē).
- Hanting Express (Taiyuan Shenglidong Branch) (汉庭快捷酒店 (太原胜利桥东店); Hàntíngkuàijié Jiǔdiàn (Tàiyuán Shènglìqiáodōngdiàn)), (杏花岭区北大街276号; ), ☎ , fax: . Small rooms with free internet. Listed rates for doubles from ¥139, breakfast ¥15.
- Tielu Hotel (Tielu Binguan), 18 Yingze Ave, ☎ .
- Vico Inn (Taiyuan Fuzhuang City Branch) (维客商务酒店 (太原服装城店); Wéikè Shāngwùjiǔdiàn (Tàiyuán Fúzhuāngchéngdiàn)), 115 Shungta North Road, Yingze District (迎泽区双塔北路115号; Yíngzéqū Shuāngtǎběilù). Rooms with sofas and free internet. Most of the rooms also have refrigerator and safe. Business center available. Listed rates for doubles from ¥188.
- Yun Shan Hotel (Yun Shan Fandian), 99 Yingze Ave, ☎ .
- Changtai Fandian, 60 Yingze Dong Dajie, ☎ , fax: .
- Shanxi Dianli Dasha, 39 Yingze Dajie, ☎ , fax: .
- Shanxi Huayuan Binguan, 9 Yingze Dajie, ☎ , fax: .
- Yingze Binguan, 189 Yingze Dajie, ☎ .
- [dead link] World Trade Hotel Jin Jiang, 69 Fuxi Street, Xinghualing District, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. 5-star business hotel in the heart of downtown. It offers 398 rooms, a business center, function rooms, several restaurants, and fun facilities for a relaxing vacation.
- Pingyao - Famous for its ancient walled city (generally considered the best in China), the typical route taken there is through Taiyuan
- Wutaishan National Park