Pingyao, Shanxi

Brimming with history in Shanxi, and dating back over 2,700 years, Pingyao was first built during the reign of King Xuan (827-782 BC) in the Western Zhou Dynasty. A listed UNESCO World Culture Heritage site, even to this day this small ancient town looks much the same as it did same when it was one of China’s biggest trading and financial centres during the late Ming and Qing Dynasties.

Well-preserved, and home to a plethora of significant buildings, sites and ancient ruins, Pingyao Ancient City is Pingyao’s top attraction. Bounded by a six-kilometre wall, with six major gates and 72 watchtowers, and home to about 40,000 residents, the city is dotted with historic structures, temples, shops and cultural relics. For a taste of the arts, an exhilarating traditional Shanxi Opera performance, which includes acrobatics and other visual delights, is not to be missed. Famous for its noodles that come in hundreds of shapes and sizes, the native cuisine here is as fascinating as its folk culture. Local handicrafts include: lacquerware, paper cutting, batik and handmade cloth shoes. Pingyao is a voyage back in time.