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Datong-Wutaishan-Taiyuan or Pingyao-Xian 16th Sept 2012

Sydney, Australia
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Datong-Wutaishan-Taiyuan or Pingyao-Xian 16th Sept 2012

Hi Tripadvisor regulars,

1st of all i would like to say thank you to all those people contributed to the China travel forum. I got heaps of info & advise from it. Most of my querries were answered by checking out all the topics posted . Thank you !

Has anyone been on this route lately? From Datong-Wutaishan-Taiyuan or Pingyao-Xian.

I need a more update info on cost, timetable for bus, train & private car please.

I have read so many travel forums, travel websites and i only need a bit more info to complete my 7 weeks trip in China. Please help !

There will be a party of 3 female travellers in total.

My plan is to catch an overnight train 2602/2603 , departing Beijin on 16th Sept 2012 at 2342hr, arriving at Datong Railway station on 17th Sept at 0603hr.

Does anyone know if this train schedule still correct for that date?

I understand one can only book train ticket about 11 days inadvance. How sure can i be of getting a ticket? what is the best assure way of getting a train ticket from Beijin to Datong via travel agent? or via hotel? or straight to the railway counter? I do speak a bit of Mandarin.

After check in at Garden Hotel in Datong .We would like to head straight to our sightseeings.

Day 1: 17th Sept: Visit the Yungang caves 1st, then the Yanmenguan Pass of the Great Wall after that come back to Datong. Visit Huayan & Shanhua Monasteries, the Nine-Dragon Screen. I know these 3 places are very close to each other. From the info i got all these places only open at 0900hr. Closes at 1630hr for the the Nine-Dragon Screen & 1700hr for both temples. I want an early start the next day, i don't want to wait till 0900hr for them to open. This way i also get more time in the Yungang caves and spend some time at the nearby villages of Yanmenguan Pass.

Is day 1 doable?

Day 2: 18th Sept: Early morning 0600hr leaving Datong 2 hrs drive to Wooden Temple (open 0700-1900hr). We should reach there by 0800hr, give me 1-2 hrs time spending here.

Then onto the Hanging Temple ( 2hrs drive + 2-3hrs looking around the HangingTemple ) and onto Wutaishan ( 2hrs drive from the Hanging Temple). I should reach Wutaishan by 1600hr or 1700hr. Not returning to Datong.

Am i too optimistic, praying for a smooth run? is this too pack for a day ? Is day 2 possible?

Do have any good recommendation for a hotel ( 18th Sept ) in Wutaishan. We want to catch the sunset & sunrise, apart from this we will visit some of the temples in TaiHuai town.

If i hired a car with driver, will the driver pick us up at Datong Raiway station & drop us at the hotel for check-in then continue on with our sightseeings?. Do i also need a tour guide or can do without? How/where can i find a reliable, reasonable price driver &/ or tourguide? How much normally one would pay for a tour guide per day?

how much will it cost me for the car per day? is the cost of the car already included the driver's fee? Would the price for the car include road tolls , petrol & parking fees? what type of vechicle normally? How safe is it?

Is both the driver/car/tourguide pay by day or per trip according to the hrs spent?

Is there much to see in Taiyuan or can i bypass it and go straight to Pingyao on a night train?

19th Sept :Train K603 departs from Wutaishan at 2328hr, arriving at Pingyao at 0555hr the next day 20th Sept.

Does anything open in this early hr of the morning in Pingyao? Do u have any good clean cheap accommodation u could recommend? 20th Sept: Only want to stay 1 night in Pingyao.

21st Sept: Depart Pingyao via train 2669 at 2138hr to Xian. Arrive at 0618hr on 22nd Sept.

After check-in at a hotel , i will have the whole day today for sightseeings but it will be Saturday.

Is it over crowded on weekends to sightseeing the popuplar sites i.e Terracotta Warriors & Xian surroundings? or should i visit Huashan this weekend since it is only 2hr drive then visit the Terracotta Warriors on a weekday? less crowded may be?

23rd Sept: Xian or Huashan

How many days does one need to spend in Xian to see most of the popular sites?

24th Sept: Train from Xian to Luoyang (4hr train ride)

25th Sept: Luoyang - Longmen caves

How many days does one need in Luoyang?

26th -27th Sept : Xian

Should i visited the Terracotta Museum onthese 2 weekdays?

I need to back track here as my flight leave from Xian on 28th Sept at 1200hr to Shanghai.

Do you have better plan/ideas for my trip? I don't like back tracking if i can avoid. Have i back track or have i going in all different directions? Please give me your porfessional advise. Much appreciated.

Nothing is set in concrete yet except my flight from Xian to Shanghai. I am open to all suggestions.

I'll be leaving my country in 5 days time, going to a remote mountain area for volunteer work, might not have internet access there. So quick reply would be really appreciated. Thank you !

Datong, China
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1. Re: Datong-Wutaishan-Taiyuan or Pingyao-Xian 16th Sept 2012

I think you try to let the Beijing hotel or guide help to book the train tickets for you because you can easy to get your tickets. If not find a travel agent to book it .

You take No.2603 arrive Datong at 6.00am check in the room then go to the Nine Dragon Wall then Yanmenguan Pass of the Great Wall and Yungang Grottoes I think time is full because the Yanmenguan Pass of the Great Wall is about 160 km away from Datong and climb the mountain of see the Great Wall and close to the Great Wall there is a small village which surrounded by high old mud wall you cannot miss it it will take at least 1h and Yungang Grottoes is quite big .

The next day you first go to Hanging Temple then Wooden Pagoda then go to Mt. Wutai is better .Otherwise it will detour. I think the Xinjinglun Hotel in Mt . Wutai is not bad and price is reasonable also.

The first day it will take 2 hours on the way from Datong to the Yanmenguan Pass and same way back because Yungang Grottoes is 16km west of the Datong downtown .

The next day it will 1.5h to the Hanging Temple and another one hour to Wooden Pagoda .2.5h from Wooden Pagoda to Mt. wutaishan.

When you arrive Pingyao you may see the old streets and buildings inside the old town then the City Wall , Exchange Bank and others all open at 8.00am. About hotel I think Tianyuan Kui Hotel , Dejuyuan Hotel and Yinglongyi Hotel are great .

I am in Datong local guide any problem please feel free to let me know . I am glad to answer your questions :)

Sherbrooke, Canada
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2. Re: Datong-Wutaishan-Taiyuan or Pingyao-Xian 16th Sept 2012

Very long post. Let me take a shot at some questions and let others complete.

You can only buy tickets in person 10 days ahead although they go on sale online 12 days ahead. Ticket availability is hard to predict and depends on many factors, so, always have a plan B. Even agents are not 100% sure of getting tickets. Consider that you are also close to the National holidays.

Weekends will be more busy than weekdays. Crowds will be more problematic in a place like a museum rather than an open space.

In Pingyao, stay within the old city walls, more rustic but more fun.

Sydney, Australia
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3. Re: Datong-Wutaishan-Taiyuan or Pingyao-Xian 16th Sept 2012

Thank you so much Nancy for your reply. It is extremely helpful. I will contact you.

Sydney, Australia
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21 posts
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4. Re: Datong-Wutaishan-Taiyuan or Pingyao-Xian 16th Sept 2012

Thank you so much Jean-Pierre for you reply. My apology for such a long post and too many unsolved questions. I have been reading lots of your advice which is very valuable. Much appreciated for taking your time to write back. It's very helpful for travellers trying to plan their trip. Please continue to contribute advice/info on Tripadvisor. Thanks to regulars like yourself, my trip planning is much easier.

London, United...
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5. Re: Datong-Wutaishan-Taiyuan or Pingyao-Xian 16th Sept 2012

I visited Datong, Pingyao, Luoyang, Zhongzhen in 2005. From my experience you have too much crowded in Datong on day one. I think , i am not sure, you would need to check this - you can visit the Hanging Temple and the Yanmenguan Pass of the Great Wall on the way to Wutiashan Mt.

There is not much to see in Taiyuan so you can take a train from Datong to Pingyao. Stay longer in Pingayo as the place is real China which is disappearing fast!

If you are in Luoynag you could visit the Shaolin Temple but you would need a whole day.

The Terracotta Warriors are always busy regardless day of the week. While in Xian visit the Provincial Museum.

Why don't you send enquire form to some of the Chinese companies? they are fast with replies. Try chinaholidays.com

Sydney, Australia
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21 posts
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6. Re: Datong-Wutaishan-Taiyuan or Pingyao-Xian 16th Sept 2012

Thank you Julia, Great help. i did send enquiries to a few travel agents but still waiting for their reply.

7. Re: Datong-Wutaishan-Taiyuan or Pingyao-Xian 16th Sept 2012

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