Taiyuan travel guide
Nestled amongst some of the most spectacular scenery in Shanxi Province, the city of Taiyuan is a fantastic place to spend a few days. Home to just under two million, this smaller city is just as vibrant as other Chinese cities but without all the hustle and bustle you might find in Beijing or Shanghai. To get the most out of your holiday, you should read up on your city guide to Taiyuan to find out what things to do and see there are.
One provincial museum that stands heads over all other provincial museums is Shanxi Museum (Shanxi Bowuguan). This building has three entire floors which takes you on a complete journey through the province’s unique history, including fossils from millions of years ago right into modern day artefacts. Some of the best displays include tomb artefacts dating back to the Northern Dynasty, as well as bronze sacrificial vessels known as zun, which were constructed in the form of different animals. The best thing is that all the galleries include captions in English.
Temple lovers will fall madly in love with the Chongshan Temple (Chongshan Si) which dates back to the Tang Dynasty. Partially destroyed and reconstructed over the long centuries, it has been expanded during the Qing Dynasty but then destroyed again in the 19th century; it is home to three outstanding statues. These are Manjuris, the Bodhisattva of Wisdom, Guanyin, the Buddhist goddess of mercy, and Samantabhadra, the Bodhisattva of Truth.
The Shanxi Museum is not the only museum in town; a visit to the Shanxi Provincial Museum (Shanxi Sheng Bowuguan) is located inside a temple built to honour the immortal Lu Dongbin. Situated not far down the road from Chongshan Temple, you can admire a variety of Buddhist and Daoist statues on the second floor. The Confucian Temple (Wen Miao) makes up the other part of the museum.
Climbing up a long, dark and spiralling staircase will reward you with fantastic views from the Twin Pagoda Temple (Shuangta Si). Consiting of twin towers, 13 storeys high, these Ming Dynasty towers will truly capture your imagination and take your breath away with their outstanding views.
Head about 25km outside of the city itself and you will discover the Jinci Temple (Jinci Si). It is a Buddhist temple which first saw construction begin back in 1023. The Hall of the Sacred Mother is the heart of the temple, embellish by eight dragons carved out of wood, coiling around the pillars near the front. In addition to this, a series of 42 clay statues of the mother of the founder of the Jin State make for a breathtaking glance.
Restaurants in Taiyuan feature a variety of different local and national cuisine and even some international ones, making eating time both delicious and varied.
There are a wide range of hotels in Taiyuan, from budget friendly hostels and guesthouses to the comforting mid-range accommodation. Prices are much more reasonable in Taiyuan than in larger cities such as Beijing or Shanghai.
Taiyuan is a beautiful city, and although it may not be as crowded or as big as other Chinese cities, it has a unique character that makes her one of the best destinations in the entire country.