According to citypopulationreview.com, Taiyuan, the capital of Shanxi province, has more than 2000 years of history. And it happened in such a way that the city with the richest “background” turned not into a tourist, but into an economic and industrial center of the region. Taiyuan is even called the City of Coal and Steel due to the abundance of relevant enterprises, and the Gateway to Central China due to its location. Indeed, having emerged along a natural corridor connecting the wild steppes of the North and the fertile lands of the Yellow River valley in the south, Taiyuan had no choice but to adapt to constant invasions and changing rulers. Since then, this part of China has been valued for the abundance of Buddhist and Taoist sights – it is for them that tourists come here.
How to get to Taiyuan
There are no direct flights from Moscow to Taiyuan, you will have to fly with transfers. Guangzhou Baiyun, Shanghai Pudong, Urumqi, Beijing and Qingdao act as transit airports. Aeroflot, Air China, China Southern Airlines and China Eastern Airlines fly there from Sheremetyevo, the minimum travel time is 11 hours. The flight to Taiyuan from St. Petersburg lies through Urumqi or Beijing, at least 13 hours on the road.
Shuttles run from Taiyuan Airport to the center (between them 15 km) (30-50 minutes depending on the destination) and city bus number 201, it reaches the central railway station in 45 minutes. A trip there by taxi lasts 25 minutes and costs from 60 CNY. Prices on the page are for November 2022.
Public transport in Taiyuan is represented by buses and trolleybuses. Moreover, the numbers of their routes indicate the serviced parts of the city and county. For example, buses nos. 1-99 run within the downtown, nos. 201-399 go to the suburbs, and nos. 501-599 operate only at night.
Taxi Taiyuan is interesting in that conventional cars are gradually being replaced with electric ones. Red cars, the trip costs an average of 35 CNY.
The city has an extensive network of bike rentals. True, in order to use a bicycle, you need to download a special application and deposit 200-300 CNY. Parking in the city is mostly free, except for covered parking lots.
Like many major Chinese cities, Taiyuan is surrounded by a rectangular ring road. Most five-star hotels are located in the southern part. On average, a standard double room in a luxury hotel of one of the world’s famous chains will cost 515-940 CNY.
“Treshki” are located mostly on the eastern bank of the Fen River, the price per day is 160-280 CNY. Apartments in Taiyuan are rented from 105 CNY. Young people should pay attention to hostels – almost all of them are completely new and do not differ in any way from European ones. There are also fashionable capsule ones. A bed will cost from 75 CNY.
Cuisine and restaurants
Taiyuan is the administrative center of Shanxi Province, a region with a special, charismatic cuisine. Its feature is sweet and sour taste and the active use of deep-frying and grilling. Top dishes to try in Taiyuan are “baxi shang yao” (Chinese yam slices in hot caramel sauce), “goshao yangzhou” (mutton stew), “fulu ou” (stewed pork with bean curd), “tankuyu” (fish in sweet and sour sauce).
You can enjoy local culinary attractions on Mao Street, in the heart of the city. It consists almost entirely of restaurants and bistros. You can eat slowly at the table, dinner will cost 350-400 CNY for two with beer, or on the go, grabbing freshly prepared noodles for 25-30 CNY.
Attractions in Taiyuan
The city can hardly be called the leading tourist center of China, but still there is something to see here. A more or less detailed study of the main attractions will take two days. You can start from the famous Jinci Monastery (GPS coordinates: 37.705491, 112.450714). It is located 25 km southwest of the city, you can get there by bus number 8 (from the Central railway station). Jinqi was founded in the 7th century and over the centuries has grown from a small monastery to a huge complex with more than 100 sculptures, terraces, bridges.
The most famous building of the monastery is the Hall of the Holy Mother with carved wooden dragons wrapping around the columns. There is a 3,000-year-old cypress in the garden of the monastery.
Buses leave directly from Jinci to another popular attraction – Mount Tianlong (GPS coordinates: 37.628438, 112.240097). This is a unique place in which natural and man-made monuments are harmoniously combined. Palaces and temples were built right on the steep slopes, and in some places caves were dug out. From Tianlong, you can return to Taiyuan by shuttle bus.
The city also has several interesting objects. One of the symbols of Taiyuan is the Monastery of the Two Pagodas. Interestingly, the 60-meter stone towers were built at different times, the differences can be seen only when you get closer. In addition to the towers, the Buddhist monastery complex includes a pavilion and a small park.