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Getting There

Overnight trains from Beijing or Xi'an save you a night's hotel stay and arrive in Pingyao in the morning. The 1163 which leaves Beijing at 7:03pm and arrives in Pingyao at 7:32am, is the most convenient train. Coming from Xi'an there are several trains during the day, or the 2672, which leaves at 10:54pm arrives in Pingyao early the following morning. Moving on to Beijing, the K604 leaves at 7:07pm and arrives at Beijing West at 6:39am the following morning. To Xi'an, the 1095 departs at 8:42pm and arrives the following morning at 7:20am. For Datong, the 2464 leaves Pingyao at 8:37pm and arrives at 5:30am. Pingyao has a tiny sleeper allocation, so if you want a berth you'll have to pay the price of a ticket from Taiyuan and will be given a photocopy of the ticket which you can exchange onboard. Most hotels can arrange this service for ¥30 to ¥40.

Luxury buses from Beijing's Lize Qiao Long-Distance Bus Station leave every 20 minutes for Taiyuan (7 hr.; ¥100), where you'll need to change bus stations to transfer to a Pingyao service (2 hr.; ¥25).

Getting Around

Trains and buses arrive at the Pingyao railway station in the "modern" city that is west of the ancient wall. Taxis aren't allowed into the narrow streets of old Pingyao, so walk a short stretch or take a motorcycle rickshaw (¥10), or cycle rickshaw (¥2-¥10 depending on your negotiating skills). The better courtyard hotels will arrange free pickup with a taxi for people arriving on the morning train. Most of the courtyard hotels are in the vicinity of the Shi Lou (Market Building) -- the tallest building in sight -- at the center of the ancient town, on Nan Dajie (also called Ming Qing Jie).

The old town has only four main streets and a number of small lanes, so most places are within walking or biking distance. A ride on a motorcycle or bicycle rickshaw to places within the wall costs only a few yuan. A bicycle rickshaw that can accommodate two people can be hired for ¥40 for a whole day. Several of the courtyard hotels rent bicycles for around ¥10 per day. There's also bike rental at Xi Dajie 73. If you want to join the hordes you can also take a seat on one of the numerous electric buggies that circuit the main sites for ¥10.

Tours -- Most of the courtyard hotels can arrange cars and buy bus and train tickets for a small fee.

Fast Facts

Banks, Foreign Exchange & ATMs -- None available, but many of the hotels will exchange major foreign currencies, including U.S. dollars, euros, and yen.

Internet Access -- Internet cafes can be found in the lobby areas of many courtyard hotels and is often free if you eat there. Some of the better ones (including both listed) also now provide free Wi-Fi. For a good old-fashioned Chinese Internet cafe where you'll be surrounded by teenage online gamers, head to Bei Dajie 74 where connection costs ¥2 per hour (daily 8am-midnight).

Post Office -- The old town's post office is at Xi Dajie 1 and is open from 8am to 6:30pm (6pm in winter).

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.