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Getting There

Most visitors arrive by bus from Taiyuan to the south or Datong to the north. Wutai Shan has no airport. The Wutai Shan railway station is in Shahe, 48km (30 miles) and an hour-plus drive from Taihuai. Daily fast trains run to and from Beijing (7 hr.) and Taiyuan (4 hr.) on the Beijing-Taiyuan line (K601/602). Buses between Shahe Railway Station and Taihuai Zhongxin Tingche Station leave regularly throughout the day for ¥20. A taxi between Shahe and Taihuai is around ¥150. Allow 2 hours if you're catching a train in Shahe. Plentiful buses connect Taihuai with Taiyuan (4 hr.; ¥66), 2 daily buses to Beijing (6 hr.; ¥131), and one daily bus for Datong (5 hr.; ¥66) at 8am, and Hohhot (7 hr.; ¥85) at 7am. Arriving, buses drive into Taihuai and will drop you at your hotel if you know where you're staying; otherwise, you'll find yourself at the Chaoyang Binguan. The bus station is in the south of town.

Admission to the Wutai Shan area is ¥84. All vehicles are stopped at the gate and passengers have to disembark to buy tickets, grumbling about government corruption all the way.

Getting Around

The town of Taihuai runs along the valley nestled between the peaks of Wutai Shan and is small enough to cover on foot in under an hour. The main street (Taihuai Jie/Yingfang Jie) runs north-south along the Qingshui River. Minivans trawl the stretch from town to the area in the south where the best hotels are, picking up passengers for a few yuan. The mountains rise to the immediate east, while two small streets running west off the main street lead to Taihuai's temple area. Although the streets have names, nobody uses them; even maps dispense with them. Directions to anyplace begin with the name of the nearest temple, many of which can be reached on foot. East of the village a chairlift goes up to Dailou Peak (6am-6pm; ¥35 up; ¥30 down; ¥60 round-trip). Alternatively you can walk there in under an hour, or ride a horse for ¥35; ¥60 round-trip.

Tours -- Minibuses and taxis go to the mountain temples from Yingfang Street. should cost ¥70 per person to visit two of the five mountain areas. CITS has a number of generally unhelpful branch offices in Taihuai. The main office is at Ming Qing Jie 18 (tel. 0350/654-3138; 7:30am-8pm). They don't have their own vehicles, but they will arrange a car, driver, and English-speaking guide for a full-day tour for up to five people to the outlying temples for ¥660.

Fast Facts

Banks, Foreign Exchange & ATMs -- The Bank of China, Yingfang Jie (8am-noon and 2:30-6:30pm; winter 8:30am-6pm), only exchanges U.S. dollars; no traveler's checks. There's an Agricultural Bank of China ATM just south of the Yiyuan Hotel which accepts MasterCard, Maestro, and Cirrus. Restaurants will sometimes change foreign currency, but it's best to arrive with enough yuan for the duration of your stay.

Internet Access -- A 24-hour Internet cafe is in the far right hand corner of the Jinjie Binguan courtyard. Access costs ¥3 per hour.

Post Office -- The post office (8am-7pm; winter 8am-6pm) is just north of the Xinhai Hotel on Yingfang Jie.

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.