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Pingyao Transportation

Although Pingyao is a small county, it has a convenient railway and long-distance transpiration network due to its short distance with Taiyuan, the capital of Shanxi Province. The Tong-Pu Railway run through the whole county of Pingyao, plus the convenient public road network, the ancient city of Pingyao is closely connected with Taiyuan, Linfen, and Yuncheng cites of Shanxi Province.

Get in

By plane
Pingyao has no airport. The closest major city and airport is Taiyuan, 90km (55 miles) away. However, frequent bus, train and even, many willing taxis or hotel pickpus, can complete the last leg of your journey.

By bus
A bus terminal is located a ten-minute walk north of the old city's north gate.

From Taiyuan: As the nearest major city, frequent buses run back and forth between the two. Theoretically the last bus to Pingyao leaves at 6:30pm. Though if you plan on leaving late, booking ahead, or simply showing up early, may be smart to avoid a sold-out bus. Approximately 90 minutes. October 2016 update: A morning bus from the Pingyao bus terminal (located near the north gate) to Taiyuan bus terminal (located roughly halfway between Taiyan Railway Station and Taiyuan South Railway Station) took 2 hours 40 mins and cost around 26 RMB.

From Xi'an: The trip takes approximately 7-8 hours, costing 130 RMB (August 2014). Departs at 9:30AM from the bus station directly south of the railway station, inside the walls. This bus will drop passengers off at the toll plaza 3km from the town, from which you may wait for another bus or negotiate with the non-marked taxi drivers for a ride into town.

By train
From Taiyuan: Approximately 1.5 to 2 hours.

From Guangzhou: These trains are making 2 minute stops in Pingyao. Check details for each train to avoid missing the station. All of these trains are overnight.

From Xi'an: Approximately 12 hours. Though tickets on night trains are often available, and thus can alleviate the inconvenience. Tickets for the day trains are often booked out so plan well in advance if you want to travel during the day.

From Datong: There are various trains a day including one overnight train (leaving Datong 11 pm, arriving in Pingyao 6.20 am). Travel times from ~6 h to ~8 h depending on the train. A new fast train connection is being build but not in operation by August 2017.

From the train station, you can either take a good walk (~1-2km) to old town or take a tuk tuk (¥5-10; at ¥5, they will probably try to get a commission by driving you to a hotel).

The D trains (High Speed) now serve Pingyao at a new station southwest of the city Pingyao Gu Cheng). It takes about 4 hours from Beijing or 3 hours from Xi'an. Taxi from the high speed station is about ¥35. The public buses is ¥3; there is one that goes to the north gate and one to the south gate, but they have the same bus number, so you have to ask. It is too far to walk to the walled city. The new station may not be on your map as of 2015.

By taxi
Given China's low taxi rates, some opt for this from Taiyuan. For instance, if you find yourself at the bus or train station with no other option that day- seek out other travelers until you have a total of ~4. Nearby taxis will be glad to negotiate. Try not to pay above ¥400, regardless of the # of passengers. Many have paid less (prices circa 2011). To get to the walled city though,you should only pay about Y10。

Additionally, if booking Pingyao accommodation in advance - check if your hotel/hostel offers airport pickup (surprisingly many do, given this is the nearest airport), and at what price.

Get around
As the old walled city is only about 1 mile by 1 mile (or 1.6km by 1.6km), walking is the by far #1 way around. Most of the old walled city is also off-limits to taxis/cars. However if you are feeling lazy, you can hire golf carts that wander the streets. Pay around ¥5 for a ride if a single person, around ¥15 for four people. It is also possible to rent bikes for ¥10 per day, though the streets crowded with Chinese tourists may make this not much faster than walking.

If navigating by map - know that there are several interior towers/wall sections that look very much like part of the city wall proper. The first day, many map-wielding tourist become confused in placing themselves, thinking they are seeing the nearby city wall, when they in fact are not.

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