Things to Do in Shanxi

Shanxi, known as “Ancient Chinese Culture Museum”, has many relic sites that include architecture, grottoes, houses, murals, and sculptures with distinct features.

Datong, Wutai Mountain, Pingyao, Taiyuan, Linfen are the top destinations in Shanxi full of historic and cultural significance. Several sites like Pingyao Ancient City, Yungang Grottoes, and Wutaishan National Park are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Let’s walk into the beautiful scenery and enjoy the brilliant culture with Shanxi tour!

Shanxi Attractions Map

Datong Yungang Grottoes

No.1: Datong

Location: in the north of Shanxi, 280 km from Taiyuan

Suggested Travel Length: 2 Days

Famous Tourist Sites: Yungang Grottoes, Hanging Temple, Yingxian Wooden Pagoda

Most visitors head to Datong for the Yungang Grottoes. It is a collection of shallow caves located 16 km west of Datong. There are over 50,000 carved images and statues of Buddhas and bodhisattvas within these grottoes, ranging from 4 centimeters to 7 meters tall. Most of these icons are around 1000 years old.

Within the city itself, there are a few surviving sites of historical interest such as the Nine-Dragon Wall, the Huayan Monastery, and the Shanhua Temple. Further afield is the Hanging Temple built into a cliff face near Mount Heng. It is also worth your time stopping to see Yingxian Wooden Pagoda which is 75 km south of Datong.

Pingyao Ancient City

No.2: Pingyao

Location: in the central of Shanxi, 80 km from Taiyuan

Suggested Travel Length: 2-3 Days

Famous Tourist Sites: Pingyao Ancient City, Shuanglin Temple, Qiao’s Family Compound, Wang’s Family Compound

Pingyao, with a history of 2700 years, is now renowned for its well-preserved ancient city wall and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Pingyao still remains its city layout from the Ming and Qing Dynasties, conforming to a typical bagua pattern. More than 300 sites in or near the city have ancient ruins. Within the ancient city, you could walk on the ancient city walls; visit Rishengchang Exchange House, Ancient Government Office, China Escort Agency, The Temple of City God; wander along Ming and Qing Dynasties Street. Out of the ancient city, pay a visit to Shuanglin Temple, Qiao’s Family Compound, Wang’s Family Compound, Zhengbi Ancient Village etc.

Twin Pagoda Temple

No.3: Taiyuan

Location: in the central of Shanxi

Suggested Travel Length: 1 Day

Famous Tourist Sites: Jinci Temple, Twin Pagoda Temple

Taiyuan is the capital of Shanxi province. It is served as a transportation hub in Shanxi and a common stopover between Mount Wutai and Pingyao. Known as the “City of Dragon”, Taiyuan has some famous attractions like temples, museums, parks, grottoes to suite your interests.

Temples: Jinci Temple, Twin Pagoda Temple, Chongshan Temple;

Museums: Shanxi Museum, the Coal Museum of China;

Grottoes: Tianlongshan Grottoes, Longshan Grottoes;

Parks: Yingze Park.

Mount Wutai

No.4: Wutaishan

Location: in the northeast of Shanxi, 240 km from Taiyuan

Suggested Travel Length: 2-3 Days

Famous Tourist Sites: Xiantong Temple, Pusading Temple, Nanchan Temple, Foguang Temple

Mount Wutai, the first of the Four Sacred Mountains in China, is the home to the Bodhisattva of Wisdom, Manjusri or Wenshu in Chinese. Called “Clear and Cool Mountain”, Mount Wutai is the only mountain in China mentioned in Buddhist Scriptures. It has a long relationship with Tibetan Buddhism. And now, there are 47 Buddhist temples in the area of Mount Wutai.

The five terrace-like peaks of Mount Wutai stand in a ring and separate the mountain area into the outer and inner Wutain. The East Peak is called Wanghaifeng (for sunrise), West Peak called Guayuefeng, North Peak called Yedoufeng, South Peak known as Jinxiufeng and Central Peak called Cuiyanfeng. If energy permits, it is good to view scenery and historical sites of all the five peaks.

Hukou Waterfall

No.5: Linfen

Location: in the south of Shanxi, 270 km from Taiyuan

Suggested Travel Length: 1 Days

Famous Tourist Sites: Hukou Waterfall

Linfen is home to several notable tourist attractions including the Hukou Waterfall, the second largest waterfall in China and the largest on the legendary Yellow River. Hukou Waterfall is located 150 km west of Linfen city in Jinshan Gorge. It is claimed that this is “the only yellow waterfall in the world”.

Other attractions Guangsheng Temple is the most famous one which was built in the Eastern Han Dynasty in 147. Located in the upper Guangsheng Temple is the Feihong Pagoda (Flying Rainbow Pagoda), the largest and best preserved glazed pagoda in China. Yao Temple and Linfen Drum Tower are other more choices to visit in Linfen.

Hukou Waterfall

No.6: Hukou Waterfall

Type: Waterfalls, Bodies of Water, Nature & Parks

Location: Border of Jixian County of Shanxi and Yichuan County of Shaanx

Suggested Travel Length: 2 ~ 3 hours

Honored as the wonder on the Yellow River,Hukou Waterfall is a hot scenic spot with spectacular gorges, splendid Loess Plateau, and ancient villages, which shows a natural landscape of Yellow River Basin as well as luxuriant sedimentation of history and culture, and gives you a visual impact and stimulates your boundless imagination.

Hukou Waterfall is one of the most extraordinary waterfalls in the world. Standing by the Yellow River, you will be shocked by the crashing waves and thundering waterfalls, as if the Yellow River is howling and surging with its indomitable momentum. In fact, the magnificent Yellow River always symbolizes the spirit of unyielding Chinese People in many literatures and television works.

Recommended Shanxi Tours

Top 3 Shanxi tours chosen by most customers to explore Shanxi in the best way. Check the detailed itinerary, or tailor your own trip now with us.

Spectacular Scenery of Mount Wutai
6 Day Datong Pingyao Tour Plus Wutaishan Visit

Datong / Wutaishan / Taiyuan / Pingyao

Qiao's Family Compound
3 Days Taiyuan Pingyao Brief Tour

Taiyuan / Pingyao

Datong Yungang Grottoes (Cave No. 20)
4 Days Essence of Datong & Pingyao Tour

Datong / Pingyao

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