Datong, as the second largest city in Shanxi Province, is a historical and cultural city. Located in the center of Datong Basin in the north of Shanxi Province, the junction of Inner Mongolia, Shanxi Province and Hebei Province, Datong has always been of vital importance in military due to its strategic position. It’s the capital city of Northern Wei Dynasty (A.D. 386 ~ 534). The city keeps a low profile, yet contains infinite energy. From the magnificent Yungang Grottoes of Northern Wei Dynasty to Huayan Temple and Shanhua Monastery of Liao Dynasty (A.D. 907 ~ 1125) and Jin Dynasty (A.D. 1115 ~ 1234), from the mysterious Hanging Temple which combines Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism together to the Taoist Mount Heng, Datong has perfectly mixed the multi-ethnic cultures into one and creates a new and unique Datong.
Why visit the city:
Experience the Culture of Northern Wei Dynasty - As the ancient capital of Northern Wei Dynasty, Datong has lots of precious historical sites and relics from that time. Whether the amazing Yungang Grottoes or the precipitous Hanging Temple, tourists can experience the legacy of Northern Wei Dynasty in those historical sites.
Foodie’s Paradise - Datong is full of delicious food from Central Plains and areas beyond the Great Wall. Various mutton and beef dishes, famous cooked wheaten food (sliced noodles are most famous) and other food made of coarse grains are the specialty in the local area.
Yingxian Wooden Pagoda - The existing oldest and tallest wooden pagoda in China is Yingxian Wooden Pagoda, which is very close to Datong City, and tourists normally will add the pagoda into their Datong itinerary.
Datong is a famous historical and cultural city. Yungang Grottoes and Hanging Temple represent the culture of Northern Wei Dynasty; Huayan Temple and Shanhua Monastery manifest the culture of Liao Dynasty and Jin Dynasty; Nine Dragon Screen embodies the culture of Ming and Qing Dynasties. The culture of Datong has distinctive regional features, and Buddhism is one of the highlights in its culture. For more Datong attractions, please see All Attractions in Datong>>
One of the top four grottoes in China, Yungang Grottoes is a World Heritage Site and a holy Buddhism palace created by generations of skillful craftsman…
The precipitous temple which is built on a cliff is the only existing temple which combines Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism together in China…
Yingxian Wooden Pagoda
As the oldest and tallest wooden Buddhism pagoda in the world, Yingxian Wooden Pagoda has existed for nearly 1000 years surviving severals earthquakes and storms…
Mt. Hengshan, only 2 km away from the Hanging Temple, is one of the famous scenic spots and birthplaces of Taoism and one of the Five Sacred Mountains of China...
Built in 1038, Huayan Temple is the largest and well preserved monastery of the Liao Dynasty. It features a huge scale of mural, Buddha statues and Buddhist writings...
Shanhua temple is the most complete and largest existing temple complex of the Liao and Jin dynasties in China with many precious cultural relics...
Nine Dragon Screen
It is the oldest and largest Nine Dragon Screen in China compared with the other two in Beijing. Nine different flying dragons are carved on the wall in a very lifelike manner...
Datong City Wall
Datong City Wall built in A.D. 1372 has played an important role in defensing the city in the history. It is now free to the public and provides a good view of Datong city...
Weather & When to Go
Datong is featured in continental monsoon-influenced steppe climate with distinctive four seasons - warm spring, cool summer, breezy autumn and rather cold and dry winter. Generally, there are 73.9 rainy days and 371.6 mm of precipitation is accumulated through year. The average temperature of the whole year is about 5.8°C (42.4°F), subjected to the longer winter with the coldest temperature of -11.3 °C.
Best time to visit Datong is from April to October. Most travelers come to Datong to see the historical sites, ancient building, and grottoes and to clime the Mount Heng, so weather doesn’t influence the attractions much. Besides, Datong will hold lantern show during the Spring Festival, and travelers can experience the local festival atmosphere at this time.
Notice: there is a large temperature difference between day and night in autumn, so bring some warm clothes to resist the cold in night. May to September is the rainy season in Datong, so make sure you bring rain gear during this time.
Learn more about Datong Weather>>
Get to Datong
By Flight: Datong only has one airport - Datong Yungang Airport, which is 15.5 km (40 minutes’ drive) to the city center. At present, Yungang Airport has flights to major cities in China such as Beijing (1h), Shanghai (2.5h), Chongqing (2.5h), Xian (2h), Chengdu (2.5h) and Wuhan (2h).
By Train: Datong South Railway Station operates high speed trains between Beijing (2-2.5h), Xi'an (6h), Taiyuan (2-2.5h), Pingyao (3-3.5h), etc. and Datong Railway Station is mainly for normal trains to most cities in China such as Beijing, Xian, Shenyang, Hangzhou, Guangzhou, Qingdao, Tianjin, Nanchang, etc.
The best way to transfer among the attractions in Datong is chartering a private car. Though it will be more expensive than other transportation tools, taking a private car will save you plenty of time. Buses are also available to main attractions in Datong such as Yungang Grottoes and Hanging Temple, but you will need to make several transfers. If you want to save all the trouble, you can consider booking a tour with us, we will take care of every matter in your trip such as guide, transportation, accommodatiom, meals, and tickets.
Learn more about Datong Transportation>>
For tourists travelling to Datong, it is most recommended to accommodate in Datong downtown (most attractions in Datong are near the city center). Although the Hanging Temple and Mount Heng are located in Hunyuan County (only 1.5 hours' drive from Datong), most travelers will still choose to accommodate in Datong city center because there will be more choices from luxurious five-star hotels to cheap and popular youth hostels, and the living conditions are better.
Learn more about Datong Hotels>>
Useful Datong Maps
To help you know more about Datong attractions, we have selected some useful Datong maps for you. Please feel free to use them. For more maps of Datong, please see Datong Maps.
Datong China Map
Datong Tourist Map
Shanxi Attraction Map
Other Destinations Near Datong
For those who plan on a long travel, here are some wonderful destinations near Datong, including Pingyao, Taiyuan, Mount Wutai and Xian.
Chinese Name: 大同
Chinese Pinyin: dà tóng
English IPA: ['dɑ:'tɔŋ]
Population: 3.37 million
Language: Mandarin & Datong Dialect
Tel Code: 0352
Zip Code: 037000
Time Zone: (UTC+8)
Plan your Datong Tour
Normally, traveler will spend 2 days exploring the highlights of Datong. One day to visit Yungang Grottoes and other attractions around the city center, like Huayan Temple, Fahua Temple and Nine Dragon Screen, another day to visit the Mount Heng, Hanging Temple and Yingxian Wooden Pagoda.
After visiting Datong, travelers can keep touring other highlights of Shanxi, like Hukou Waterfall, Pingyao Ancient City, Wang Family Compound, and Taiyuan. Beijing and Xian can also be added into the itinerary for they are very close to Shanxi Province.
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