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Top 8 Attractions in Taiyuan | What to See in Taiyuan

From the classic must-see historical sites such as Jinci Temple to local haunts like Yingze Park, there are many places to visit in Taiyuan, capital of Shanxi province in northern China and an ancient city with a history of more than 2500 years. Here we have selected top 8 Taiyuan attractions including temples, museums, parks, etc. to help you fully explore this famous historic and cultural city.

Top Attractions in Taiyuan

Main Attractions in Taiyuan

Top 1: Jinci Temple 晋祠 - Earliest Royal Ancestral Temple Garden Building Complex in China

Top Attractions in Taiyuan

Holy Mother Hall in Jinci Temple

Top Attractions in Taiyuan

Archway in Front of Xiandian Hall

Location: Jingci Town, Jinyuan District, Taiyuan, Shanxi, about 26 km (40 minutes’ drive) southwest of Taiyuan downtown (Yingze Park)
Opening Hours: November - March: 8:30 - 17:00 / April - October: 8:30 - 17:30
Ticket: April ~ October: ¥80 / November ~ next March: ¥65
Recommended Length of Visit: 2 ~ 3 hours

Though located 26 km away from Taiyuan city, Jinci Temple is the first must-see attraction in Taiyuan. The temple compound has ancient halls, pavilions and towers, all surrounded by the mountains and ancient trees.

You can discover a fascinating mixture of Taoist, Confucian and Buddhist influences in the ancient buildings, some of which are as old as 1500 years old. You’ll feel a charm of history by visiting the highlighted Holy Mother Hall that was built in 984 AD, seeing the 3000-year-old cypress tree in front of the hall, and wandering around the peaceful park. The cypress, the Nanlao Spring and the painted clay figures of maids in Holy Mother Hall are Jinci Temple’s “Three Wonders”.

✔ 2 Days Cultural Exploration in Taiyuan

Top 2: Shanxi Museum 山西博物院 - Encyclopaedia of the History and Culture of Shanxi Province

Top Attractions in Taiyuan

Shanxi Museum

Top Attractions in Taiyuan

Collections in Shanxi Museum

Location: No. 13 North Section of Binhe Road West, Taiyuan, Shanxi, 5km (15 minutes’ drive) from Taiyuan downtown (Yingze Park)
Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00 (closed on Monday, Chinese New Year’s Eve and Chinese Lunar New Year's Day)
Ticket: Free
Recommended Length of Visit: 2 ~ 3 hours

The imposing Shanxi Museum proudly reinforces Shanxi province’s status as the cradle of Chinese civilization. Shanxi Museum has 500,000 pieces of collections. There are 12 basic exhibits themed in “Jin Soul” (Jin is Shanxi for short) and 3 exhibits in Shanxi Bronze Museum - a branch museum of Shanxi Museum opened in 2019.

The exhibits are very well organized and nicely presented, focusing on the history and artifacts relating to Shanxi province especially in aspects like Buddhism, opera, business, architecture, etc. After the visit, you can enjoy the Fen River scenery just by the stairs outside the museum and chill out for a little while.

Top 3: The Coal Museum of China 中国煤炭博物馆 – The Only National Coal Museum

Top Attractions in Taiyuan

The Coal Museum of China

Top Attractions in Taiyuan

Train in the Simulated Underground Mine

Location: West Bank of Fenhe Park, Taiyuan, only 3.5 km from Taiyuan downtown (Yingze Park)
Opening Hours: 08:00-18:00
Ticket: CNY 60
Recommended Length of Visit: 1 ~ 2 hours

The Coal Museum of China is the ONLY national coal museum in the country. It is a museum where you can learn the development history of coal industry and experience the working process of the mine workers. Due to its unique coal culture, it ranks on the list of the most favorable tourist attractions in Shanxi Province.

In the museum, you should not miss the “A Tour to the Coal Sea” which is kind of a science exhibition showing the development of coal exploring and technology. The simulated mine and 4D cinema are the highlights there. Visitors could learn how the coal resources are formed and even get the emulational experience of digging coal in the mine.

Top 4: Twin Pagoda Temple 双塔寺 - Symbol of Taiyuan City

Top Attractions in Taiyuan

Twin Pagoda Temple

Top Attractions in Taiyuan

Close Look at Twin Pagoda Temple

Location: Haozhuang Village, Yingze District, Taiyuan, about 7 km (20 minutes’ drive) to Taiyuan downtown (Yingze Park)
Opening Hours: November - March: 9:00 - 17:00 / April - October: 8:30 - 17:30
Ticket: CNY 30
Recommended Length of Visit: 1 ~ 2 hours

Twin Pagoda Temple, also known as Yongzuo Temple (永祚寺), is the symbol of Taiyuan. The pagoda in the east was built in 1597 while the western one was erected in 1612, during Ming Dynasty. Both of the pagodas stand straight like two pens, so it also gains the name of “Twin Pagoda of Pen”. When you get atop, you could have a better view of the whole Taiyuan city. Another worthy site here to enjoy is the stele corridor. It houses a variety of stone sculptures of Ming and Qing Dynasty and it is an ideal place to appreciate Chinese calligraphy. The best time to visit here is in April when the peonies bloom. Wandering in the garden, it’s just like walking into a picture, making people feel ecstatic and relaxed.

Top 5: Chongshan Temple 崇善寺 – Precious Original Sutras and Buddha Statues

Top Attractions in Taiyuan

Dabei Hall in Chongshan Temple

Top Attractions in Taiyuan

Thousand-Hand Kwan-yin Statue

Location: No. 9 Chongshansi, Dilianggong Street, Yingze District, Taiyuan, only 3 km to Taiyuan downtown (Yingze Park)
Opening Hours: 08:00-18:00
Ticket: CNY 6
Recommended Length of Visit: 1 ~ 2 hours

Chongshan means “advocating kindness”. This temple was originally built in the Tang Dynasty (A.D. 618-907), known as the White Horse Temple. In 1381, Zhu Gang, the third son of First Ming Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang, rebuilt and renamed it Chongshan Temple to honor his mother.

It was a major Buddhist temple but burned to the ground in a fire in 1864 of Qing Dynasty. The existing Dabei Hall (大悲殿) maintains the essence of the temple and stores three precious treasures. The first one is the original edition of the sutras of the Song, Ming, and Qing Dynasties. The second is the central 8.5m tall Thousand-Hand Kwan-yin statue. The third treasure is the three gilded mud statues of Bodhisattvas. All three statues still retain their bright color and smoothness. Moreover, there are large collections of holy books with significant cultural and historical value.

Top 6: Yingze Park 迎泽公园 - Leisure Park to Feel Taiyuan Local Life

Top Attractions in Taiyuan

Yingze Park

Top Attractions in Taiyuan

Yingze Park at Night

Location: No. 218 Yingze Avenue, Yingze District, Taiyuan, in downtown area.
Opening Hours: All day
Ticket: Free
Recommended Length of Visit: 3 hours

Yingze Park, situated at the central part of Yingze Street, is the largest park in Taiyuan. It is a good place to take a walk where you see the real local city life of Taiyuan. Near the east gate is the Jin Merchant Museum. It is the first large-scale museum to display Shanxi Merchants culture. It has absorbed the essence of traditional architecture of ancient guild hall, and has used brick carving, stone carving and wood carving technology with Shanxi characteristics. In the center of the park features an old library which was built during the Ming Dynasty (A.D. 1368-1644). In the north gate of the park is an ornate archway called “Beauty of Taiyuan” imitating the Yonghe Lama Temple in Beijing. Besides, you could enjoy many activities such as boating, arcade games, golf, and skating. It is an ideal place for leisure, entertainment, and sport for everyone.

Top 7: Chunyang Palace 纯阳宫 - Quiet Taoist Temple in Taiyuan Downtown

Top Attractions in Taiyuan

Front Gate of Chunyang Palace

Top Attractions in Taiyuan

Archway in Chunyang Palace

Location: No. 1 Qifeng Street, Yingze District, Taiyuan, Shanxi, in downtown area.
Opening Hours: 9:00-16:30
Ticket: CNY 30
Recommended Length of Visit: 1 hour

Chunyang Palace, built in Yuan Dynasty (A.D. 1271-1368), was to worship Taoist immortal Lü Dongbin. It is a unique Taoist architectural complex, made up of five courtyards with pavilions and towers from outside to inside. Lüzu Temple is the main hall of Chunyang Palace, and it is the most magnificent architecture in the palace. The courtyard behind the hall is in unique style and is built according to the Eight Diagrams, presenting obvious Taoism architecture characteristics. As an important part of Shanxi Art Museum, Chunyang Palace has more than 20 exhibition halls, which exhibit the essence of the cultural relics of Shanxi.

Top 8: Mengshan Giant Buddha 蒙山大佛 – Earliest Large Stone Buddha Statue in the World

Top Attractions in Taiyuan

Mengshan Giant Buddha

Top Attractions in Taiyuan

Head of Mengshan Giant Buddha

Location: Sidi Village, Jinyuan District, Taiyuan, about 17 km (40 minutes’ drive) to Taiyuan downtown (Yingze Park).
Opening Hours: 08:00-17:00
Ticket: CNY 70
Recommended Length of Visit: 1 ~ 2 hours

Mengshan Giant Buddha, also known as Xishan Giant Buddha, was originally a cliff Buddha behind Kaihua temple in Mengshan. It was built in the Tianbao period (A.D. 550-559) of the Northern Qi Dynasty but destroyed at the end of Yuan Dynasty (A.D. 1271-1368).

In 1980, Mengshan Giant Buddha was rediscovered. When it was found, the head of the Buddha had disappeared (the head of the present Buddha was newly chiseled later). The body of the Buddha was buried in the earth and stone, which was seriously weathered. From the bottom of the legs to the neck of the Buddha, it is about 30 meters, and the original height is about 46 meters. In terms of height, Mengshan Buddha is the second largest Buddha in the world, and in terms of building age, it is the earliest large stone Buddha statue in the world.

How to Plan a Taiyuan Tour

Best time to visit Taiyuan: April ~ October when the weather is agreeable with comfortable temperature and not much rain.

How to get to Taiyuan: High speed train from Beijing (3 hrs), Xian (3-4 hrs), Pingyao (40min), etc. and flights from Beijing (1.5h), Shanghai (2.5h), Chongqing (2h), Chengdu (2h10min), Wuhan (2h), etc.

Where to stay in Taiyuan: It is most recommended to stay in Taiyuan downtown near Yingze Park for convenient transportation, better living condition and more accommodation choices.

It usually needs 1-2 days to cover the highlights of Taiyuan. Most attractions in Taiyuan are cultural and historical sites such as Jinci Temple - earliest royal ancestral temple garden building complex in China, Chongshan Temple - Buddhist temple with precious original sutras, Twin Pagoda Temple - symbol of Taiyuan, Shanxi Museum - rich collections telling the history and achievements of Shanxi in the past thousands of years, and The Coal Museum of China - the only national coal museum showing you the development of Chinese coal industry and culture. Apart from Jinci Temple which is about 26 km to downtown, the other attractions are in city center with convenient transportation.

☛ 2 Days Cultural Exploration in Taiyuan

As an important transfer hub in central Shanxi, Taiyuan is always travelled with other tourist destinations in Shanxi such as Datong (Yungang Grottoes, Hanging Temple), world heritage site Pingyao Ancient City, sacred Buddhist mountain Mount Wutai, and magnificent Hukou Waterfall.

☛ 3 Days Mount Wutai Buddhism Tour from Taiyuan
☛ 3 Days Taiyuan Pingyao Brief Tour
☛ 6 Day Datong Pingyao Tour Plus Wutaishan Visit

If you have more days and want to travel outside Shanxi, it is highly recommended to extend your tour to capital Beijing (Great Wall, Forbidden City), time-honored Xi’an (Terracotta Warriors), and modern metropolis Shanghai (the Bund).

☛ 8 Days Ancient Beijing & Shanxi Culture Tour
☛ 12 Days Historical China Tour with Train Experience

If you have more questions or ideas about a Taiyuan Tour, please feel free to contact us, we are specialized in tailor-made tours according to your interests, budget, itinerary, etc. Just tell us your needs and all your problems will be solved!

Taiyuan Attractions

Jinci Temple, Shanxi Museum, Twin Pagoda Temple and Taiyuan City Scenery

Recommended Taiyuan Tours

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

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2 Days Cultural Exploration in Taiyuan

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