Meeting Pingyao – A Hidden City in China

September 3, 2012  BY Hye Rin PARK

It took 6.5 hours from Beijing West Station to Datong, Shanxi on a hard bed train, and another 4 hours from Datong to the old county of Pingyao. The one and only piece of information I had about Pingyao was given by a 57-year-old man on the train from Datong, that it was famous for its beef.

Big buses were not allowed to enter the town, so transfered to a small bus that looked like golf carts but could fit approximately 15 people. At first, we couldn’t see anything as we drove through dark alleys to reach town center, where our guesthouse was located. As we were closer to the center, we could occasionally see faces of local people, mostly topless men frowning due to headlights. The sides of the car were open; the air was much fresher than that of Beijing. Amid darkness, my other senses were magnified. I smelled the scent of old brick walls, heard voices of people chatting on the streets, felt the breeze touching my cheeks.

(Read Hye Rin Park's full travel report of visiting Pingyao.)