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Home Travel in Shanxi Travel Guide in Taiyuan
Travel Guide in Taiyuan
Travel in Shanxi


Brief Introduction

Taiyuan (tài yuán 太原), as the capital city of Shanxi Province, is the political, economic and cultural centre of the province. It located in the middle part of the Yellow River Basin of north China and surrounded by mountains on three sides. Therefore, it was an important military town in ancient time. Taiyuan has a long history of over 2,500 years and famous for its historic buildings and magnificent culture. It is known as “the Dragon City”, for the reason that Taiyuan has been the birthplace of many emperors. For example, Li Shiming, the founder and emperor of Tang Dynasty, used Taiyuan as a base to support his uprising, and finally established Tang. A lot of ancient Chinese poets were from Taiyuan as well. At present, with the abundant coal resources, Taiyuan is one of the important heavy industrial cities in China. It is also awarded as “the National Garden City” in 2010.

Taiyuan has a warm temperate continental monsoon climate. In spring, heavy wind always comes with strong sunlight. In summer, the weather is hot and rainy with high temperatures between 23 degrees to 30 degrees. As a result, sunglasses and a sunhat are necessary if you are travelling in Taiyuan in this period. From September, the temperature falls quickly, and in winter the weather becomes cold and dry. With the average temperature below zero, warm clothes should be prepared in this season.

Tourist Attractions
Jinci TempleJinci Temple (jìn cí 晋祠)
Jinci, an ancestral temple for a prince in the Western Zhou Dynasty, is one of the most original and oldest temples in China that can be tracked back to 1,400 years ago. It was expanded and rebuilt in several Dynasties, including Sui, Tang, Song, Yuan, Ming, and Qing, which lead to various architectural styles of Jinci. Figures of The Maidservants (sòng sù shì nǚ 宋塑侍女), Zhou Cypress (zhōu bǎi 周柏) and Never Aging Spring (nán lǎo quán 难老泉) are three wonders in the temple that attract tourists from all over the world. Jinci is one of the state protected sights of cultural heritage in China.
Location: Xuanweng Mountain, 25km southwest of Taiyuan
Admission Fee: CNY 40
Opening Hours: 7:30 to 18:30
Bus Route: 804

The Twin Pagodas TempleThe Twin Pagodas Temple (shuāng tǎ sì 双塔寺)
Twin Pagodas, the tallest twin towers in China, are regarded as a symbol of Taiyuan. They were built in 400 years ago, and made of bricks and stone, with 13 stories (53 meters tall) for each. Visitors can climb to the top of the pagoda by an internal stair and get great views of Taiyuan. In addition, peony and cloves have been planted in the Twin Pagoda Temple during the Ming Dynasty. Spring is the best time to visit the temple, as all the flowers are in their full bloom.

: Southeast of Taiyuan
Admission Fee: CNY 25
Opening Hours: 8:00 to 17:00
Bus Route: 21, 23, 812, 820

Tianlong Shan GrottoesTianlong Shan Grottoes (tiān lóng shān shí kū 天龙山石窟)
Tianlong Shan Grottoes can date back to the mid-6th century. There are 21 caves and more than 1,500 Buddhist sculptures. The wooden Manshan Pavilion (màn shān gé 漫山阁), standing 10 meters high on the cliff with a beautiful stone Buddha, is one of the grandest places in Tianlong Shan. Moreover, located on the mountain with lush trees, the grottoes have an attractive landscape and moderate climate.
Location: 40 km southwest of Taiyuan
Admission Fee: CNY 30
Opening Hours: 8:30-18:00
Bus Route: 308, 804, 856

Chongshan MonasteryChongshan Monastery (chóng shàn sì 崇善寺) Chongsan Mondaster, once called White Horse Monastery (bái mǎ sì 白马寺), was built in the Tang Dynasty (618-907). Occupying an area of 40.4 acres, Chongshan Monastery was magnificent before. However, from Qing Dynasty, it was reduced and damaged, and only one-fortieth survives today. Chongshan Monastery is famous for keeping the original sutras, including different editions from Song, Jin, Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties. Gem Paintings (bì huà lín mó běn 壁画临摹本) is another treasure, which has a history of over 500 years but still remaining bright colours. In addition, there are three gilded Ming Dynasty mud statues of Bodhisattvas that all over 8 meters. Now, Chongshan Monastery is the home of the Buddhist Association of Shanxi Province as well.
Address: Huangmiao Lane, Wuyi Road, Taiyuan
Admission Fee: Free
Opening Hours: 8:00-17:00
Bus Route: 2, 3, 820, 815, 102

Noodles (miàn shí 面食)
NoodlesThe most famous local food specialties of Taiyuan are noodles. In Taiyuan, people cook noodles in several ways for different shapes and sizes. Each kind of noodle has its unique name and special taste, such as Pulled Noodle, Fried Oats Noodle, and Sliced Noodle, etc.

Tou Nao Lamp Soup (tóu nǎo 头脑)
Tou Nao Lamp SoupTou Nao, literarily means Brain or Head, is a delicious breakfast snack in Taiyuan. It is a kind of mutton soup, cooking with fatty mutton, lotus root, yam and Chinese rice wine. It is an ideal dish to ward off colds in winter.

Mature Vinegar (lǎo chén cù 老陈醋)
Shanxi mature vinegar, referred as the best vinegar in the world, has a history of over 3,000 years. The characteristics of the mature vinegar are its brown-red colour, sour taste, fragrance and thickness. It also has certain medicinal functions to prevent high blood pressure and skin diseases.

Fen Liquor (fén jiǔ 汾酒)
fen liquorFen liquor is one of the eight famous Chinese wines. It has a history of more than 1,500 years. It is made from fine barley and peas, and taste fragrant and sweet. Moreover, it can be used to treat certain diseases. The liquor will not get muddy in storage; a longer preservation makes an even better taste. Fen Liquor was recorded in the poem of Dumu, a famous Chinese poet of Tang dynasty. The spirits degree is about 60.

Taiyuan Food Street (tài yuán shí pǐn jiē 太原食品街)
taiyuan food streetLocated in the centre of Taiyuan, Food Street is a good place to taste a variety of snacks. Visitors could not only try local dishes, but also find out different food from the whole country, such as Sichuan snacks, Hunan cuisine, Sichuan hotpots and Lanzhou beef noodles. Yangji Sausage (yáng jì guàn cháng 杨记灌肠) is one of the most delicious snacks on the Food Street and it only costs CNY 1. Apart from food, the architecture of this street, especially the antique pavilions and the memorial archways, follows the style of the Ming and Qing Dynasties.


Liu Xiang (liǔ xiàng 柳巷) is one of the most popular commercial streets in Taiyuan. There are many famous brand clothing franchises, as well as big shopping malls, like Guidu Department Store and Huayu Shopping Centre. You can also find some small stores and shops that selling fashionable clothes with relatively cheap and negotiable prices. In addition, fast food chains, coffee shops and restaurants come together on this street.

Local Specialties
glass geGlass Ge (bō lí gē bēng 玻璃圪嘣)
It is a kind of toys for children to celebrate festivals in Taiyuan. The shape of glass is big and oblate in the head, but very thin in the body. Blowing with mouth, the glass can make a sound of “Ge bang, ge bang”, with a clear melody. It is also used as a folk instrument.

Paper-Cutting (jiǎn zhǐ 剪纸)
paper-cuttingPaper-cutting requires highly skills. In the rural area of Taiyuan, people have the tradition to cut various designs by using coloured paper, and then paste them on their windows as decoration in Spring Festival. The content of the paper-cutting is extensive, including flowers, plants, birds, and some lucky characters, etc.

International Folk Arts Festival Shanxi Taiyuan International Folk Arts Festival (guó jì mín jiān yì shù jiē 国际民间艺术节)
Started from 1991, the International Folk Arts Festival is held in Taiyuan annually in September. Within the festival, artists and groups from Russia, Korea, Japan, Singapore and Inner Mongolia will bring various performances for audiences. Meanwhile, exhibitions of painting, paper-cutting, drama and sculpture will reflect different culture and customs to visitors.

Getting In
By Air: Taiyuan Wusu Airport (wǔ sù jī chǎng 武宿机场), built in 1939, is one of the most important airports in Shanxi Province. All major cities in China operate direct flights to Taiyuan. Five international air lines are also available in Wusu Airport. Visitors can take a taxi from the airport to the city centre or take the bus NO. 201.taiyuan train station

By Train: As the starting point of Taiyuan-Jiaozhou line and the terminus of Beijing-Taiyuan and Shijiazhuang-Taiyuan lines, trains from Taiyuan get links to lots of large cities such as Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Tianjin, Chengdu, etc.

Getting Around
Public Bus: With a good public bus system, the transportation in Taiyuan is quite convenient. Depending on different bus routes, the fare of a single ticker is between CNY 1 to CNY 2.

Taxi: The taxi fare is CNY 7 for the first three kilometres and CNY 1 for the succeeding kilometre.