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Pingyao, Ming Dynasty, China Banking Capital
Pingyao, The Ming Dynasty Chinese Banking Capital
Pingyao in central Shanxi province, China is a fantastic place to visit. Just how I imagined China to be. It was the banking capital during the Ming Dynasty. There is so much to see and do in Pingyao, including several ancient temples of various varieties and many small houses and banks with courtyards now converted into museums covering the history of this important walled city. The city wall and gates are still intact and can be climbed for a good view over the city. The straight roads still mostly filled with bicycles rather than cars and lined with proper Chinese buildings housing the shops, restaurants and the temples and museums.
Map of Pingyao, China - Where is Pingyao
Pingyao is easy to get to from Beijing by sleeper train: An interesting experience, far from luxurious (especially the "bathrooms") but well worth one night of relative discomfort.
Pingyao: Chinese Banking City - Walled City
Tourism in Pingyao - and Where to stay in Pingyao
A typical day of tourism in Pingyao starts with registration at the official tourist office and collection of your tickets for every single attraction in the city. The restaurants in Pingyao were inexpensive and many were very real Chinese restaurants with just a few selling western food. The first one we tried for lunch, was serving dog stew, but my other half made it clear that if I even contemplated eating it she would leave me, so we went next door and ate very mediocre pizza. Dinner was far better however, in a beautiful Chinese courtyard restaurant.
We stayed in the Yide Guesthouse, which I would certainly recommend. Very simple and extremely cheap (just a few pounds for a simple ensuite room), with a decent breakfast included. Reasonable food was available and the restaurant and bar made a great place to relax.