Datong travel itineraries, how to plan the best Datong trip
Explore the rich cultural and historical heritage of Datong with a comprehensive travel itinerary that includes a visit to the magnificent Hanging Monastery, the intricate Yungang Grottoes, the ancient city wall and drum tower, the vibrant Huayan Monastery, the serene Nine Dragon Screen, the impressive Shanhua Temple, the Hanging Temple, the picturesque Hengshan Mountain, and the delicious local cuisine.
1-Day Datong Itinerary
Start your day early by visiting the Yungang Grottoes, a UNESCO World Heritage site located about 16 kilometers west of Datong. The grottoes feature 252 caves and more than 51,000 Buddha statues, some of which date back to the 5th century. After exploring the grottoes, head back to Datong for breakfast. You can try some of the local specialties, such as "pihua," a type of flatbread, or "shuijianbao," a type of steamed bun with meat inside.
After breakfast, head to the city's most famous attraction, the Hanging Temple (Xuankong Si), located about 70 kilometers southeast of Datong. The temple, which appears to hang precariously from a cliff, is over 1,500 years old and is a unique blend of Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism.
On your way back to Datong, stop by the Wooden Pagoda (Muta) in Ying County. The pagoda, which is over 900 years old, is one of the oldest and tallest wooden structures in China, standing at a height of 67.31 meters.
Finish your day with a stroll around Datong's ancient city walls, which date back to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). You can rent a bicycle to ride along the top of the walls and take in the views of the city.
For dinner, head to one of Datong's night markets, where you can try local snacks and street food such as "roujiamo" (meat-filled buns), "jianbing" (Chinese crepes), and "chuanr" (grilled skewers). After dinner, you can take a relaxing walk around the city's Drum Tower and Bell Tower square, which are beautifully lit up at night.
2-Day Datong Itnerary
Day 1: Start your day by visiting the Yungang Grottoes, a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its collection of ancient Buddhist cave temples and statues. Plan to spend at least 2-3 hours exploring the site, which includes over 50 caves and more than 50,000 Buddhist statues. After the Yungang Grottoes, head to the Nine-Dragon Screen, one of the largest and oldest glazed-tile screens in China. Take some time to admire the intricate details of the screen and learn about its history. End your first day in Datong by visiting the Datong Old City Wall. This well-preserved Ming Dynasty wall dates back to the 14th century and provides great views of the city.
Day 2: Begin your day by exploring the Hanging Temple, a unique temple built into a cliff over 1,500 years ago. The temple is a popular attraction in Datong and is known for its stunning location and impressive architecture. Next, visit the Datong Huayan Monastery, one of the largest and most well-preserved ancient monasteries in China. Take a guided tour to learn about the history and significance of the monastery. End your trip to Datong by exploring the Datong Drum Tower, a historic tower that dates back to the Ming Dynasty. The tower features a large drum that was once used to keep time in the city.
3-Day Datong Itnerary
Day 1: Yungang Grottoes: Start your day by visiting the Yungang Grottoes, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most important Buddhist cave temple complexes in China. Spend a few hours exploring the impressive collection of 252 grottoes and over 51,000 Buddhist statues. Huayan Monastery: After the Yungang Grottoes, head over to the Huayan Monastery, one of the largest and most important Buddhist monasteries in Datong. Explore the temple complex, which includes a variety of buildings and halls, as well as several gardens and courtyards.
Day 2: Hanging Monastery: Start your second day by visiting the Hanging Monastery, a unique architectural wonder that is literally suspended on the side of a cliff. The monastery, which dates back to the 5th century, is a testament to the ingenuity and creativity of ancient Chinese builders. Wooden Pagoda: After the Hanging Monastery, head over to the Wooden Pagoda, one of the oldest and most well-preserved wooden structures in China. The pagoda, which dates back to the 11th century, is made entirely out of wood and stands over 67 meters tall.
Day 3: Nine-Dragon Screen: Start your final day in Datong by visiting the Nine-Dragon Screen, one of the largest and most impressive glazed tile screens in China. The screen, which is over 600 years old, features nine colorful dragons on each side, as well as a variety of other creatures and patterns. Datong City Wall: After the Nine-Dragon Screen, head over to the Datong City Wall, one of the few remaining ancient city walls in China. The wall, which dates back to the Ming Dynasty, is over 14 kilometers long and features a variety of gates, towers, and other defensive structures. Datong Museum: Finish your day by visiting the Datong Museum, which features a variety of exhibits related to the history and culture of Datong and the surrounding region. The museum includes displays of ancient artifacts, traditional art and crafts, and much more.
5-Day Datong and Wutaishan Mountain Itinerary
Day 1: Datong, Arrive in Datong and check into your hotel. Visit the Yungang Grottoes, a UNESCO World Heritage site with over 50,000 Buddha statues carved into the cliffs. Have lunch in the nearby town of Hunyuan, known for its hand-pulled noodles. In the afternoon, visit the Hanging Monastery, a unique temple built into a cliff over 1,500 years ago. Return to Datong for dinner and explore the city at night, perhaps visiting the Drum Tower and Nine Dragon Screen.
Day 2: Datong, After breakfast, visit the impressive Datong City Wall, one of the largest and best-preserved city walls in China. Then, head to the Shanhua Temple, famous for its giant wooden Buddha statue. Have lunch and explore the markets and shops in the city center. In the afternoon, visit the Huayan Temple, a Tang Dynasty temple with stunning architecture and beautiful gardens. Return to your hotel for dinner and rest.
Day 3: Wutai Mountain, Check out of your hotel in Datong and travel to Wutai Mountain, about 3 hours by car or bus. Upon arrival, check into your hotel and have lunch. Spend the afternoon exploring the Five Terrace Temples, a cluster of monasteries located on a hillside with stunning views. Return to your hotel for dinner and rest.
Day 4: Wutai Mountain, After breakfast, visit the Xiantong Temple, one of the oldest and most important temples on Wutai Mountain, with a history dating back over 1,300 years. Then, take a cable car up to the summit of Mount Wutai, the highest peak in northern China and an important pilgrimage site for Buddhists. Have lunch on the mountain and take in the stunning views. In the afternoon, visit the Puhua Temple, famous for its 6-meter tall bronze statue of Maitreya Buddha. Return to your hotel for dinner and rest.
Day 5: Departure, Check out of your hotel and depart Wutai Mountain for your next destination.
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