Meet your private guide at your hotel in Pingyao, and set off by private, air-conditioned vehicle for your 8-hour tour.
On route, hear about the Old Town’s history, culture, and architecture from your guide. Founded during the Western Zhou dynasty more than 2,700 years ago, and rebuilt in 1370, this quaint, walled enclave is one of China’s best-preserved Ming-dynasty old towns.
Each sight in the UNESCO-listed town has a story, so follow your guide around the atmospheric streets to learn about the events and people who shaped their past.
Start with a leisurely stroll around the highlights. Visit the richly decorative Town Hall (Xianya) that served as a government office, tax office, court, and prison. Learn about the work of the government officials employed here, and see what was once the penitentiary and some of its grisly instruments of punishment.
Swing by the 200-year-old Rishengchang Draft Bank, China’s first-ever bank, and explore the Armed Escort Company Museum. This building was the headquarters of a 19th-century security company that hired out guards to protect cash belonging to Pingyao’s merchants.
At a convenient point, break for a traditional Shanxi lunch at a local restaurant before resuming your explorations.
Stretch your legs along the 3.7-mile (6-kilometer) ancient walls encircling the Old Town, and hear fascinating anecdotes and tales from your guide as to why the walls and old streets gave Old Pingyao the name of ‘Turtle City.’
Amble along Ming-Qing Street, the Old Town’s commercial hub. Admire the elaborate Ming and Qing pavilions, houses, and courtyards, and observe Pingyao’s residents going about their daily routines. Peruse the antique, calligraphy, souvenir, and food shops, and stop to watch vendors and artisans making handicrafts for sale.
After roughly eight hours, your tour finishes with a hotel drop-off in the late afternoon.