Meet your private guide at your hotel, and hop inside your private, climate-controlled vehicle.
Then, sit back and gaze out at Pingyao’s suburbs as you make the roughly 20-minute journey to the village of Qiaotou, the home of Shuanglin Temple. Built about 1,500 years ago, this ornate Buddhist place of worship is famous for its ancient locust trees, frescoes, and over 2,000 clay statues of Buddha.
On arrival, head inside the UNESCO-listed complex to explore the ornately designed, mural-coated halls and courtyards. View the rows of brightly painted statues dating to the Song and Yuan dynasties, and hear from your guide how ‘Shuanglin’ translates as ‘double forest,’ a reference to the two trees Buddha passed under to enter 'nirvana,' the highest state of happiness.
Having explored here, continue to a local restaurant for a delicious Chinese lunch, and then relax on the approximately 1-hour drive to your next stop: the Wang Family Mansion.
This beautiful, hillside cluster of 123 courtyards and 1,118 rooms is a masterpiece of Qing dynasty residential architecture. Originally built in the 16th century for the prominent Wang merchant family, it was expanded and restored right up until the 19th century.
Enter the magnificent, walled compound, and explore the labyrinthine quadrangles and alleyways. Admire the folk architecture of the houses, temples, and pavilions, and hear how they reflect the strict social hierarchies of those who lived here. On your wanders, stop to visit the exhibition halls and museums. Take in the precious artworks, calligraphy, jade, and other treasures on display, and hear about the stories and symbolism behind them.
After about seven hours’ exploring, relax on your ride back to Pingyao, where your tour concludes with a hotel drop-off.