My last weekend in China was the midsummer weekend and we decided to travel somewhere but we had no idea where. A friend of ours recommended Pingyao and we decided to go there. The day before we left Beijing was struck by the worst rain in 6 years. It rained and rained and rained. The morning after it was still raining and it was incredibly difficult to find a cab. Luckily the guy who usually drives my mom to work when it’s raining was outside (he drives a bicycle taxi). He took us to the tube station and we went to the place where we were suppose to change. I think I checked 3 different apps and googled the connection yet when we arrived it didn’t exist. So we had to go back a station and now we were late. We were basically running all the way there and in the end we arrived 30 minutes early. Funny how time works.
Anyways, in China there are 3 types of train; High-speed, fast and slow train. I’ve only taken the high-speed before to Shanghai and it was a high-speed train again. It took us 4 hours to get to Pingyao. On the way there we had a 5 (ish) year old Chinese boy who started telling us all random English words over and over again (counting to 5, colours, etc…) When we arrived a ton of people wanted us to ride with them to Pingyao (the train station was a bit outside town). We do not like people who run up to us (+ it’s usually a scam) so we started scanning for legit taxis but could only find one that was already occupied. So we started heading for the bus and the guy following us kept saying “bus no go Pingyao, no Pingyao”. Guess what? The bus did go to Pingyao. So we took the bus. It cost us 1 SEK each.
Pingyao Ancient City is in the middle of Pingyao surrounded by the “modern” city. Apparently in 1997 when they put it on UNESCO world heritage list they threw most people out of the ancient city into the modern. Now it mostly consists of small stores and tons of museums for different things such as bodyguard museum, weapon museum and bank museum.
We lived inside the ancient city in one of the courtyard hotels which surprisingly was very cheap. The first night we bought our tickets (one ticket for the entire city) and visited the court and prison. The prison was apparently in use up until the 1950s. The next day we met our guide and visited the bank (first bank in Asia), bodyguard museum and then afterwards we took a cab to a big courtyard museum outside the city. The last day we visited the weapon museum and ring wall. I even got to try archery at one place.
I started writing this post, paused and then realised I had forgotten what I wanted to write so I apologize for it being short. Pingyao is definitely worth a visit, especially considering how cheap it is to visit. Tickets back and forth is about 600 SEK and the hotel cost about 100/night/person. It’s extremely beautiful. The only downside is that once you’ve seen one house, you’ve seen them all. They pretty much look the same. Also Pingyao is famous for its vinegar which doesn’t smell very good and while walking through the town you could suddenly be hit right in the face with the smell of the vinegar. Yuck. It was also very interesting because I only saw 2 or 3 western parties in the city. People were very curious about us to say the least.
Also finishing this off with a picture I found on my mom’s phone. A lady wanted to take a picture of me together with her kids. Fun stuff.