Travel tips for visiting Pingyao, China
All major international airlines fly to China, including United Airlines, British Airways, Singapore Airlines, Qantas, Lufthansa, KLM and Air France.
The closest airport to Pingyao is Taiyuan (Wusu International Airport), which is c.60 miles (97km) from Pingyao. You can also reach Pingyao by trains and long-distance buses. There are regular trains from Beijing, Taiyuan, Chengdu, Chongqing, Xian and Lanzhou as well as bullet trains from Beijing, Taiyuan, Xian and Yuncheng. A bullet train from Taiyan takes 40 minutes, and 4-4.5 hours from Beijing.
A passport, valid for at least six months, and a visa are necessary to enter the country. Chinese embassies and consulates around the world issue a standard single-entry, 30-day visa, although multiple entry visas and 60-day visas can also be obtained. Visas cannot be issued at the border.
Pingyao is a small, walled city so you can reach all the sites on foot. There are golf carts that can take you from outside the ancient walls to your hotel if you have heavy luggage.
Time difference: GMT + 7
Language: The official language is Putonghua, based on the dialect spoken in Beijing, and known more commonly as Mandarin Chinese. Outside of the main cities and hotels, English is not widely spoken.
Electrical current/ plugs: Plug sockets are of the flat two-or-three pronged variety. The current is 220V AC, 50Hz.
Religion: The major religions are Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism and Christianity.
Water: The tap water is not drinkable in China. Bottled water is advised, but check that the seal is intact.
Politics: China is a socialist republic run by a single party, the Communist Party of China.
Internet: It is very difficult to access the internet unless you can connect using a VPN. Google is banned so it is unlikely that you can connect to gmail. Yahoo mail works occasionally.
Pingyao has a continental climate with cold winters and hot summers. The coldest month is January, when the average temperature is about -12°C, and 26°C is the hottest temperature in July. In winter, the wind coming from the north is usually strong and dusty and the temperature varies greatly between day and night. In summer, it is rainy and scorching. Temperatures drop in the autumn and snow falls on the city in the winter.
Currency: China’s currency is called yuan renminbi (literally, People’s Currency). One yuan divides into 10 jiao. The most common coins are 1 yuan, 5 jiao and 1 jiao and the notes are 1, 2 and 5 jiao and 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 yuan. Damaged notes can be difficult to get rid of.
Credit cards: Cash is the preferred mode of payment within the ancient city, although some shops may take credit cards. There are no ATMs in the ancient city of Pingyao.