Datong is one of the city famous for its history and culture and is located at the northern part of Shanxi Province. It is 380 km (236 miles) west of Beijing and is an important traffic junction with great strategic importance. Datong is one of the famous historical and cultural cities in China and used to be capital in different Dynasty in China. Therefore, there are many temples, pagodas and buildings related to Buddhism were set up during in Datong. Unlike the pretty and elegant scene in cities south of China, sceneries here boast the air of majesty and grandeur.
There is also abundant mineral resource of which the coal mine is the most famous which gives Datong the title Capital of Coal. The best time to visit Datong is from April to May and September to October, as that’s when the weather is best.
「Visit The Yungang Grottoes」
The Yungang Grottoes is located about 12.5 miles away from Datong’s city center, there are 252 temples, and more than 50,000 Buddha statues carved in the rock from the 5th and 6th century. The whole area is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Yungang cave art represent the successful fusion of Buddhist religious symbolic art from south and central Asian with Chinese cultural traditions. In some of the caves you can still clearly see the colored statues, walls, and ceilings.
Look at our Yungang Grottoes tour and visit the highlights spots in one day:
「Walking on the city’s ancient wall」
In the flattened silhouette of Datong, the imposing city walls loomed from the four corners of the city, surrounding restored sections of the old town. A walk on Datong’s city walls is a great way to get a bird’s eye view of the city, and to survey from up high how the city is changing.
The original city wall in Datong was built in 1372 at the early stage of Ming Dynasty upon the ancient tamped earth city walls that had been built originally during last two Dynasties. It was 14 meters high with 4 main gates, 4 turrets and 46 watch towers. In Ming Dynasty, the ancient Datong was designated as one of the nine military towns along the Great Wall of China defending against the steppe nomads from the north.
「Hiking on Mt. Hengshan in Datong]
Mt. Hengshan is one of the five mythical mountains of China. It is boasted for its steep ridges, splendid peaks, exotic-shaped temples and gushing fountains, together with oddly-shaped and forests of ancient trees, which constitute a beautiful landscape. Standing high in the mountain, with the clouds floating under your feet and the wind in the pine trees resounding above your head, the mountain peaks occasionally appearing and disappearing in the clouds, one will be reluctant to leave.
[Visit the Hanging Monastery at Hengshan]
Hanging Monastery, located at the foot of the Mt. Hengshan, is the only existed temple hosting worship for the Taoists, Confucians and Buddhists. It was renowned for the weird, smart and dangerous architectures for thousands of years, a must-see for all the visitors when come to Datong. Built in 491, Hanging Monastery is an architectural wonder because it hangs on the west cliff of Jinxia Gorge more than 250 feet above the ground.
It is about 40 miles away from Datong, opposite to the Mt. Hengshan, the hanging monastery consisted of over 40 buildings, are evenly distributed and well-balanced in height.
On the base of the natural hollows and outcrops along the contour of the cliff, many halls and pavilions were built, which are connected each other by corridors, bridges, boardwalks.
Look at our Hanging Temple Tour and you will get the chance to visit Wooden Tower as well:
「Discover Local Flavors in Datong」
Due to Datong is close to inner Mongolia, the use of lamb, goat, and sheep offal is very common in this region. There are crops produced in the area, such as millet, sorghum, and wheat, which are ingredients in the creation of salty, oily food. Here are some recommendations for the local food in Datong:
【Instant-boiled lamb】 — Raw lamb is cut into thin pieces and frozen before being boiled for two seconds. It is then eaten with a sauce made out of sesame paste, chili oil, balsam, soy sauce, and other spices.
【Cat ear noodles】 — These are delicious noodles shaped like cat ears. They are traditionally served with a tasty meat sauce or a sauce made of eggs.
【Pea noodles】 — This is one of the most popular dishes among residents of Datong. Made out of wheat flour and cut with a knife, these noodles are accompanied by minced meat, eggs, beans, and bean curd skin.
【Yellow cake】 — The main ingredient in yellow cake is millet flour, and the cake is sometimes steamed, which gives it a softer texture.
【Datong hot pot】 — Datong is China’s hotpot capital, and a hotpot dinner is a great way to round up a day’s sightseeing. Hotpot usually comes in the form of a big bowl filled with broth placed on a burner at the center of the table. The broth, which can be spicy or not spicy, is heated to boiling point and a variety of raw ingredients are dipped and cooked by the diners. When the ingredients cooked, dip them with sesame soy, capsicum oil, sauce, and sweet garlic.