Our next stop after Beijing was Pingyao. Pingyao is a cute little ancient town only 4 hours away from Beijing if you’re taking the high speed train. It’s the best kept ancient town with city wall in China which already should be a reason to check this place out. Train tickets can be sold out very quickly in China so our only option were first class seats (250 yuan / 30 euro), which we didn’t mind. If you’re more on a budget make sure to book your tickets in advance.
Once we arrived at the train station there were plenty of cab drivers waiting for us to bring us to the old town. We paid 100 yuan, but our hostel hold told us we paid too much. Make sure to try bringing it back to 50 yuan. We had a very adventurous ride to the guesthouse because our backpacks were more outside than inside the car which gave some of us nearly a heart attack.
We stayed at Jiaxin’s Guesthouse and this place is absolutely adorable! The hostess is the sweetest woman and wants you to be as happy and comfortable as you can be. And it’s cheap! You can have breakfast for 5 yuan and dinner for 10 yuan (and it’s good!) which is very nice of you want to save some money. Make sure to try the wonton soup and fried rice with the vegetable salad here. The hostess taught herself to cook and you can see she is passionate about this. The hostel is very close (walking distance) to the Northern gate of the ancient town, an ATM and a supermarket.
My first feeling about Pingyao wasn’t really good to be honest. It was very crowded (we arrived on Sunday and it was summer holiday for China) and it didn’t really showed as scenic as I suspected. This completely changed the next day when we bought a ticket which allowed us to see 16 spots (including walking the whole wall). Those spots will show you the real beauty of this little ancient town because it gives you access to all the ancient buildings! Make sure to bring a student card if you have one, it will make it able to buy your ticket for half price.
In the end I really loved this place because it feels like a nice break from all the big cities like Beijing, Xi’an and Shanghai. You can relax, sleep until late and enjoy a nice book while drinking fresh Chinese green tea – things we really wanted after a fully planned week in Beijing!