Home to one of China’s most precious Buddhist caves and the world’s oldest wooden pagoda, Datong holds an air of grandeur and distinction. Mixing modern culture with past glories, the city brims with historical treasures and cultural relics.
Things to do in Datong
The Yungang Caves are considered China’s most outstanding example of Buddhist cave art. Marvel at over 250 caves and 51,000 ancient statues created by Tan Yao from the 5th century to the early-6th century. Some of the caves contain intricately carved pagodas and bursts of color, while others feature enormous Buddha statues, including a tremendous 17-meter-high statue.
Venture into the countryside towards the foot of Mount Hengshan to witness the Hanging Monastery. Built precariously into the side of Jinxia Gorge more than 50 meters above the ground, the wooden Buddhist monastery is a stunning sight. Walk between the ancient halls along the rickety corridors that have survived more than 1,400 years.
Admire the ferocious dragons and intricate details of the Nine-Dragon Screen, one of the finest and largest glazed screen walls in China. Built during the Ming dynasty, the eight-meter-high wall was designed to protect the palace that once stood behind it from foreign attack and evil spirits.
Datong’s ancient city walls were recently restored to replicate the original structures built in 1372. Walk along the 14-meter-high and seven-kilometer-long walls, ascend the watchtowers and venture inside the walls to visit the China Sculpture Museum, which features stone statues.
Getting around Datong
Fly into Datong Airport and take a 45-minute taxi or shuttle bus into Datong. Regular trains and buses arrive in Datong from Beijing, Xi’an and Pingyao. Once in Datong, buses and taxis are a convenient way to get around.