Shanxi Province

Shanxi Province, whose name means land west of Taihang Mountain, lies in the middle reaches of the Yellow River and on the eastern edge of the Loess Plateau. The Yellow, Haihe, and Fenhe Rivers flow through Shanxi, whose splendid landscape is graced by the celebrated Taihang and Liliang Ranges and Hengshan and Wutai Mountains.

A rich cultural heritage mixes with natural wonders to form Shanxi's bustling tourist scene. Datong, Wutai Mountain, Taiyuan, Pingyao, Linfen, and Yuncheng are locations full of historic and cultural significance. Several sites in Shanxi are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

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Datong is a small city that shuts down early, so drink in your hotel room and rise early for the sites. For good, cheap fun stop at any of the many chuanr (meat on a stick) stands and chat up the locals. People here are very friendly and curious, as it is still off the beaten path and provides a bit of respite if overwhelmed with the busyness of nearby Beijing.