Favorite thing: To visit all of the attractions that Pingyao has to offer, it is best to purchase the town tourist ticket. This costs Y120. The problem is that if your time in town in limited than you cannot hope to visit all of the attractions that are available on the ticket which is eighteen sites in total. I proved to have alot of energy that day and did manage ten attractions in about six hours so I felt that I got the most out of my yen. To see all of sites available on the ticket then you will probably have to spend more than a day in Pingyao which might not be a bad idea if you want to escape modern China for a couple of days.
On leaving the train from Xi'an in Pingyao my daughter lost her wallet. Within an hour we were informed that we had left a suitcase at the station. We were lost in translation, because we had all our belongings. Until my daughter wanted to buy a ticket .... no wallet.
Our hotel, TianYuanKui, helped us contacting the police and the suitcase turned out to be a wallet. A traveller on the train had found it and it had been handed over to the police. She donated this banner to the police. She asked it to express: ' Police, you're better than Mick Jagger'. But we doubt that that message is on the text.
Surprisingly Pingyao was once China's financial center, when a few banks here opened branches nationwide, and lots of wealth concentrated in this small county. The first modern bank (Shi Sheng Chang) is in Pingyao.
It is such a rare case that a small county became a financial center (in Ming & Qing Dynasty).
Recently we have rediscovered the history and many books published but don't know if anyone in English.
Fondest memory: I have dreamed of such awesome ancient castles from childhood. This is one of the most intact ancient city in China. Wonderful!
Favorite thing: In order to visit all the attractions, there's a one-time admission ticket that allows entry to about 20 attractions. It costs RMB120 and is valid for three days. The only sights that it doesn't cover are the Bell Tower and the Shuanglin and Zhenguo Temples that are outside of Pingyao. I bought my ticket from the entrance to the Temple of the City God and covered pretty much all the sights in day and a half, so you have ample time to visit them, if you have a couple of days here.
Fondest memory: Pingyao is a city famous for lanterns decorating houses in the old quarter. Lanterns are a colourful accent in the grays of the streets. The view is so beautiful that the city was used as a background in some films.
Favorite thing: When I was there in 2000, Pingyao was still not in the most important guidebook [LP], but my travelpartner knew this place and wanted me to see it. Well, it was because of that a true chinese experience. There were almost no other tourists then chinese. There was a lot of touristshops and eating places, but not the fancy ones they built for western tourist [like the hotelcomplexes around Angkor, Cambodia] small eateries, and modest places to stay. And ofcourse little shops with all kind of stuff that should bring you good luck!
Internet is available at the Tian Yuan Kui for 6 Yuan for an hour.
While you are there have a look around the hotel - it will be well worth it!!