Based on the glowing reviews on Pingyao, I expected to find this city a fascinating place. Having been there, I am exceedingly disappointed in the way it was portrayed.
First of all, an ESSENTIAL piece of information that nobody mentioned - you CANNOT go into ANY of the tourist sites without the 150 Yuan ticket. 150 includes all, BUT, and I can't emphasize this enough, you cannot get into any single attraction on its own. None. Zero. It's all or nothing. We thought 150 was a bit expensive to climb walls, and then we found out we could not enter a single temple without that ticket. It's quite the monopoly they run, and this should be noted in big capital letters
Next, Pingyao is a very poor city. You walk a bit past the central tourist areas, and there is no electricity, no plumbing, no running water. We saw people emptying their urine buckets into the streets. I am astounded that others saw it and portrayed it as a friendly little tourist city.
Finally, you MUST note the trains. Many people use it as a stopping point to Xi'an. A mistake. It is the middle of the line, and tickets sell out. Very very quickly. You can easily find yourself stuck in Pingyao just waiting for a train out.
Unique Suggestions: 1) plan to be there 5 nights
2) plan day trips from Pingyao
3) book a train far in advance
4) plan to spend 150 on tourist sites. If that's too much - skip it.
Fun Alternatives: Skip.
You will find lots of street vendors selling antiques. Mostly are fake. Don't pay big price for these
Fun Alternatives: If you really like these stuff, try slicing the prices very hard! most stuff can get below RMB100