We took bus from jiannan bus station, since the train ticket sold out on the day we wanted to go pingyao, bus leaves every half hour or when it is full, it will take 2 hours (even with some traffic jam in the city) to pingyao. Pingyao station is closer to the north gate, you can walk to the gate or pay 2 yuan per person to take the battery tuk tuk. After done the visit, We went to pingyao train station to get ticket to taiyuan, but there were just too many locals and students trying to get tickets, we decided to take bus back taiyuan. Bus ticket is 26 yuan. Train station is walking distant from lower west gate.
Pingyao Railway Station is located northwest outside of the Ancient City Wall. When you arrive the train station, it takes you around 15 minutes walk to the Fengyi Gate (West Gate), which is the nearest gate. It is a "T" junction road in front of the Railway Station. You should walk on the front road, Shuncheng Road, then turn left on Xifu Da Jie you will see the gate.
The Railway Station is small enough to serve the locals and tourists. The station is a transit point for trains from major cities, like Beijing, Taiyuan, Xian, Guangzhou and Chongqing. The most frequent trains are from Taiyuan, every one or half an hour each trains arrive in this station.
Train to Beijing:
2604/2601 13:10 14h50m --> 4:00
K604 18:47 11h41m --> 6:28
1164 21:48 12h30m --> 10:18
Train to Xian:
2671 00:34 8h32m --> 8:32am
1095 20:47 10h18m --> 7:35am
2669 21:38 8h40m --> 6:18am
Tip: You can also take a train to Yuci from this station.
I took a early train 7:10 to Taiyuan. It was a nice experience to see people take the train to work in Taiyuan.
For the sleeper trains between Pingyao/Taiyuan to Xian, I recommend you to take the train from Taiyuan to Xian.
Reason: There are more trains between Taiyuan to Xian. You can have a better train with Air-condition from Taiyuan. All the trains from Pingyao to Xian have no air-condition, and very difficult to get ticket.
Trains from Pingyao to Xian:
2671 00:34 8h32m --> 8:32am (fr Taiyuan)
1095 20:47 10h18m --> 7:35am (fr Taiyuan)
2669 21:38 8h40m --> 6:18am (fr Taiyuan)
Trains from Taiyuan to Xian:
K548/K545 20:29 9h1m --> 5:30
T41 21:35 8h2m --> 5:37
T7 23:49 7h55m --> 7:44
You could spend half or full day in Taiyuan before taking the night sleeper train to Xian.
It was very difficult to get train ticket from Taiyuan to Xian as well. I was trying to buy the train ticket from Beijing Railway Station several times. They were all sold out. Finally, on my departure from Beijing West Station to Taiyuan, I went to the ticket counter again to ask. Luckily, they have one sleeper train ticket available for me, T41. It was perfect, and I paid Y184 for the ticket.
Tip: China Railway allows passengers to change or refund ticket if they change their plan. It means you can still hope to get the ticket although it is sold out at the time you inquired. Someone might cancel the ticket you want before departure date.
If you are planing to travel from Beijing to Pingyao, this is the easiest and fastest way:
First, you take the speed rail from Beijing West to Taiyuan:
Time: 7:21, 8:10, 8:45, 12:03, 12;52, 15:31, 16:20, 17:58.
Fare: Y149 per person.
Distance: 715 km/ 3 hours and 40 minutes.
Note: Great views on the journey.
Second, take the normal train from Taiyuan to Pingyao.
Time: Every Hour ( From 3:52 till 23:41)
Distance: 80km/ 1 hour 30 minutes.
Note: If you cannot get a seat ticket, you might want to consider taking the bus. If it is the public holiday, I don't recommend train on this route. Please read my experience on my Pingyao page.
Chinese Train ticket system is a national network, you can buy the ticket Pingyao-->Xian from Beijing/Taiyuan/Datong Station, but you must pay attention to Pre-sale Time(Max 10days in advance).
Wish you have a nice trip.
The train station in Pingyao is located about a 5-10 minute walk away from the West Gate of the Old Town. Trains to and from cities like Beijing, Chengdu, Xian, Chongqing and Taiyuan are available from this station. I took an overnight train from here to Xian at 21:50 (train No.2669) which cost RMB117. Check out the website below for info on train destinations and timetables:
Probamos las camas blandas y salimos a las doce de la noche de Pingyao y llegamos a las 13h del día siguiente a Luoyang
Las camas blandas en compartimentos de cuatro personas están muy bien , limpias y cómodas
Precio : 267 Yuan (cama alta) + 278 Yuan (cama baja) + 80 Yuan (Comisión del hotel)
We tried the soft beds and we left at twelve o'clock in the night from Pingyao and we arrived to Luoyang at 13h of the next day
The soft beds , in of four people compartments are very good, clean and comfortable
Price: 267 Yuan (upper bed ) + 278 Yuan (lower bed) + 80 Yuan (hotel Commission )
Para los que no somos expertos en la bicicleta , Pingyao es el sitio ideal para dar un paseo , pues no hay tráfico , aunque si muchos "paisanos" , es completamente llana y no te puedes perder
Alquilamos la bici en el hotel y la puedes dejar aparcada fuera de los sitios que quieras visitar , con candado sin grandes riesgos de que te la roben
For those who are not experts in the bike , like us , Pingyao is the ideal place for a ride, since there is no traffic, although many "people", it is completely flat and you can not loose
We rent the bike in the hotel and you can leave it parked outside the sites you want to visit, with lock , without major risk that they steal it
We hired a taxi through our hotel to take us to the Qiao family home (scene of the film,"raise the red lantern")and then onto Taiyuan where we caught the train onto Beijing. The taxi driver turned out to be the owner of the hotel who could not speak much English but everything turned out fine. We got to the Qiao family residence, got to Taiyuan and our train tickets and we were dropped off at the train station in good time.
Cost 300 Yuan for trip to Qiao family home (about an hour journey and a hour there) and on to Taiyuan(another hour).
We decided that we would take the express overnight train to Beijing from Taiyuan which is about 2 hours by car from Pingyao. As Taiyuan is a major railway station there would be more options in terms of trains to Beijing.
For this reason we made the decision that we would combine this with a visit to the Qiao family residence and so we organised a taxi to Taiyun and thereafter train to Beijing.
The train we caught was the N202 leaving Taiyuan at 9.30pm and arriving Beijing at 8.00am.
This time we waited (waiting area 2) along with the hordes of other people to catch the train rather than in a special waiting area. (Use your ticket number to find out which waiting area to go to).This in itself was an interesting experience. People were quite interested in us and some even crowded over our shoulders to see what we were doing - sudoku. One interesting episode was watching young men try to hop on board trains without paying for a ticket ( they would simply jump over the gates while the rest of the ticket inspectors were busily checking the hordes through the gates).
The 4 berth cabin from Taiyuan seemed to be slightly more upmarket (flower in vase etc see photos) than the train we took from Xian. This time we did book soft seats, one lower and one upper on the same side. We shared with a young female student and a gentleman on his way to India to do business.
The trip was uneventful and we all seemed to agree mutually when the main light would be turned off and when we would all wake in the morning.
We organised the taxi and the train tickets through our hotel.Cost 215 Yuan each.
The only way to see Pingyao at close quarters and freely is by hiring a bike. We made sure our bikes were quite sturdy, brakes, tyres etc were OK.
Because we had hired bikes we were able to see a lot more sites and cycle along the city wall and the back alleys.
We caught the train from Xian to Pingyao. It was organised for us by the guide through the hotel. Cost: 127 Yuan for a seat in a 4 berth cabin. Our train number was 1676. It left at 14.32pm in Xian and arrived at 11.30pm in Pingyao.
After getting a taxi to the railway station at Xian because we had soft seats we went to a special waiting area and were called by a staff member to board the train. On boarding the train we found that we both had top bunks in a 4 bed cabin. The girl who had one of the bottom bunks immediately closed the curtains and proceeded to lie down fully on her bunk. This was a signal that we should not sit on the lower bunk. We ignored her and stayed on the other bottom bunk until about 8pm Luckily, the person who had the rightful claim to the bottom bunk came on after Pingyao so we were able to look out (we opened the curtain on our side of the window) to get a bit of a glimpse of the country while it was still daylight.
Our arrival in Pingyao at 11.30pm was quite surreal. There was a grey mist – Hitchcockian style rising up from the station platform– no-one else got off the train and the station was empty except after closer examination at the end of a dark platform a guard beckoning us to a darkened doorway. After we went through a narrow doorway she closed the doors after us and then beckoned us to a lonely dark exit.
Luckily for us there about 5 "taxi drivers" waiting for passengers who were only too willing to help take us to the old part of the city.
The Highway in Shanxi is the best I have ever travelled in China. I drove from Beijing to Datong and then to Pingyao.
It is also easier to go to the Courtyards (Family Wang, Family Qiao), which are all few dozens of km away.
Pingyao is located in the center plain of Shanxi province, 108 km from Taiyuan, the capital of the province. You can get there by train from Taiyuan.
Train #785 is departing Taiyuan at 7:13am, and train#786 is departing Pingyao at 4:14 for Taiyuan. The ride takes about 2½ hours and costs less than Y10.