The Animals in Pingyao

Gallery

This is the third city and the fifth day of our fourteen-day adventure. Thank you for taking time to read.

The Ancient City of Pingyao (平遥古城)

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Pingyao is our third destination in the next leg of our trip. Similar, with Datong, it is located in the Shanxi (山西) province. The entire walled city is listed under UNESCO World Heritage site, as “an exceptionally well-preserved example of a traditional Han Chinese city.”

During the Ming and Qing dynasties, Pingyao was actually the financial center for the entire China. During those times, trading merchants deemed it unsafe to carry silver coins with them everywhere they go. Because of this, exchange houses was established. Called a piaohao (票号) in Chinese, they provided remittance services, took deposits, and loaned money.

Mr. Zhang (张) fetched us from the station, again with a big “SHANDA” written on a piece of paper. He brought us to the hotel to rest a bit, before heading off to our excursion.

Shuang Lin Temple (双林寺) and Wang’s Family Courtyard

These were originally not part of our itinerary, because we were trying to save up on tour expenses, so we really appreciate Jonathan for arranging this for us.

Shuang Lin Temple boasted of it’s colorful, life-like sculptures.

Map to the temple.

Map to the temple.

There was no one around , yet

There was no one around , yet

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Skanda :P

Skanda 😛

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We do not know what this blossom is.

We did not know what this blossom was.

I grew up in a Catholic-Buddhist household and was fascinated with this figure when I was young.

I grew up in a Catholic-Buddhist household and was fascinated with this figure when I was young.

Stable? Not! This was their women's toilet. Good thing I was all alone

Stable? Not! This was their women’s toilet. Good thing I was all alone

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Wang’s family compound was a luxurious residence built by Wangs from 1762 to 1811, occupying a total area of 150,000 square meters.

Welcome to Dalvin's ancestral home

Welcome to Dalvin’s ancestral home

Map to the Wang maze

Map of the Wang maze

Dalvin, Filbert and I took turns listening to the audio guide and explaining to others what the place was all about. Similar with Forbidden City's audio guide, it will automatically talk about the place you are currently in, and even guide you where to go next.

Dalvin, Filbert and I took turns listening to the audio guide and explaining to others what the place was all about. Similar with Forbidden City’s audio guide, it will automatically talk about the place you are currently in, and even guide you where to go next.

Look at the expanse of their compound

Look at the expanse of their compound

An example of their courtyard

An example of their courtyard

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Even their lawn was mowed with the Wang 王 shape

Even their lawn was mowed with the Wang 王 shape

Bats have special meaning to their family

Bats have special meaning to their family

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Geneollogy of their bloodline

Genealogy of their family line

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Going up hill

Going up hill

Guards must have been walking this same path

Guards must have been walking this same path

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Lunchtime

After those two wonderful sites, Mr. Zhang brought us to a local restaurant for lunch. Here, we got to try food with funny translations: “Dun dun the rejection,” “Foreskin noodles,”  “fry a bowl of bald,” etc. It was also my first time to try eating fried rabbit. Tasted yummy!

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We met Jonathan by chance! He was leading another tour group that time.

We met Jonathan (who helped us with Pingyao) by chance! He was leading another tour group that time.

Zhangbi Ancient Fortress (张壁古堡)

After lunch, we finally headed to our main destination, with online description that intrigued me.

Also known as the Zhangbi ancient castle, it was built in 617AD, and underneath this ancient village was a network of underground tunnels, which served as the defense system of the entire village.

We hired a local guide for this one, because we feared getting lost in the tunnels. An English speaking guide cost cny60 (php424).

The funny thing was, when our guide was touring us around the tunnels, she described several instances on how the soldiers could trap the “animals”. It was only towards the end of our tour, when I realized that what she meant was “enemies”. A total mind game!

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Our guide for this site, Jane, explaining about the tunnels

Our guide for this site, Jane, explaining about the tunnels

on our way down

On our way down

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this was where the soldiers hid to catch the "animals"

This was where the soldiers hid to catch the “animals”

pass the message!

Pass the message!

which way to go?

Which way to go?

posing on the water passage out of the underground labyrinth

Posing at the sewer exit of the underground labyrinth

it was this dark in here

It was this dark in here

one of the rooms made for a general

One of the rooms made for a general

escape route from the top to the bottom

Escape route from the top to the bottom

Blessed!

Blessed!

dying pagoda tree, saved by the willow tree planted by the villagers. The two merged and helped one another.

Dying pagoda tree, saved by the willow tree planted by the villagers. The two merged and helped one another.

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rare blue stone tablet from ancient times

Rare blue stone tablet from ancient times

Yi De Hotel (一得客栈)

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We arrived back at our hotel around 5pm and said goodbye to Mr. Zhang.Our hotel also has its own history, being inside the ancient city. It was built between 1736 and 1795 during Qing dynasty, and was once the home of a bank manager. We rested a bit in our nice ancient room, before heading back out.

our room

Our room

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our courtyard!

Our courtyard!

Evening Stroll

We headed out for dinner, and found out that the main road inside the ancient walls was alive at night!

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We stayed there until almost all the shops closed down (around 10pm). It was dark on our way back to the hotel, best not to walk alone.

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This blur picture is the first evidence: giggling girls kept on approaching Fil, asking if they can take his picture.

This blur picture is the first evidence: giggling girls kept on approaching Fil, asking if they can take his picture.


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listening to a street performer sing.

listening to a street performer sing.

All throughout the day, there was a feeling that we had been transported to another world. Really glad we had one more day here.

For Pingyao tour, contact Jonathan http://www.pingyaotravelguide.com/

To read about our entire travel itinerary, click here.

For our previous day in Datong, click here.

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6 responses »

  1. Pingback: Still In Pingyao | Shanda's Happy Deals

  2. Pingback: Five-City China Trip: Prologue | Shanda's Happy Deals

  3. Pingback: Hanging Out in Datong | Shanda's Happy Deals

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