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Shanxi Province Travel Guide

Provincial capital: Taiyuan

Population: 34 millions

Geological location: Shanxi Province is situated in the middle of the Yellow River valley, lying between latitude 34°34'-40°44' north and longitude 110°15'-114°32' east. Its location west of the Taihang Mountains gives the province its name, Shanxi, meaning "west of the mountain."

Map of Shaxi Province Yungang Grottoes Datong Mount Hengshan The Hanging Temple Beijing Pingyao Mount Wutai Taiyuan City

Climate: It gases a mild continental climate with four distinct seasons awash in sunlight. The annual average temperature ranges from 4℃ to 14℃ and annual precipitation from 400 mm to 650 mm. The frost-free season ranges from 120 to more than 220 days

Tourism resources: Shanxi abounds in tourism resources. Famous spots include the Yungang Caves at Datong City in the north, Wutai Mountain, a sacred place of Buddhism in the central part, and the falls at Hukou in the south, the only waterfall on the Yellow River.

The province also encompasses the country's largest temple of martial valor – the Guan Yu Shrine at Xiezhou – and one of the four large whispering buildings in China, the Yingying Pagoda of Pujiu Temple in Yongji County.

Statistics show that Shanxi now preserves a total of 31,401 unmovable cultural relics of different kinds. They comprise 2,639 ruins of ancient monuments, 1,666 ancient graves, 18,118 old buildings and memorial structures of historic interest, 300 grottoes and temples, 360 sites bearing ancient vertebrate fossils, 6,852 sites with stone inscriptions and 1,466 old revolutionary sites and memorial buildings.

There are 12,345 painted sculptures in these old buildings and memorial structures of historic interest and 26,751 square meters of murals in old temples. Therefore, the province has broad prospects for developing tourism based on its rich cultural relics to make it a pillar sector of the economy.

Although Shanxi still remains a relatively backward province in China, with the exploiting of its ancient tourist attractions and newly discovered coal resources, recent years have witnessed rapid progress made in the transport sector.

By Air: There is only one airport in the province, at Taiyuan. There are daily flights to and from Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Xi'an, as well as infrequent flights to and from Tianjin, Chengdu, Nanjing and Hong Kong. For detailed information, please check the corresponding section in the transportation introduction of Taiyuan.

By Train: Rail transport links in the province are far in excess of the demand that tourism puts upon the province. It is coal that is the cause of this, since Shanxi provides 30% of the coal resources for the whole of China. As a result, cobwebs of railway lines (the most obvious the north-south Datong-Fenglingdu line and the east-west Beijing-Baotou and Beijing-Taiyuan lines), have been built to export these resources to where they are in most demand. The problem is that trains in Shanxi, probably due to excessive quantity, run slower than the nation's average.

By Bus: Due to relatively poor road conditions, buses in the province run at a relative speed even slower than that of the trains. However, bus travel has a few advantages. First, there are many more choices if you travel by bus. Second, buses reach attractions that are currently inaccessible by train, especially the famed Yungang Grottoes near Datong, the Hukou Falls near Linfen, Wutaishan Mountain and the Hanging Monastery in Hengshan.