China Guide

Shanxi, China – Guide to the Shanxi Province

Literally meaning ‘mountain’s west’ representing Shanxi’s position to the west of the Taihang Mountains, the province sits just east of the Yellow River and side by side with Shaanxi.

While Shanxi used to be one of China’s richest provinces with a large hand in trade and banking, today it is its ancient heritage sites and mining that are key to its economy. Mining here has had great benefits while also giving the area great embarrassment. Shanxi has been plagued by continuing issues over safety and slave labour, even some scandal with child labour.

Apart from these troubles, Shanxi really has a lot to offer in terms of world heritage sites and natural attractions. Pingyao is one of the ancient cities near the capital Taiyuan. It has preserved artefacts of the Han Chinese culture and features that represent life during both the Ming and Qing Dynasties.

Another world heritage site is the Yungang Grottoes found in Datong. With 252 caves that house Buddhist sculptures from the 5th and 6th centuries, it is a culturally entertaining visit.

To bring some of nature into your travels, Mount Hengshan is the perfect place to explore. The mountain is considered one of the “Five Great Peaks” and an important site for Taoists. You will notice on your way up the Hanging Temple which perches on the cliff side. Even through strong earthquakes, the temple has survived for over 1400 years.

The climate in Shaanxi is pleasant with winter temperatures just touching on 0°C in January while summer brings the heat with temperatures reaching 26°C. While winters seem to drag on for too long, Shanxi is in fact one of the sunniest Chinese provinces.