Famed for being gritty, polluted and ugly, DATONG has recently been the subject of one of China’s biggest urban makeovers – though there’s some way to go until the city could be described as attractive. The knobbly remains of the earthen ramparts that once bounded the old city have been lovingly rebuilt, and by the time you read this it should be possible to cycle their full perimeter. Inside the walls, and spreading east and west of a centrally located Ming-dynasty Drum Tower (鼓楼, gŭlóu), you’ll also find a new, rather successfully contrived Qing-style district. The unrestored parts of town exude a rugged atmosphere that those who don’t have to live here might just find appealing, and a good number of small temples and old monuments are hidden away in the backstreets. Despite these definite improvements, though, many visitors merely use the city as a springboard to outlying sights, especially the Yungang Caves and Hanging Temple.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

China features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

The roof of the world: a first-timer's guide to Tibet

The roof of the world: a first-timer's guide to Tibet

The ‘roof of the world’ has exerted a magnetic pull over travellers and adventurers for centuries. This vast, high altitude desert has spawned myths and leg…

10 Nov 2016 • Stuart Butler insert_drive_file Article
Video: 10 Taiwanese street foods you need to try

Video: 10 Taiwanese street foods you need to try

Street food in Taiwan has a charm that restaurants just can't match. There's a distinct pleasure to be found in wandering through the labyrinthine stalls glo…

24 Oct 2016 • Colt St. George videocam Video
Beyond the Jade Dragon mountain: stunning pictures of Yunnan, China

Beyond the Jade Dragon mountain: stunning pictures of Yunnan, China

After a few weeks exploring the region, Rough Guides travel writer and photographer David Abram shares some of his favourite images of Yunnan Province, China. …

18 Oct 2016 • David Abram insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month