Isolated way out in Shanxi’s western backblocks, Hukou Falls  are the Yellow River at its most impressively turbulent. Flowing north, the mighty river’s span approaches 400m at this point, yet it suddenly finds itself forced through a gap only 20m wide – the resultant torrent is predictably fierce, and predictably loud. The falls are regarded by the Chinese as one of their premier beauty spots, though you may question whether reaching them is worth the effort: they’re accessed via Linfen (临纷, línfēn), itself 140km south of Pingyao and still a further 150km-long, 4hr-plus bus-ride from the falls. Linfen’s CITS often runs tours from the south side of the city’s train station plaza, or can recommend where to pick up a tourist minibus.

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