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  • Amy Waters snow biking Our Team

    Steppes Travel is made by the people who work here. Incredible holidays are made possible because of their vast travel experience and the great enthusiasm they bring to their work.

  • William Dalrymple Our Tour Experts

    We carefully select our experts based on their knowledge, companionship and influence, ensuring that you can travel with the most knowledgeable leaders in the field.

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    The people who lead the way when it comes to those things which matter to us: exploration, the environment, women’s empowerment and education.

Pingyao and Datong

Easily reached by train from Beijing, Pingyao was China’s most important trading city during the late Ming and Qing dynasties and is now the countries best-preserved ancient walled town and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The lanes within the old city walls are pedestrianised and full of characterful single-storey houses. Home to some 30,000 locals, life within them remains charmingly authentic.

The city walls stretch for over six kilometres and the city is home to what is thought to be Chinas first bank as well as a number of interesting museums and temples.

Hanging Monastery, Datong, China
Datong, China


Once an ancient imperial capital, nowadays the main reason to visit Datong is for the nearby Yungang caves. Stretching for around a kilometre the 252 caves are home to some of the country’s most exceptional Buddhist treasures. Dating as far back at AD 460 the beautifully carved Buddha’s and colourful frescoes draw influences from the melting pot of cultures and people who travelled the Silk Road during its heydey. The carved statues range in size and include one 17 metres seated effigy.

Nearby is the Hanging monastery which as its name suggests is built following the curve of the cliffside. Narrow walkways link the monastery buildings.


Tell us what you love doing and we’ll curate a journey that’s perfect for you.

Yungang Caves

Marvel at the 50,000 Buddhist statues found within the Yungang Caves, close to the city of Datong.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Visit Pingyao Old Town

Explore the pedestrian-only lanes of Pingyao old town, lined with red lanterns and traditional courtyard houses.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Traditional Accommodation

Stay at Jing’s Residence, a traditional courtyard hotel offering a quintessential Chinese experience.

Suggested accommodation

Visit the Hanging Monastery

Precariously perched on the cliff face, the hanging monastery in Datong is a temple, built some 75 metres above ground.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Wang Family Compound

Visit a former Qing dynasty residence close to the ancient walled city of Pingyao.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Pingyao City Walls on Foot

Walk the old city walls of Pingyao, dating back to the Ming dynasty.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Meet our experts

A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.

Paul Craven

Paul is the Conde Nast Traveler chosen Specialist for Central Asia and the Silk Route.

Being from a family with Army connections I can from an early age remember travelling. From camping in Europe and then later being sent to boarding school when we lived in Germany at the age of eight, complete with shorts, long socks, a cap and my suitcase. In appearance not too dissimilar to the children evacuated to the countryside during the blitz.

Talk with our experts
  • 01285 880 980

Clare Higginson

It was my passion for languages that first encouraged me to leave the UK behind and grab my rucksack. Since then, it’s been a mixture of intriguing cultures, jaw-dropping landscapes and the wonder of seeing animals in their natural habitat that sees me continuously extending my travel wish list.

Talk with our experts
  • 01285 880 980

Why Choose Steppes?

Our knowledge and expertise set us apart. So too our curiosity. It is this that drives us to create a journey that is really bespoke to you, all the while ensuring we travel and operate sustainably.

Are you ready to discover extraordinary once again?

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