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Datong Travel Guide

Datong Overview

Suited at the center of Datong Basin, Datong is in the northern part of Shanxi Province. It is about 380 km away from Beijing and 350 km from the provincial capital city, Taiyuan.

In ancient China, Datong was a place of strategic importance and a place where the Han people frequently exchanged with the ethnic minority peoples in north China. Datong was once served as the capital city during the North Wei Dynasty (386 AD-534 AD). The city had officially become the center of provincial government in the Ming and Qing Dynasties and the tall city walls were fortified in the early Ming Dynasty.

Datong is not only a Buddhist attraction but the nearest city to Mt. Hengshan, one of the four holy mountains of Taoism in China. Therefore this city is popular for its harmonious coexistence of religions, together with its strategic importance in geography and unique rugged terrain in scenery.

Most of the historical sites in the city relate to the history of Liao and Jin Dynasties. The most marvelous one is Yungang Grottoes, which is located 16 km west of the city. A variety of Buddhist statue sculptures in the grottoes are representative pieces of the excellent stone carving skills during that period. A 70-meter-high wooden pagoda in Yingxian County boasts to be the largest wood-structured pagoda in China and the splendid Huayan Temple complex is the most magnificent Buddhist temple of the Huayan Sect. Hanging Monastery, a range of traditional temple buildings clinging to the steep cliffs for over 1,400 years, make every tourist marvel at both its incredible structures and the spectacular natural mountain scenery around.

Datong Facts
Datong Climate & Weather
Best Time for Datong Travel

Area Code: 0451
Zip Code: 037000
Area: About 14,176 square kilometers (5,473 square miles),
Population: It has a population of approximately 3.11 million
Administrative Division: 4 districts and 7 counties
Geography: Datong is the northernmost city of Shanxi, and is located on the Datong Basin. It borders Inner Mongolia to the northwest and Hebei to the east. Neighboring prefectures within Shanxi are Shuozhou and Xinzhou, with Ulanqab in Inner Mongolia and Shijiazhuang in Hebei also bordering Datong.

Datong City enjoys a continental monsoon climate, featured with sharp temperature difference between day and night. Datong has a four-season semi-arid climate, influenced by its relatively high elevation, and inland location, with a long, very cold Winter, and very warm, often humid, Summer.

Character of seasons in Datong
In Spring, the temperature of Datong rises quickly to an average temperature is 6.5°C to 9.1°C. After suddenly getting warmer, it always turns cold again. That is a feature of Datong weather in spring. Spring in Datong often flies with snow, but easy to thaw.

Summer in Datong features a temperate climate and the average temperature is 19°C to 21.8°C. Datong’s rain-fall is concentrated in Summer which comprises 64.3% of the whole year. The Summer of Datong is the season with a variety of colour rather than spring.

Autumn comes, and the temperature falls gradually. The Autumn sky is clear and sunny. Datong’s frosty weather appears in the last ten days of September.

Winter is long compared to the other three seasons in Datong. It reaches to more than 4 months. In Winter northwest winds prevail in Datong. Average temperature is from -12.8°C to 6.3°C.

The coldest month is January with average temperature of -11.3°C.

Averages range from −10.6°C in January to 22.0°C in July, with night-time lows often significantly lower than daytime highs due to the aridity. Precipitation is sparse, averaging 370 millimetres and concentrated heavily in the warmer months. The area receives around 2670 hours, or 61% of the possible total, of sunshine per year.

Climate Data Table for Datong

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
-3.4 0.6 7.4 16.6 23.6 27.1 28.1 26.3 21.8 15.3 5.7 -1.6
-16.9 -13.1 -6.1 1.3 8.3 13.4 16.4 14.5 8.6 1.9 -6.5 -14.1
Rainfall (mm) 3.1 3.4 9.3 17.6 29.4 48.9 101.1 83.1 50.6 17.8 7.6 1.6
Days of rainfall 0.1 0.1 0.3 0.6 1.0 1.9 3.4 2.8 1.9 0.6 0.2 0.06

The best time to travel to Datong is from April to October. The temperature in Datong normally changes sharply between day and night; therefore it is highly advisable that a thick overcoat should be taken to keep out the cold; even in Summer.

Datong Tours & Tings to Do