If you only have one full day, then the World Cultural Heritage site - Yungang Grottoes and the Hanging Monastery which is 1 hour and 10 minutes' drive from Datong, should not be missed. For travelers who plan a two-day tour, in addition to the above-mentioned scenic spots, the Huayan Monastery and Nine-Dragon Screen in downtown are worth visiting as well. Meanwhile, you are also recommended to spend half a day exploring the wild Great Wall in the suburbs of the city.
At the rim of Datong, there exists a section of wild Great Wall with a length of 300 kilometers (186 miles) or so, along which the Desheng Fortress is the closest Fortress. It is located about 45 kilometers (27miles) northwest of Datong. With a history of 500 years, this fortress used to be a place for the soldiers on the border living in the ancient times. The Great Wall here was built on the ground and it stands till now after experiencing hundreds of years’ vicissitudes. If you are hike lovers, you can take a hiking tour along the old wall for 5-10 kilometers. What's more, the majestic and grand Yanmenguan Pass, also called Baicaokou Wild Great Wall, 120 kilometers (74 miles) away from Datong, is another ideal place for hiking.
Map of Shanxi Province (Click for full image)
If your next destination is Pingyao, you can go by a 5-hour train journey. However, if time permits, taking a private car is also a good choice. You will start from Datong in the morning and take a side trip to visit the Hanging Monastery, Wooden Pagoda and Qiao Family Compound en route. Even though the ride takes around 10 hours, you will certainly feel excited and fulfilled.