Xi'an is one of the oldest cities in China.. and when I say old.. I mean insanely old. The city has over 3,000 years of recorded history and compared to Beijing, most is still intact with little that has been leveled to the ground to be replaced by a ‘newer' and more tourist friendly version.
The main draw to Xi'an is of course The Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum. If you're trying to Google information information other than what is on Wikipedia.. There are a dozen other names that it goes by in English..
- The Museum of Qin Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses
- The Terracotta Army
- Emperor Qinshihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum
- Army of Terracotta Warriors and Horses
- In Chinese it's referred to as 兵马俑 or pronounced Bīngmăyŏng
Even though everyone in the western hemisphere has heard about the Terracotta Army, there is a surprising lack of western tourists in the city and at the Museum itself. The most likely time you will bump into other westerners is when you spot a tour group that have either flown in or got the fast train from Beijing for a few days. Xi'an in a way caters to the backpacker community well. There are many hostels available, cheap and delicious street food and plenty of history and sites to see.
If you want information on where to stay in Xi'an and how to get here by Sleeper Train or the High Speed Rail from Beijing, read our previous post.
Other things to see and do in Xian..
Xi'an has a lot more than just The Terracotta Warriors to see though. We did a lot of walking around the city (if the Metro Line 2 was finished when we were there, it would have made getting around easier!). There is the Drum & Bell Towers that you can walk up into for a combined ticket price of ¥40.
The City Wall is quite incredible , you will first see it after walking out of the main train station, if you have caught a sleeper train into Xi'an. The wall is 100% complete and wraps around the whole city. Much of it has been restored and now is properly maintained. It makes a great day out should you want to pay the entrance fee and cycle around the tops of the wall.
You have to try Xian's Yang Rou Pao Mo（羊肉泡馍）which you will find all over town. It's basically a mutton broth with succulent chunks of mutton and cut-up pieces of Pitta bread in the soup. It's hearty and warming! If you want to find some good value and popular restaurants, visit Bei Yuan Men street (otherwise known as Muslim Street). It's easy to get to, just head towards the Drum tower and then head north on the road in the middle of it. You'll know you are there by the presence of loads of street food stalls and hoards of tourists. Try out Xian signature steamed dumplings and Yang Rou Pao Mo.
How to get to The Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum (兵马俑) in Xi'an, Shaanxi:
|Attractions Address:||Emperor Qinshihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum, Lintong, Xi'an, Shaanxi, China. or in Chinese 秦始皇帝陵博物院 版权所有|
|Transport Available:||The easiest method of getting to The Terracotta Warriors is by the tourist buses available outside the Main Railway Station. Take bus 306 (7¥) 914 (8¥) or 915 (8¥). There are also public buses that go that way, which may be easier for you to pick-up if your hotel isn't located nearby to the Railway Station. For help in navigating your way around Xi'an on public bus (and any other city in China for that matter) read our guide on ‘How to get from A to B on public bus in China‘.|
|Ticket Prices:||¥120 for adults and ¥70 for students. If you can invest in one, I would recommend buying an ISIC before travelling to China. We got ours free when registering to study in China. Sometimes it's not accepted but it's always worth a shot!|
|Info for when you are there:||Trust China to make the process confusing to get into a top tourist attraction. There are no arrows or signs showing where the ticket office is. Basically walk towards the west when you get out of the bus. Follow other people if you have to. You will see a ticket office building swarming with people, with massive fences / gates on the parallel side.After purchasing your ticket, you will have to walk up the hill past all the souvenir shops. It takes about 15 minutes to get through both sets of security / ticket turnstiles. Then you will get to the main buildings which hold the pits of Terracotta Warriors.|