Xian (西安 Xī'ān, pron. SEE-ahn), is a historic city in Shaanxi Province in China.
Xi'an is more than 3,000 years old and was known as Chang'an (长安) in ancient times. For 1,000 years, the city was the capital for 13 dynasties, and a total of 73 emperors ruled here. Xi'an is the undisputed root of Chinese civilization having served as the capital city for the Zhou, Qin, Han, Sui and Tang dynasties. With so much history within the ground the city lies upon, it is no wonder that there are so many historical ruins, museums and cultural relics to be found here. It was already influencing the world outside of the Great Wall of China as the eastern terminus of the Silk Road（丝绸之路). Here traders from far and wide brought goods and ideas for sale and took goods and ideas back with them to their native countries. In present day Xi'an not much of its former glory remains within the city confines, due to the constant warfare and political changes that swept China particularly throughout the 20th Century. Today the city has a pleasant cosmopolitan flair to it and it is worth visiting for the famed Terracotta Warriors alone. It has often been said that, "if you have not been to Xi'an, you have not been to China!"
Xi'an has most of its annual precipitation from August to late October in the form of rain. It is characterised by hot summers and cold, dry winters. Spring and autumn will be somewhat brief and dry.
Xi'an Xianyang International Airport (IATA: XIY) is located 40 km (25 mi) northwest of the city centre, in Xianyang. Flights are available to Beijing, Chengdu, Chongqing, Dunhuang, Fuzhou, Guangzhou, Harbin, Hangzhou, Hohhot, Kunming, Lhasa, Lanzhou, Nanjing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Urumqi, Wuhan, Xiamen, Xining and Zhangjiajie within Mainland China. International flights are available to Helsinki, San Francisco, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Macau, Seoul, Singapore,Kuala Lumpur as well as Nagoya, Fukuoka, Niigata, Tokyo and Hiroshima in Japan. As Xi'an is located in the heartland of China, it takes no more than 2 hours to fly to most major Chinese cities.
The airport has three terminals. Terminal 2 and 3 are for domestic flights. The international flights depart from the terminal 2 near terminal 3.
Most people use taxis or the airport bus to reach town from the airport, however taking a taxi is not recommended, as most taxi drivers will raise the price for non-local tourists. A taxi will cost about ¥150 from the airport to the Bell Tower downtown. You will pay around ¥ 50-75 more if you take one of the climatized Japanese-branded black taxis rather than the typical green taxis. At the airport, both types of taxis are waiting at the same spot to pick up passengers. The airport buses leaves traveling one of 6 routes, each every half-hour from 06:00 to 18:00. A ticket (which needs to be purchased beforehand at the counter inside the arrival terminal) costs ¥26 and the trip takes at least one hour; there are several lines but the most useful are Airport Bus No. 2 (to the railway station in front of Jiefang Hotel 解放饭店) and No. 1 (which used to run to the Bell Tower, but buses no longer run this centrally in the old town; of the two lines that run inside, one stops near the West Gate and the other near the East Gate). As long as there is an arriving flight, there will be a bus, so don't worry about arriving late at night or early morning; officially, on line 1 there is a bus every 20 minutes but buses will often depart as soon as they fill up. The airport bus route is the best way between city and the train station (where a veritable fleet of buses leave constantly to take tourists and locals to the Terracotta Warriors, among other places).
If you're a spur-of-the-moment traveller expecting to find enterprising, helpful people to greet you with options in English, you may be disappointed. Especially outside of high season, there are surprisingly few such freelancers. It's a good idea to book a tour in advance if you want to explore any but the most-beaten paths. Many tours will extend an airport pickup at a discounted cost (or, in some cases, at no cost). If you want to take a taxi to the Terracotta Warriors, for example, it may cost as much as ¥200 from the airport, and, with few drivers speaking English, the phrase Bing Ma Yong (Mandarin for "Terracotta Warriors") will come in quite handy.
By fast train
The high speed train from Xi'an North Station to Luoyang-Longmen is now available many times a day, starting from 07:00. The distance of 400 km (250 mi) takes about 90 minutes.
The high speed train station is located about 10 km (6 mi) north from the Xi'an north gate (do not get it mixed up with the Xi'an North gate train station). The last train returns around 19:00. Schedules may change, so it is best to check it out at the station or website. Use the cheap and highly efficient subway to get to and from Xi'An central (¥3 as of September 2014, takes about 30 min).
There are plenty of trains transporting passengers to and from most of the major cities inside China. Keep in mind during national holidays and peak travel periods, train tickets may available only if booked in advance (most ticket sales open 10-21 days in advance). Traveling in a seat (hard or soft-class) likely means a bargain price but may be accompanied by smokers, loud noise, and activity in the aisle while you try to sleep. Do not travel hard class if you are uncomfortable with these settings. Sleeper cabins are limited to 6 people each (4 for deluxe soft sleepers, which are typically only found on the trains originating from Beijing). If traveling alone, keep an eye on your luggage and practice common sense. Also note it's customary for bathrooms to close 30-60 minutes before getting to the final destination of that route.
Trains run to several domestic cities including: Beijing (5-13 hours), Chengdu (13-18 hours), Chongqing (14 hours), Guangzhou (8–24 hours), Kunming (36-53 hours), Lanzhou (8-10 hours), Lhasa (36 hours), Shanghai (11-20 hours), Urumqi (31-56 hours), Wuhan (4-18 hours), and Zhengzhou (2–6 hours).
Xi'an Station is at the north end of Jiefang Road (解放路; pinyin: jiěfànglù), just outside the northeast city wall. As you exit, there will probably be lots of people offering cheap hotel rooms; just ignore them if you already have a room booked. Even if you don't, you probably don't want to get one from them anyway. Also, don't fall for the people who offer to exchange a Xi'an map for your used train ticket - they reuse them for some shady purposes, e.g. re-selling them to people who just want to get into the station or try to sneak on a train.
In Xi'an, it is very easy to get to the railway station by city bus from anywhere in the city. There are several stops within 200 m of the station (look for train station East or North on a bus route (火车站东/北). Bus 603 will take you into the city for only ¥1. Many hostels also offer free pick-up if you arrive between 06:00 and 09:00.
Xi'an North Station serves the high-speed rail. It is connected by the metro system. Destinations include Luoyang, Zhengzhou, Wuhan, Shijiazhuang, Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing, Changsha, Guangzhou and Shenzhen.
If you want to take a taxi from the North Station, note that when you exit the station for the taxi stand, you will be greeted by a crowd of eager private drivers offering fake taxi rides. Ignore them and continue walking down the corridor until you reach the outside doors. The official taxis will be waiting for you.
Xi'an South Station is a very remote railway station. The easiest way is to go to the southern-most stop on the subway, and then taking a taxi. Note however that even taxi drivers have a hard time finding this one. However, trains from this station will not sell out as fast, which might make this station the only one available for you. There are over-night trains to Pingyao and Taiyuan from here (leaving at around 17:00, and about 11-12h travel time) and also trains to far away locations such as Urumqi (38½ hours), Hohhot (15 hours), Kunming (32 hours), Guangzhou (24½ hours) and Chongqing (10 hours).
The main long-distance bus station - Shaanxi Province Long-distance Bus Station is located approximately 100m south to the exit or entry to Xi'an railway station, immediately after you cross the city wall.
Bus service is available to: Huashan (2-3 hours), Lanzhou (8-10 hours), Luoyang (5-7 hours), Pingyao (7-8 hours), Taiyuan (12 hours), and Zhengzhou (9-12 hours).
If you are arriving from Pingyao by bus, you will most likely arrive at the east bus station. Catch the bus 203 right next to the bus station to get to the city centre.
Traffic is heavy, right of way is unheard of, and the rule of thumb is "keep going no matter what" (although drivers do note red lights).
The city is surrounded by a city wall, in its middle the Bell Tower (Chinese:钟楼; pinyin: Zhōnglóu). From this one, the four main streets descend into the four points of the compass.
- North-Street (北大街 Běidàjiē).
- East-Street (东大街 Dōngdàjiē).
- South-Street (南大街 Nándàjiē).
- West-Street (西大街 Xīdàjiē).
Do not get confused by different names in tourist guides, addresses and bus stops: Nandajie, Nanda-Street, South-Street, South-Avenue are all the same.
Locals often speak about Within city walls and Outside city walls when talking about locations. Outside the walls, the southern part is the most interesting, it offers shopping streets, bars and some nightlife.
There are plenty of buses departing everywhere in short-intervals (main lines every 5-10 minutes). If you are not confident enough with orientation, or if you do not like packed buses, the cheap taxis are the best alternative, broadly available, except for during rush hours.
Line 2 runs north-south. You can connect to and from the Xi'an North Train Station (西安北客站; Xī'ān Běikezhàn) for the high-speed rail network. Line 1 runs east-west and crosses Line 2 at 北大街 (Bei Da Jie) in the city center. Line 3 runs roughly in the northeast-southwest direction and intersects with line 1 at 通化门 (Tong Hua Men) and line 2 at 小寨 (Xiao Zhai).
Bus 306 To Terracotta Warrior Museum
Regular buses within the city cost ¥1 (¥2 for air-conditioned, marked with a snow-flake) no matter how far you go. Since there are many buses in the city, it can be useful to go to the Tourism Office Center (which is situated near the Bell Tower) and ask for a free map of the city, with the buses' lines on it.
A popular line for tourists is #610 (also labeled "游8" in Chinese, which means "tourist #8") which connects the railway station, the Bell Tower, the Small Wild Goose Pagoda and Xi'an Museum, the Shaanxi Historic Museum and the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda. Unfortunately it is not one of the most frequent (sometimes you can wait for half an hour, though usually it comes in a few minutes). Near the Bell Tower, it stops at the beginning of West Street; take it westwards to then go south to the museums and pagodas, take it eastwards to then go north to the railway station. Near the railway station (there are many stops for different lines) you can catch it at the third block on the main street going straight south from the station.
Another useful line is #609 that connects the Bell Tower, the South Gate and the Big Goose Pagoda. Near the Bell Tower, it stops at the beginning of South Street.
Although the 609 and 610 can be infrequent, the 611 is very regular, and connects the train station and the Bell Tower. Look for it over the road from the station.
There are many buses leaving regularly for the Terracotta Warrior museum in front of the Xi'an bus station (east to the train station, outside (in the north) the city walls).
- Bus 306 (Chinese bus green 5) leaves from the lot in front of the train station and will take you to a parking lot right in front of the museum site in about an hour (it can take up to 90 minutes in case of traffic jams). A one-way ticket costs ¥7 (just get on and sit down, then a conductor will come and give you a ticket). It also stops at another famous tourist attraction along the way, Huaqing Palalce (华清宫). Make sure you don't make the mistake of going to the bus station on the inside of the wall near the train station. That's where there are touts with signs saying bus 5 and bus 306, trying to hustle you onto their private bus. Although they do take you to the destinations, you are forced to go to visit attractions you might not want to go to. If you're facing the train station directly, the lot where the bus departs from will be on your right - it's near a Dico's. Look out for a sign with a bunch of Chinese characters with 306 (5) in between them.
- Small buses which are used by the locals (e.g. number 914, ¥9 as of May 2015). These buses will also take you to the Museum however they go through local roads (no highway express like bus 306) therefore it will take slightly longer to arrive. Not a bad trip if you want to see some of the local area. Note: local bus 915 will take you to the museum site in about an hour as it takes the highway express too like the 306. The ride is not as comfortable as the 306 since the buses are often packed (with people even standing).
- Most hostels and hotels run tours to the warriors with an English speaking guide. These aren't necessarily better, be prepared to spend a good portion of the day (as with any Chinese tour) visiting "terracotta factories," "museums", "Chinese medicine shops", and other tourist traps. But, you will get to your destination without dealing with the bus (the warriors are quite far outside of town) and not all of the public buses that go there are legitimate.
Watch the taxi drivers in Xi'an as the industry is not regulated as it is in other larger cities. You may find yourself being taken on a long ride around town to get where you are going. It can also be difficult to convince them to take you anywhere (even to the railway station). If in doubt get your hotel or hostel to write down the place you want to go in Chinese. Between 3 and 5 o'clock in the afternoon the taxis change their shifts. This means the drivers are rushing to their handover points, so they won't pick you up even they are empty.
Trips within the city walls are generally around ¥10, longer trips to the attractions south of the city are ¥12-20. Especially when you take a longer ride, like to or from the airport, it is always good advice to insist on using the taxi meter.
The rate for the normal (green) taxis is ¥6 for the first 2 kilometer and then ¥1.5 for every additional kilometer. Waiting times longer than 2 minutes will be charged ¥1.5 per minute. After 11:00 PM the starting price is ¥7. At the airport and around some of the big hotels you might also find black taxis. They charge ¥2.4 per kilometer, but are more spacious and comfortable. There is a road fee of ¥10 for the Airport Expressway. This is not included in the price the taxi meter shows. So going to or coming from the airport is usually ¥10 more than what the meter shows.
Be careful when taking a cab to areas outside Xi'an proper, such as the Terracotta Warriors. Scamming taxi drivers will pretend that the road is "apparently under maintenance and only the local cabs know the rest of the road to the Terracotta Warriors." Don't believe them, and don't pay anyone anything until you are sure you are at your destination. (You can recognize the Terracotta Warriors site by how well it's built up, after passing through less built-up areas.) Be careful to reject stops you didn't request as the cab drivers earn a commission from bringing you such places. Thus, it is generally much safer and reliable to take the buses if you want to travel to the Terracotta Warriors.
Fortunately Xi'an's main sites (with the notable exception of the Terracotta Warriors) are bunched fairly close together. Be wary of the narrow streets and cars that squeeze you out of the way. Bike lanes are available on some streets, however, places to lock bikes, typically are not.
Shop in the Muslim Street
Kites Flying at XiAn street
Inside/Near the city
- City Wall of Xi'an (西安城墙; Xīānchéngqiáng), . As the world's largest city wall, the Xi'an city wall has been restored and is 12m high, 18m wide is its base, 15m wide on the top, 13.7km long, and bikes (also bikes for two or three persons) are provided for renting, now it's ￥45 per 120 minutes/bike (or ￥90 for 120/2-person-bike) plus a refundable deposit. You can hire one at the top of all gates; you may return it to other stations on the wall. Be aware that bikes will not be rented if there is any chance of rain, because the top of the wall becomes slippery. Check the weather forecast before you buy a ticket to enter the wall. If you want to foot it though, a complete loop of the walls takes 4-5 hours. The landscaped park around the base of the exterior walls and moat also makes for a pleasant stroll and gives a different perspective on the battlements and towers. The wall is lit up at night and makes for a pleasant stroll. The present city wall was built in the Ming dynasty(A.D.1368-A.D.1644) on the foundation of the Chang'an Imperial city wall of Tang dynasty(A.D.618-A.D.907). The Xi'an City Wall International Marathon is held each year in Nov. since 1993, running on top of the wall, athletes from amore than 50 countries and regions have participated in the competition during the last 16 sessions. Also, the Xi'an city wall Cycling Race are held on top of the wall since two years ago.
The entrance to Xi'an City Wall Museum,Xi'an,China
There is a small museum inside the city walls at Hanguang Gate, about halfway between the southwest corner and the South Gate, accessible from the top of the city wall itself. Look for a staircase down inside a covered structure. Inside are the unrestored remains of a gatehouse and a calligraphy collection. ¥54, ¥27 students (August 2014).
An inside view of Xi'an City Wall museum,Xi'an,China
- Xi'an Qujiang Museum Of Fine Arts (曲江艺术博物馆), No.66, Ci'en Road, Qujiang New District (B2 level of the Westin Hotel or enter from the east side of the building), . 09:00-17:00 (last entrance at 16:30). This museum is located at the south of the Big Goose Pagoda, in the same building as the Westin Hotel. It is one of the best private museums in China. The main hall exhibits ancient Chinese murals paintings throughout the ages, with over 80 pieces throughout different dynasties. The other gallery show Ming dynasty gold pieces that were exhibited in the Musée du Président Jacques Chirac in France and contemporary Chinese Jade sculptures that were exhibited in the UNESCO headquarters in Paris. This is a hidden gem of this city and should not be missed.
- Shaanxi Historic Museum (陕西历史博物馆; Shǎnxī Lìshǐbówùguǎn; also known as Shaanxi History Museum), xiaozhai, Xian,China (500m northwest to the Big wild goose pogoda), . This museum houses a collection of local artefacts that span the entirety of the province's history from the Neolithic through the Qing dynasty. In particular it contains fabulously well preserved pottery from nearby Banpo neolithic village (also worth a visit) and many excellent Shang Dynasty bronzes. Although some guidebooks call it "one of the best museums in China", its old fashioned pots-and-arrowheads-behind-glass format may appeal mainly to enthusiasts, though they also feature some well-made but glorifying high-definition movies in the exhibition halls. The most eye-catching articles are those from the Tang Dynasty, originally used by the royal family. Arrive either really early or before 1pm to get one of 4000 free tickets each day. Make sure to bring your passport, it's one ticket per id! Museum is limited to 6000 visitors per day to avoid overcrowding. It closes at 5 (July 2012).
the Nestorian Stele tablet
- Forest of Steles (碑林; Xīānbēilín), (Just inside the southern city wall, near the Wenchang Gate). This collection of 2,300 stone tablets (many written to provide an "official text" of the Chinese classics) and epitaphs is the largest and oldest of its kind in China. This includes the famous Nestorian Stele, dating back to the 7th century. It depicts the coming of Nestorian Christianity to China. The Nestorian Stele is in Showroom Number 2 and is the first stele on the left. ¥100, foreign student cards not accepted.
- Wolong Temple (卧龙寺), (One block North and East of the Forest of Steles museum). This active Buddhist temple dates back to 200BC. Recently restored, the temple is vibrant and busy.
- Giant Wild Goose Pagoda (大雁塔; Dàyàntǎ), (At Ci'en Temple, take bus 41 or 610 from the main train station). Built by Emperor Gaozong Li Zhi（高宗李治) in 652AD. Emblem of the city of Xi'an. In the fountain in front of the pagoda there is a very nice water and music show at various times during the day (incl 9pm summer/ 8:30pm winter) with pleasant parks and western eateries nearby. ¥50 to enter the temple complex, another ¥40 to enter the pagoda.
- Small Wild Goose Pagoda (小雁塔; Xiǎoyàntǎ), (At Jianfu Temple). Completed in 709AD. To enter you will have to buy a joint ticket with the adjoining Xi'an Museum ¥30, Jul 11 (Note that the ticket still states the old price of ¥50, however ¥30 is charged)..
- Bell Towers (钟楼; Zhōnglóu), (In the exact center of the city). ¥35 (or ¥50 including Drum Tower).
- Drum Tower (鼓楼; Gǔlóu), (Just to the northwest within the Muslim Quarter). Performances at 9:10, 10:00, 11:00, 15:00, 16:00 and 17:00. ¥27 (or ¥40 including Bell Tower).
- Grand Mosque (大清真寺; Qīngzhēnsì), (Behind Drum Tower). Built in a perfect mixture of Islamic and Chinese architecture styles with seating for 1,000 worshipers and the Muslim Street district (回民街 Huímín Jiē) around it. It is famous as the very first mosque ever to be built in China. It can be quite difficult to find through the winding back streets but is very well known to locals. Only Muslims are permitted entry to the actual mosque but there is plenty to see in the many accompanying courtyards. Ladies are asked to cover up with a scarf according to Muslim tradition. ¥25.
- Eight Immortals Temple (八仙庵; Bāxiān'ān). An active Daoist temple built for the famous Eight Immortals, including the Eight Immortals Bridge, lots of steles in the walls with text and illustrations, and multiple worship halls.
- DaMing Palace and Park. This is, first of all, a huge park with both green spaces and an enormous open square with an equally-impressive ancient palace gate (the palace is Tang dynasty, built in 634 AD). There's a model of the palace next to the gate. The square sometimes hosts public performances. The park even has an IMAX theatre. The park, gate and square are accessible for free. If you pay for admission, you can actually go into the partially restored palace ruins and other sections of the park protected by a moat. Worth seeing for the sheer size of it - it's a very surreal effect compared to the crowding in the rest of Xian. Immediately north of the railway station (though you have to go around using side streets, since there are railway tracks in the way). You can get there via line 2 大明宫西 (Da Ming Gong Xi) subway station exit C.
- Shaanxi Intangible Cultural Heritage Museum 陕西省非物质文化遗产陈列馆, No.279, Xiqi Road, Xi'an.. Folk arts from all Shaanxi areas are displayed here, depicting traditional local daily life. free.
Outside the city
- Army of Terracotta Warriors and Horses (兵马俑) (Bīngmăyŏng), 20km east of town, 2km west of the Qinshihuang Mausoleum ¥150, students with chinese student card ¥75 (includes access to the Qin ShiHuang Mausoleum) (Take bus 306 (7¥) 914 (8¥) or 915 (8¥) from the main train station just outside the North Gate (not the fast train station further north). These are very frequent, eg the 914 runs every 4 minutes and is clearly labelled on the side of the bus in English. Journey time is approximately 80 minutes. If you arrive from the airport, you can take the airport bus (26¥) for the train station. (Prices as of January 2014)). High Season hours (March 16th – November 14th): 8:30 – 17:30. Low Season hours (November 15th – March 15th): 8:30 – 17:00.
This mighty army of terracotta warriors and horses, found in three vaults, is perhaps the most popular tourist attraction of Shaanxi and one of the most popular in all of China, with over 2 million visitors per year. An in-site museum has been built over the three excavated pits, covering a floorspace of 20,000 square meters and displaying 2,000 life-like terracotta warriors (there are believed to be around 8,000 in total), 100 or so chariots, and 30,000 weapons. The assemblage has been billed by the tourist industry as the Eighth Wonder of the World and a world cultural heritage site by UNESCO in 1987.
the No. bronze chariot earthed from the terracotta warriors and horses excavation site.
If you arrive by public bus, you will likely have to cross the broad parking lot before catching sight of the many buildings connected to the site of the Terracotta Warriors and Horses. You will still have at least 10 minutes of walking and at least 2 gates to pass through before actually catching sight of the Terracotta Warriors, so be ready. After crossing the parking lot, you can find the main ticket office to the west (on your right when facing away from the main street the buses use to get in). Your ticket will be punched at the main entrance, easily visible west from the ticket counters. If you need the toilet after the long bus ride, wait (if you can) until you have bought your ticket and entered through the first gate. The toilets just inside are free, and much cleaner than those outside. The paths to the main pits squiggle up the mountain's gentle slope to the southwest. (It may seem as if you might just pass by something interesting on the way, but there's really nothing more than nicely tended trees.) If you follow any squiggling path (or just the crowds), you should arrive at the second gate, where your ticket will be punched again. (For another 10 yuan, you might be able to take a glorified golf cart from the ticket counter to the site of the pits, which could save you a few minutes of walking.) After passing through the gate, there are many buildings to enter and no obvious sign of a route to take, but if you continue ahead arrow-straight from the gate, you'll reach Pit 1, which is the main attraction. Pit 2 (slightly to the right of the entrance) features horses and chariots, but, perhaps disappointingly, it is not excavated (as of January 2014). Pit 3 is adjacent to Pit 1 and can be reached from the rear of the Pit 1 building. It has a few warriors and a couple of horses exhumed. The Exhibition Hall is in front of Pit 2 (to your right just as you enter the second gate) and features 2 fully excavated bronze chariots in full array. There is a small, reasonably priced coffee shop next to the exhibition hall. Upon exiting, back through the second gate, you can either avoid the hawkers with their clay figurines and jade knick-knacks by taking the squiggling paths back northeast to the main entrance, or exit through the auxiliary gate (directly west of the gate to the pits), and haggle your way to some deals on souvenirs and food. (Note: If you mistakenly go up hawkers' hill the first time instead of proceeding directly west to the main ticket gate, you may be able to enter through the auxiliary gate for 160 yuan, an extra 10 yuan charged by ticket resellers.) For those not interested in Chinese food, there is a KFC at the bottom of the hill. And if you see the KFC and head west, you can get (back) to the main ticket booth. The free gold shuttle buses to the Qin Mausoleum take boarders just north of the main ticket booth. A short distance away from the Terracotta Warriors is Qin ShiHuang's Mausoleum (see below), which is free to visit with the purchase of a Terracotta Warriors ticket.
terracotta warriors have their personal hairstyles.
- Qin ShiHuang Mausoleum (秦始皇陵), 2km east of the Terracotta Warriors. Admission is free with purchase of a Terracotta Warriors ticket. (Take one of the free gold shuttle buses from the Terracotta Warriors (just behind the ticket office). 4 minutes ride.). The rarely-visited mausoleum of Emperor Qin ShiHuang (for whom the terracotta warriors were built) is just 2km away from the warriors themselves, and admission is included as part of the price of the ticket to visit the Terracotta Warriors. The site is a large 24 square kilometer park which contains Qin ShiHuang's mausoleum (still buried underneath a hill) and a number of pits which are undergoing excavation, higher up the mountainside. It is believed that under the site of the mausoleum an exact replica of his empire has been re-created. Those looking to actually get inside the mausoleum mound may find themselves going in circles around a massive, square mudbrick wall which recedes into the mountain to the south. While no entrance is possible inside the burial mound itself (as of January 2014), the mound is climbable, if overgrown, with several well-worn paths to the summit. The park offers a welcome break from the busy crowds of the Terracotta Warriors and is a nice place to relax. There are cars that can take you around from pit to pit, but they are reserved for tour groups. Be sure to take an umbrella and/or sun cream on hot days as there is little shade. Much more walking is required to get to the very small excavation pits, compared with a visit to the Terracotta Warriors.
- Huaqing Palace (华清宫) (Huáqīnggōng), 6.8 km west of the Terracotta Warriors (bus 306,914,915, the same way to Army of Terracotta Warriors and Horses, 2 stops away from it), ☎ +86 18302976580 ([email protected]), . 8:00AM-6:00PM. Built by the Tang emperor Xuanzong near hot springs at the foot of Li Shan in Lintong County so he could frolic with his favoured Imperial Lady Yang to his heart's content. East to the museum of Imperial bath pool of Tang dynasty, it is the site of the Xi'an Incident, you can see Chiang Kai-shek's old residence. You can also climb the mountain li or take the nearby cable car (60 yuan return) to catch a Birdseye view of the area. It is possible to take hot baths inside, it takes you ¥200. The drama of "the song of everlasting sorrow" in the night is wonderful. As a tribute to the sensational romance between Emperor Xuanzong and Consort Yang, the performance recreates the memorable moments in the epic poem, "the Song of Everlasting Sorrow" written by Bai Juyi in the year 806. It also fuses the natural stage setting and As the visual story with elaborated dynastic costumes and splendid choreography. As a visual feast of history mixed with culture, nature mixed with performing art, tradition mixed with modernity, the heavenly realm mixed with reality, "the Song of Everlasting Sorrow" has been highly acclaimed by many visitors at home and abroad. The show ticket of central area is ¥300! The ticket of huaqing Palace is ¥150, ¥75 Student.
- Banpo Village Ruins （半坡遗址）. 6,000 year old ruins of a village site including the residential and pottery-making areas, ancient tools, as well as a burial ground. Take bus #42 from the train station. Visit also the Shaanxi Historic Museum to see the best examples of the pottery found at Banpo.
- Famen Temple (法门寺). This Buddhist temple, which records mention as far back as 67AD, contains a 13-storied brick pagoda as part of the monastery. This pagoda fell down in the rain in August 1981 and revealed a 1000 years old underground vault full with 2,400 treasures belonging to the Tang and previous dynasties given as offerings. These included gold and silver utensils, glazed wares, porcelains, pearls, precious stones and textiles, as well as religious items. The biggest treasure is a finger bone of Buddha offered to the Emperor of China during the Tang dynasty.
- Mao Ling Mausoleum （茂陵博物馆）. The tomb of the fifth emperor of the Han Dynasty, includes many stone carvings.
- Qian Ling Mausoleum （乾陵博物馆）. The only shared tomb of the first empress of China Wu Zetian, and her husband Emperor Gaozong of Tang Dynasty.
- Taiping National Park (太平国家公园), (44 km SW of Xi'an, N slope of Qinling Mountain). Famous for its waterfall and the largest area of wild Zijing flower (the city flower of Hong Kong) in north China.
- Xiangyu Forest Park (祥峪森林公园), (37 km S of Xi'an, N slope of Qinling Mountain).
- Huashan Mountain （华山), (About 2.5 hr outside of Xi'an, or 40 minutes by high-speed train. Xi'an high-speed rail station is about 30minutes away from the Bell Tower by cab and cab ride is about ¥35. It is also the last stop on Line 2 of the metro. Once arriving at the Huashan high-speed train station it is a quick taxi ride (¥20) to the mountain trailhead.). This is one of China's sacred mountains, you can climb steep stairs while holding on to chain railings for support. If you take the cable car up, you can climb around the four peaks in about 3-4 hours. There are two cable cars, one running to the North Peak from the East Gate (¥80/150 round trip) and another newer, more expensive, cable car which runs to the West Peak (nearer the summit/South Peak and "Plank Road in the Sky") - it costs ¥140 one-way, plus you'll have to take a shuttle bus to an unfinished hotel/restaurant/parking complex (¥40) and a taxi to/from Huashan bus/train station (¥20-30). If you want to walk up you have to go to another entrance, the Yu Quan Yuan (玉泉院) entrance. There are many tours that drive to the mountain, just be aware that half of the time you will be stopping for jewellery, Chinese medicine, etc. Worthwhile if you get a nice coach. For more information, see separate article on Huashan
- Tang Paradise (大唐芙蓉园) Tang Paradise is the largest tourist program in northwest China. It covers and area of 1,000 mu (about 165 acres) and was established with and investment of 1.2 billion yuan. Located to the north of the original Tang Dynasty Lotus Garden site, the present Tang Paradise is the first theme park fully demonstrating the charm and grandeur of the royal garden in Tang Dynasty. The Tang Paradise boats many new records: the largest movie on water screen in the world, the first theme park of five senses (sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell), the biggest outdoor fragrance project in the world and the biggest reproduction of the Tang royal garden comples in China. Ever since its opening to public on April 11, 2005, Tang Paradise has attracted people from different walks of life with its surprising charm, including some prominent political figures like Lian Zhan, Chairman of Kuomingtang from Taiwan. It has become a must see attraction in Xi’an. Entrance fees are ¥120 in peak season and ¥90 during the off season.
- Tomb of Emperor Jingdi (汉阳陵博物馆), . Han dynasty tomb (known locally as HanYangLing) containing 50,000 doll-sized terracotta figures. There are human figures (think small and naked version of the terracotta warriors) as well as a whole army-like formation of life-like animals (pigs, dogs, etc). The "Underground Museum" at the excavation site has a glass floor so that you can look down on the ongoing excavations and is definitely worth a visit (especially easy to do if done as part of a journey to or from the airport). There's a very unique holographic movie experience as part of the exhibit (no 3D glasses required, English and some other language translation available, ¥10). It's also worth getting a guide or following one around (note that English ones are more expensive than Chinese ones) because they will explain things in much more detail than the captions. Some people also climb up to the top of the burial mound (you can see a worn trail going up the side). If you cross the road you can see the Archaeological Exhibit Center (where some of the best figures are kept), a deer park (with actual live deer), and ruins of a "sacrifice temple" (not too impressive). The grounds around the mausoleum are nice to stroll in, with fragrant wild grasses and a rose garden next to the Arch. Ex. Center. It is possible to get to the site via tour or share a taxi (around ¥200 round-trip, not including waiting time). By public transit, take the subway to Shi Tushuguan; look for exit D; head up the stairs and when you exit, turn right - the bus stop for tourist bus #4 is directly in front of you (the stop is marked, but the bus may not be - asking for HanYangLing will confirm you are on the right bus; ¥2). Bus #4 starts from here at the following times: 08:30/09:30/10:30/12:00/13:30/15:00/16:00/17:00 and the tomb is the last stop. Be aware that the departure times from the Tomb are 9:30, 11:10, 12:50, 14:30, 16:10, 18:00 (as of June 18). Dec-Feb: ¥65, Mar-Nov: ¥90; students ¥33/45.
The painted female figures with modeled clothes
underground museum of Han Yangling Mausoleum
- Food and Souvenir Hunting at Muslim Quarter:, Huimin Street (回民街; Huímínjiē). The Muslim Street is a great place to wander. All shops and restaurants along the street are operated by local Chinese Muslims of the Hui minority. The stalls along the narrow alleys sell almost everything. If you are good at bargaining, you can get some small items of crafts at a really cheap price. A variety of street food and snacks can be tried here, including the locals' favorite ones, skewered beef, grilled fish, and pancakes. Food served is diverse, complex but very cheap.
- Walk the City Walls. Walk along the city walls and see the South Gate (南门; Nánmén), which is illuminated at night.
- Bike the City Walls. Open 8:00-22:00 at the South Gate.. Bicycling around the city walls will take about 2 hours. Bicycles can be rented on each of the four main gates for 120 minutes, ¥45 per person, and you can return it to any of the other stations. Remember to take your passport with you as a deposit for the bike that you rent, or ¥200. Make sure that you keep the deposit ticket, as the bike vendor will not give you the deposit back without it! Also - the bikes are generally relatively new and well maintained - however, check the tire pressure and whether the brakes work before choosing yours. You can also rent tandems for 80 Yuan for 100 minutes. You can also ride on a big golf cart around the wall if biking is not your thing.
- Tang Dynasty Dancing Show. The show reflects the prosperous Tang Dynasty right in its prime. It tells the love story of Emperor Ming of Tang and his concubine Yang Guifei. Highlights include the Tang Dynasty costumes, traditional Chinese musical instrument ensemble as well as outstanding casting of the storyline by dance. Music, poems and dancing are adapted from original Tang Dynasty art works.
- Take a Local Food Tour, ☎ 15692109030, . This is a good way to eat where locals really eat. Go far beyond Muslim Street to get the real stuff with a local English speaking guide to take care of everything. Food and drinks are included. 350.
Native English speakers can easily find jobs teaching English to children and adults, in schools and businesses, part-time and full-time.
Xi'an souvenirs include small copies of terracotta warriors, wood-carved Buddhas and dragons, Tang Tricolored Pottery, hand made paper cut (by many regarded as the most important arts form in Xi'an), all other kind of folk art and also fake western products.
- Terracotta Warriors (秦始皇兵马俑). If you are visiting the Terracotta Warriors, be prepared to meet some of the most hardcore hawkers you are likely to meet anywhere. If you keep quiet, they will usually bargain themselves down in front of you in desperate pleas for your money. A box of 15cm high Terracotta warriors cost ¥5-10 (if you're lucky) or ¥15-25 (more likely) even if they offer it to you for ¥45. Wood-carved Buddhas and Dragons for about the same. They are fortunately kept at a distance from the actual site. Many travelers report enjoying this experience. It is definitely not a reason to avoid seeing the Terracotta Warriors. The exit from the pit areas to the parking lot leads through long avenues lined with souvenir stalls and shops. The barkers will try to get your business, but are not as aggressive as the touts at the entrance or immediate exits.
- Bazaar Area, (Behind the Drum Tower in the Muslim Quarter around the Great Mosque). The best place to buy souvenirs in the city center is the bazaar area. The seller usually offers you a very high price, and even if you bring them down by 50%, they will still make a big profit. This is also a good place to buy folk art, specifically folk style block prints in a single shop which go for about ¥50 if you can stand bargaining when the older gentleman artist himself is standing right there. This area is also full of fake name-brand products like watches, bags, clothes. Bargain hard. Shop owners will typically sell such fake branded products to expatriates at three times the price they offer to Chinese people. For instance, a Louis Vuitton wallet going at 80 yuan will be touted to Westerners at 200 plus yuan. If your haggling skills are exceptional, you can bring down the price to a mere 30 yuan.
- Calligraphy Street （书院门步行街）, (Near South Gate inside the city wall towards the east, walking down South Street on the left side, continue to where the road splits in front of South Gate and turn left to find the entrance gate next to a small pagoda, midway do a slight dog leg to the right, at the far end is the Forest of Steles). This is another souvenir shopping area. Less hectic than the Muslim Quarter.
- Tang Tricolored Pottery Factory (唐朝三色陶器厂). Tang Tricolored Pottery is a style that was lost and has now been recreated from pieces of pottery found in tombs. It is graphic in image and eye-pleasing in color. The factory recreating the style offers over 100 varieties of items, like statues, animals and utensils.
Xi'an is a great place to buy clothes.
- East Street (Dong Dajie), (The eastern of the four big streets descending from the central Bell Tower). Has regular fashion shops.
- South Street (Nan Dajie). Has finer clothes and shoes, and is home to boutiques like Prada, Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Marc Jacobs.
- Baihui Market (百汇市场), (In Xiaozhai (小寨), ¥10 by taxi from the city center). Local youngsters shop here. It is one of those fake-brand markets. Sport shoes should be less than ¥150, pullovers and nice jeans sometimes less than ¥100, lots of cheap fashion accessories. This is also a great place for DVDs and CDs but understand these are mostly pirated copies.
- Kangfu Road, (Outside the east city wall, straight through the Northeast Gate). A great place for a bargain. Nothing is (bargained for) over ¥50 and most clothes can be bargained down to about ¥20 if you are really aggressive. But this place is full of poor quality stuff.
- Shida Lu. A trendy place to shop in a largely student populated area in the south of the city. Shida Lu has lots of hair salons, and clothing botiques.
- Century Ginwa. This luxury shopping mall has two locations in Xi'an. One downtown by the Drum Tower, the other in Gaoxing on Keji Lu.
Foreign Language Bookstore 外文书店
The best place to hunt down an English language novel or book is the Foreign Language Bookstore. Almost every major city in China has one these days, but don't expect to be overwhelmed by the fabulous selection of English books – whether in Xi'an or in any city in China. Expect to find a handful of popular novels and classic prose. You'll also find bucket loads of English language text books and dictionaries for studying purposes.
Add: 349 Dong Dajie, Xincheng District, Xi'an
Tel: 029 8721 9872?
Jiahui Hantang Book City 嘉汇汉唐书城
The largest bookstore in Xi'an, Book City has a fairly decent selection of imported English books. You'll find a wide range of books here, from educational ones, to classic novels, and modern literature to children's books. The place gets swamped with people at the weekends, so for a more pleasant browsing experience, come during a weekday.
Add: 111 Chang’an Zhonglu, Yanta District, Xi’an
Tel: 029 85219888
Opening times: 09:00-21:00
Xi'an Book Building 西安图书大厦
Another place worth checking out is the Xi'an Book Building, four floors of books as far as the eye can see. Though the vast majority of books are in the Chinese language, you will find a small selection of English books on the second floor. The building also houses a small audio and video section, as well as a café.
Add: 214 Jiefang Lu, Xi’an
Tel: 029 87416666
Opening hours: 09:00-21:00
Bell Tower Xinhua Bookstore 钟楼新华书店
Another very small English language book selection can be found at the Bell Tower Xinhua Bookstore. Unless you're nearby, your best bet for English books is still the Foreign Language Bookstore or even the Book City. However, if you're also looking for stationary, cards, wrapping paper etc. then it may be worth checking out and to trying to kill two birds with the one stone. Otherwise don't expect an English-language book Mecca here.
Add: 377 Dong Dajie, Xi'an
Tel: 029 8724 0844
Opening hours: 09:00-20:00
Xi'an specialties include:
- Yang Rou Pao Mo （羊肉泡馍） is one of the signature dishes of the area: it consists of a piece of thick, chewy bread and a kettle of mutton soup. The diner shreds the bread with his hands and places the shreds in a bowl, the soup is then poured over the shreds (along with meat, maybe some noodles or scallion, etc.) The trick is to shred the bread into pieces that are "as small as possible". Most first-timers will shred their bread in pieces that are too large. In some restaurants, they have already shredded the bread for you. It is normally also served with pickled garlic and chili. If you don't like mutton, some restaurants also offer a beef (niu rou) version. Tong Sheng Xiang Restaurant and the Lao Mi Jia are recommended.
- Biang Biang Mian is a local specialty noodle dish that is extremely good. The wide noodles are spiced, have a broth, and include toppings such as eggs, tomatoes, beef, etc. The character for "biang" isn't yet possible to type into a computer, but look for a complex character with about 57 strokes repeated twice before "面". A popular chain has a red sign with white characters, and includes the face of the "Noodle King".
- Rou Jia Mo 肉夹馍 is the closest thing to a hamburger. This is a local tradition and should be very easy to locate. Sandwich-like, with pork, beef or lamb, this is a must-try item for anyone who is in this area.
- Xiao long bao-zi 小笼包子 are basket-steamed dumplings (one basket ¥3), common as a midnight snack. Look for its big brother "Da bao-zi" only available first thing in the mornings, like a steamed cornish pastie, but very nice.
- Guan Tang bao-zi 灌汤包子 are steamed buns served with sauces inside.
- Shi Zi Bing 柿子饼 are buns made from persimmons, stuffed with something (e.g. black sesame paste), and deep-fried, so they're quite sticky-sweet. You can find many sellers in the Muslim Quarter, and they are only ¥1 each!
- Lu dou gao 绿豆糕 are literally green bean cakes (come in small cubes), but they're more moist than you may find elsewhere and also come with a variety of mixings (e.g. sesame). Half a Jin should be about six cubes and cost about ¥5 at a cart in the Muslim Quarter.
- Liang pi 凉皮/米皮/面皮 are essentially the same. It's a kind of noodle steamed from ground rice (although it can be prepared from "washed" flour) with a little bit of vegetable toppings typically bean sprouts and sliced carrots. This dish usually goes with Cai dou fu --- a kind of rice soup with tofu in it. This dish comes from Hanzhou, an ancient and beautiful city south to Xi'an, and is considered a healthy diet.
Some good places to look for restaurants are:
- The Muslim Quarter close to the Drum Tower is a vibrant area with many restaurants spilling out onto the street and mixing with the street sellers. If you're looking for snacks, this area is also full of people selling dried fruit (especially dates) and nuts/seeds (sunflower, melon, pumpkin, etc.) Prices are per Jin (500 g) and are pretty much standardized throughout the area, so you can't really bargain unless you're buying a lot. Watch out for the pits in the jujube!
- Street food (mostly sold after sunset, or some near night clubs/bars after 11:00 PM) presents a variety of local/regional dishes, ranging from noodle soups, dumplings, hot pot, and so on by tens of little food vendors on street side, each with a red lamp. There are a few roads running perpendicular to the Muslim Quarter road that have a larger variety of streetside food (at cheaper prices because these roads are harder to access). As streetside stores are nearly a model of perfect competition, look out for food sold at significantly higher prices, yet maintain a long queue as these are likely to be tastier. For instance, some vendors may unscrupulously sell beef mixed with lamb and pass the meat off as pure lamb meat to cut their cost, however those who sell real lamb meat usually charge a higher price.
A good way if you do not want the expensive hotel food or just want to try real Chinese cuisine, is to simply go into a small restaurant and point to a dish somebody else is having and you will get a meal for less than ¥10 (seldom ¥20) per person.
A good street for eating is Xiyang Shi running east-west near the mosque in the Muslim quarter. However, be warned that the food that is sold may have been exposed to heat and sun for a longer period of time without cooling, so particularly meat, fish or egg products may cause trouble to Western stomachs that are not accustomed to this.
- Wen Xin Jiaozi Guan (温馨饺子馆), 123 Xushimiao Street (Next to the Good World Hotel, off of Lian Hu Lu). A good cheap place for jiaozi (Chinese dumplings). There is no menu, but endless supplies of fresh jiaozi of many flavors. From ¥4-5 a bowl.
- Lao Sun Jia, G/F Dong Dajie. Has fantastic yangrou paomo which is very cheap but flavoursome. No English spoken but easy to communicate with sign language! At this time you can only find a mound of fresh rubble at the original site of the restaurant, also as currently wrongly indicated in GoogleMaps as a duplicate site. The right place of the two indicated is the one at NW position. The new site is very near to the original place, diagonal on the other side of the intersection. Look for a modern new building with a big signpost.
McDonalds, Pizza Hut, KFC or its Chinese brother, Dicos, are widely available within city walls for a change from the daily Chinese cuisine. There are also three Starbucks within a 5-minute walk of the Bell Tower.
- Caprice Restaurant + Bar (卡佩斯西餐厅), 11B Diamond Peninsula, Corner of Yan Nan 3rd Road and Furong West Road, Qujiang District (曲江新区雁南三路钻石半岛11B, 雁南三路芙蓉西路十字路口西南角) (Take the 500 bus, get off 1 stop past the Big Wild Goose Pagoda (大雁塔）at the Starbucks and walk east 500m), ☎ +86 29 89136510, . 11AM-10PM. An upbeat restaurant designed like a Chicago-style steakhouse that has pretty authentic Italian and British pub food. For those only wanting drinks there is an Los Angeles-style lounge where they specialize in cocktails. Good portion size and popular with the local expats. If you go during lunch or in the early evenings you can chat with the Canadian owners for traveling tips. $8-16 per person www.capricexian.com (34.20545,108.97000)
- Green Molly Restaurant & Pub (绿茉莉), (200m north of Ginwa Shopping Center on the intersection of Gaoxin Road and Keji Road (西安市高新区高科大厦副楼一层 (世纪金花商场后门向北200米路东))It is BEHIND the GAOKE building.), ☎ +86 29 81883339. 10AM-11PM. A restaurant where you can indulge in the tastes of home, whether that be in the U.S., Europe or even Mexico. The restaurant owns only the second authentic pizza oven in Xi'an. Downstairs, the first and only real pub in Xi'an has a wide selection of beverages ranging from imported beers to wine and delicious cocktails.
- Small World Cafe (Jianguomen 建国门), Huancheng Nanlu Dongduan 90# (Outside Jian Guo Gate （建国门外）). 11:00AM-10:30PM. Run by a Dutch woman. Great European cafe feel. Good food. Pizza, salad, fried chicken and real cake. From the windows, one could see busy Huancheng Nanlu (环城南路)，while it is really quiet inside.
- Small World Cafe (Dayanta 大雁塔), Ynataxilu 雁塔西路 (Southeast to Big Goose Pagoda （大雁塔东南角）). 10:30AM-10:30PM. Run by a Dutch woman. Great European cafe feel. Good food. Pizza, salad, fried chicken and real cake. Out of the north windows, one could see Big Goose Pagoda.
- Delhi Darbar (新德里餐厅), Dayanta West Road (雁塔区大唐通易坊东头路北) (Directly west of the Big Goose Pagoda on a street full of upscale bars and restaurants). Authentic North Indian food run by a wonderful Indian manager. Service is good, food is devinely delicious, and prices are very affordable. Mango Lassi for only ¥15 is a must have. Average meal price is about ¥40 per person. Highly Recommended.
- Village Cafe. A nice urban cafe on Shi Da Lu that offers burgers, steaks, and all sorts of drinks and desserts. From ¥30-60 per person.
- 5 Senses (中国元素), (Lobby level in the Westin Hotel across the street from the Big Goose Pagoda), ☎ +86-(0)29-6568-6568 x7656. Modern Shaanxi style cuisine that emphasizes on ingredients, presentation and originality. The restaurant also serves cantonese style dim sum by a chef who worked in Hong Kong. The restaurant has a very sleek design that is unlike your average Chinese hotel restaurant.
- Mai (舞亚洲餐厅), (One floor below ground in the Westin Hotel across the street from the Wild Goose Pagoda), ☎ “+86-(0)29-6568-6568. Immerse yourself in the culture and flavors of contemporary Japanese cuisine, including sushi, sashimi, and teppanyaki stations at this stylish restaurant. The restaurant offers an all-you-can-eat menu that is excellent value
- La Seine, Nandajie (南大街) (Near Bell Tower). French style restaurant.
- Tang Paradise Hotel, (Near the Wild Goose Pagoda in the Qujiang Resort of Xi'an). Dinner Show in a large 165 acres theme park. The charm lies in that all the buildings in the park are built in the luxurious style of the Tang Dynasty. The best time to visit is at night when most of the shows, including fireworks and dances, are performed.
- Village Cafe (32 Shi Da Lu, opposite of Bank of China). If you miss your burger, this is the place to go.
Night clubs in Xi'an are not abundant. All clubs play the same music, a mix of Chinese disco and some pop music. Most people go out between 10PM and 1AM, but clubs are generally open until 4AM.
Be mentally prepared to be aggressively approached by club operators desperate for patrons.
In summer time, the area around South Gate (南门) is beautiful. East of it are three nice bars with terraces and gardens.
Along the short Nandajie (南大街) are the most clubs (you can also eat on the street as there are restaurants open past midnight).
- MIX, (Big light ad). Rather nice places to sit and drink.
- Palando. Rather nice place to sit and drink.
- Dance floor, some foreigners and OK-DJs.
Other options include:
To get started on a Friday or Saturday night you can have some drinks in one of the bars in "De Fu Xiang" street. There are around 10 bars next to each other. If you are coming in from the south gate, just enter Xiangzimiao street westwards. The street will take a right turn, then you can see the first bars.
In case you are heading from the north (Bell Tower), you enter Fenxiang street to the west and turn left into DeFuXiang street (there is a chinese "gate" at the entrance of the street.
1+1 ("一加一;), Dongdajie (东大街) (In the middle of the street). Remains one of the most popular clubs and definitely the most popular amongst foreigners. The club has 2 dance floors: first floor is mostly J-pop music, second floor is mostly hip-hop. There is a relaxed open air bar on the 5th floor which has live music every night.
- Mix Bar, The Westin Hotel Lobby floor ("Across). Trendy bar that has an unbeatable view of the Wild Goose Pagoda. Good mix of beer selection and cocktails. There is a pool table for people to play. They show major international sporting events on their big projector.
- De Fu Lou Cafe & Bar (De Fu Lou Paulaner Bar), De Fu Xiang Street. In Bar Street (De Fu Xiang), one of the first bars ever to open in Xi'an and a favourite hangout for locals. Live football on the big screen and live music every night.
- Salsa (莎莎; Shasha), 7F, Parkson building, No.107 West Street. Is probably the most popular club. This club is your best bet on Fridays and Saturdays however yi-jia-yi is more consistent during the week. The dance floor, while smaller than yi-jia-yi's, is usually less crowded, so you have a bit more room to dance. Be careful if your group is mainly non-chinese as they sometimes decide to limit the number of foreigners allowed in.
- Off-road Tea Bar, Jiefang Road (800 m S direct to Xi'an Railway Station). Has been checked by Google Business. Here, one could enjoy the fresh green tea in Southern Shaanxi and could meet local cycling and trekking lover.
- Havana Bar, Renmin Square (In Sofitel Hotel). Has a Colombian band and makes good cocktails. It's not your average Buena Vista Social Club, though: they play loud music inbetween band performances and the band plays a wide array of pop and salsa. This location is more of a club than an actual latin bar.
- The Belgian Bar, 69 Shun Cheng Nan Lu Dong Duan (150m east inside the South Gate), ☎ 13201672369, . The first and only Belgian bar in Xi'an. Friendly pub atmosphere and huge range of beers. Popular with expats and locals. Awesome location facing onto the city wall.
- Vice Versa, Wen Chang Men (Wen Chang Gate) (Beilin History Museum (Beilin Bo wu guan)), ☎ 151 092 72480, . 3PM-5AM. Vice Versa is a cultural mix of east and west, found in one of the older districts of Xi'an. With a relaxed cafe/restaurant open during the day, a lively bar serving a mix of western and asian beers/cocktails at night, and a crowd of expats and Xi'an locals. Has a skate shop on the third floor, run by Converse pro-skater Xiao Jian. Located next to the front gate of the Forest of Steles History Museum, next to the city wall at Wen Chang Gate, you can call Mike at 151 092 72480 if you get lost.
- The Steakhouse by Sheraton North City (牛排馆, 西安赛瑞喜来登大酒店（城北）), 32 Wei Yang Road, Sheraton North City Hotel (2nd floor of Sheraton North City Hotel), ☎ 8886 6888 x8760. 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM; 6:00 PM - 10:00 PM. The first western steakhouse in Xian managed by Sheraton North hotel. Fancy fine-dining restaurant with the wide options of international meat.
- Near Wall Bar, 40 West Section of Shuncheng South Road (Just west of South Gate inside the city wall). The only brewpub in Xi'an, brews several Western style craft beers. Happy hour until 21:30. Nice peaceful spot under the walls in the early evening; gets busy later
As with most Chinese cities several cheap run down hotels can be found near the train station. There are a few decent ones inside the city walls on Jiefang Road going directly south from train station. Bargaining is possible especially if you are staying for more than one night. Expect to pay under ¥100 for a single room as getting a room for as low as ¥30 is possible.
- 7 Sages Bell Tower Youth Hostel (西安七贤钟楼青年旅舍), NO.87, Juhuayuan, East St, Beilin District Xi'an, Shaanxi 710004 China, ☎ 7 Sages Bell Tower Youth Hostel +86 2987519115, .
- Xi'an Qixian (7 Sages) Youth Hostel (西安七贤国际青年旅舍), North Courtyard 2 of QiXianZhuang,BeiXin Street,Xi'an,China Xi'an, Shaanxi 710004 China, ☎ +86 2987444087, . http://www.7sageshostel.com/ 90CNY.
There are at least six international youth hostels right in the center of the city, easy to find.
Booking on the Internet will usually save you money, prices start around ¥15.
- Travelling With Hostel (Xi’an Railway Station) An Yuan Men Metro Station, 4F, No. 9 North of Main Street Xi'an, Shaanxi 710014 China, . Travelling With Hostel An Yuan Men Metro Station is formerly called Xi'an Green Forest Hotel. Guests can choose to stay at lively dormitory room or stay at cozy double or twin rooms and enjoy private space. From 100 RMB.
- So Young City Center Hostel Huiya Tianmu Shop (西安书院青旅汇亚天幕店), No.138 Xiyi Road South New Street Xincheng District Xi'an Xi'an, Shaanxi 710002 China, ☎ +86 2982065999, . checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00. So Young City Center Hostel is located in the Beilin neighborhood in Xi'an, 400 m from Muslim Street and 1.4 km from Drum Tower. Free WiFi is available throughout the property and free private parking is available on site. A flat-screen TV is featured. You will find a 24-hour front desk at the property. Bell Tower is 1.4 km from So Young City Center Hostel Huiya T, and Xi'an City Wall is 1.8 km away. The nearest airport is Xi'an Xianyang International Airport, 27.4 km from So Young City Center Hostel Huiya Tianmu Shop. 90CNY.
- Bob's Guesthouse, 85 Huan Cheng Bei Lu Rd (just outside the city walls, a short walk from the train station), . Doubles with en-suite bathroom for ¥100; dorms from ¥25 (summer 2006).
- Duolamaer Gallery International Youth Hostel, 7 Shuncheng Ave, Zhuque Gate (10 m from South Gate), ☎ +86 15129032007, . Duolamaer is a painting-themed hostel providing a vibrant accommodation for independent travellers who require basic but clean living facilities. It is run by a bunch of arts enthusiasts, who give that place a creative and aesthetic atmosphere.
- Hq Guesthouse, Hong Cheng Guoji Gong Yu, Xihuamen Shizi, 西安市, 陕西省, 710003, ☎ +86 13149250037, . Small but cozy setup in a brand new apartment complex located by the Muslim Quarter in Xi'an. Free pickup, free internet. 1 bedroom apartments from ¥300..
- Ibis Hotel, 59, Heping Rd, ☎ +86 2987275555. Part of Accor Group. Very basic facilities. Free broadband internet access. From ¥199.
- Ludao Binguan, 80 Xi Ba Lu （西八路）, ☎ +86 29 87420308 (fax: +86 29 82101222). A nicer-than-average hotel and hostel. Dorm rooms are between ¥25-50, depending on the season. Reasonably nice hotel room for around ¥75.
- Shuyuan International Youth Hostel, Xi Nanmen, ☎ +86 29 87287720 (fax: +86 29 87287721), . Excellent location just next to the South Gate. 8 people dorm from ¥35/night. There is an excellent pub under the hostel, and a very nice coffee house. Perfect place to hang out, surf internet, just 10 minute walk from Drum Tower and the magical moslim snack street! Updated: 09.02.2012
- Han Tang Inn Youth Hostel, 7 S Long Alley (""On), ☎ +86 29 87231126, +86 29 87287772, . The hostel is in a 4 floor building down a alley near the Bell Tower. Rates range from ¥30-160; doubles with ensuite bathroom costs ¥120/night (as of Jun 2010). The hostel includes a bar on the 4th floor with TV, pool table, movies and 3 guitars. Free computer use for internet in the lobby. wifi in the rest of the building is iffy but you can ask for an Ethernet cable. The staff run lots of events (e.g. a dumpling party) each wee. Have a partner, Shuyuan Hostel, near the South Gate.
- Warriors International Youth Hostel, No.98 Bei Ma Dao Xiang (Across the street from the West Wall, North from the main West Gate and South of the Lama Temple). Great budget option, in a quiet spot along the inside of the West City Wall. Opened April 2012 - facilities are clean, spacious, and comfortable. Staff are young, friendly, have a good grip on English. Free train station pickup, A/C, Wifi, computer use, and one beer/coffee ticket. Train 103 within easy walking distance to/from train station. Dorms posted as ¥50, book online through a 3rd party for ¥35/night.
- Citadines Central, 36 Zhubashi Rd (2-min walk from the Drum Tower), ☎ +86 29 85761188. Walking distance from attractions such as city wall, Muslim Street, bell and drum towers, this western-styled apartment is popular with both locals and foreigners. Apartments are clean and spacious, comes with kitchen and free WIFI. Sofa bed is a big plus. Don't miss the night view of the bell and drum towers from the rooftop garden.
- Citadines Gaoxin Xi'an, No 13, Gaoxin Si Rd, Hi-Tech Zone, ☎ +86 29 8843-7888 ([email protected]), . This residence in the centre of the Hi-Tech Development Zone offers 251 apartments that are fitted with a kitchen, home entertainment system, ensuite bathroom, and broadband internet access.
- Xi'an Central Serviced Apartments, Xihuamen Shizi, ☎ +86 15829031947. Xian central serviced apartments are more than 100 sq m. Spacious, newly furnished, clean and about 1 min walk to the Muslim Quarter. Free PC and internet in every apartment. Provide free use of mobile phone for guests to use while out exploring the city
- Qindao Business Hotel (西安秦道商务酒店), 100 Nan Guang Ji Jie (It is along Xi Dajie across from the Parkson Shopping Center and entrance to the Muslim Quarter), ☎ +86 29 87615888. Free internet and cable TV in the rooms. Travel office and public computer available in the lobby. Complimentary breakfast at 4th floor restaurant of mediocre quality, but their regular menu items are quite good and the view from the balcony is great. Laundry service: 2 day turnaround ¥10/item. Beware of the massage place on the 7th floor. It is nasty. ¥286 for a double room (2 people) and up.
- Grand Mercure (西安豪华美居人民大厦), 319 Dongxin St (Grounds of Renmin Sq), ☎ +86 29 87928888 ([email protected]), . A heritage hotel of 202 rooms, 21 suites, first opened in 1957 and reflects the Sino Russian style of architecture.
- Mercure (西安美居人民大厦), 319 Dongxin St (Frounds of Renmin Sq), ☎ +86 29 87928888 ([email protected]), . A heritage hotel of 113 rooms, first opened in 1957 and reflects the Sino Russian style of architecture. From ¥594.
- Nanlin International Hotel, ☎ +86 29 87216000, . Nanlin International Hotel is a four star hotel located in Xincheng District. 3 km from Xi'an Railway Station and 40 km from Xianyang International Airport. Air-con room equipped with cable TV and free high-speed Internet access. Best rates on official website start at ¥287+.
- Warriors Apartments, Bldg B, Hongcity International Apartments, No.15 Xihuamen St, ☎ +86 13519197819 ([email protected]), . Family run, boutique apartment hotel. Qin-styled accommodations with 40 life-size warriors in the three apartments. Each apartment has terracotta warriors and has 1 or 2 bedrooms, bathroom, dining area, color TV, bed quilts, oven, full kitchen facilities and broadband internet access.
- Westin Xi'an (西安威斯汀酒店), 66 Ci'en Road (慈恩路), Qujiang New District (across the street from the Big Goose Pagoda), ☎ +86 29 6568 6568, . A unique hotel with a focus on art and design. The hotel is situated in a bustling district with parks, restaurants and shops, and is across the street from the UNESCO World Heritage site the Big Goose Pagoda. The Qujiang Museum of Fine Arts  is located in the B2 level and guests staying with the hotel can visit for free. The hotel has three restaurants: Chinese, Western Buffet and Japanese. The hotel bar Mix Bar has amazing views of the Pagoda.
- Howard Johnson Ginwa Plaza Hotel (金花豪生國際大酒店)), 18 West Section, Huancheng S Rd (60 min from Xi'an International Airport and 15 min from Railway station). 2 tall modern architectural buildings are separated by a spacious and bright lobby. Opened in 2003 with 324 rooms.
- Golden Flower Hotel. Very popular 5 star hotel, 5 min taxi ride from the Bell tower. Luxury, large rooms with views. Swimming pool, spa, 3 restaurants, lobby bar and shops.
- Sheraton Hotel, 262 Feng Hao E Rd, ☎ +86 29 84261888. The location of this hotel is not a good choice for tourists, because it is far from the scenic spot of the city. However, it is near the freeway and the airport.
- Garden Hotel, 40 Yanyin Rd, Yanta District, ☎ +86 21 61226688, ext 7800, . Four-star hotel with a stunning imperial-inspired facade and 292 beautifully appointed rooms. Facilities include conference and banquet venues, three restaurants, and an indoor swimming pool.
- Kempinski Hotel, 6 West Section, Euro-Asia Ave, Chanba Ecological District (30 min from Xi'an Int'l Airport), ☎ "+86, . The official site of the Euro-Asia Economic Forum. A leading luxury hotel in town with fascinating river view and extensive conference facilities.
- Xi'an Jiaotong University The best in Shaanxi province, and one of the top universities in China.
- Chang'an University(长安大学) Directly under the administration of Ministry of Education, Chang'an University is one of the State "211 Project" key development universities. It was merged by the former Xi'an Highway University, Xi'an Engineering Institute and Northwest Institute of Construction Engineering in 2000. Chang’an University is located in the historical and cultural city of Xi'an and covers nearly 3,000 acres.
- Northwest A&F University（西北农林科技大学）
- Northwestern Polytechnical University（西北工业大学）
- Xi'an Electronic and Science University(西安电子科技大学)
- Northwest University of Politics and Law(NWUPL)(西北政法大学)
- Xi'an Medical University(西安医学院)
- Xi'an International University(西安外事学院）
- Xi'an International Studies University(西安外国语大学)
- International House Xi'an, Zi Li Bldg, 3 Rongxin Rd, Yanta Disrict, ☎ +86 88462831 ([email protected]), . 08:00-17:00. Private language school. Provides business Mandarin, Standard Mandarin, intensive Mandarin lessons as well as teaching and internship placements in Xi'an. (34.226616,108.909883)
Many foreign residents are now residing in Xi'an with many of them now calling it home. One organisation which is set up to give information for foreigners arriving in Xi'an as both tourists and workers is 'I love Xian' . There are also publications for expats living in the city such as Xianease magazine and Xi'an Grooves which both disperse regular information about events within the expat community.
All of these can be contacted for information in reference to what is currently happening in the city.
Xi'an is, like other Chinese cities, generally quite safe. Just watch out for pickpockets in crowds.
Pickpockets are more common during holidays. Pickpocketing is more likely to happen on the bus, in the East Street (the most properous commercial street in Xi'an), and some of the more crowded resorts like the North Square of the Giant wild goose pagoda where there is a fountain show every night.
Keep an eye on your camera, and basically all stuff you don't want to lose.
There are also a lot of people asking for your money and beggars.
Look at the Beijing#Cope notes as they apply to Xi'an, too. The air quality here is better than most Chinese cities during spring, summer and autumn, but winter in the region can be dusty and high pollution. Most importantly, take paper tissue with you to toilets.
Generally, Western style accommodation will have western toilets, whereas the very inexpensive guest house (zhao dai suo) will usually have squat toilets. If you need to use western toilets, learn to plan your day accordingly. Major tourist attractions will have western toilets.
If you arrive in Xi'an by train, try not to be overwhelmed when you exit Xi'an's train station. There are usually aggressive hotel touts looking for customers. Just insist that you already have a place to stay and tell them no, with a serious faced, 不要！ / Bú yào！
It is a good idea to leave your bags at the left luggage office and then go into town to look for accommodation. This way you will not be overwhelmed by the burden of carrying your heavy bags or luggage around.
- Chen Lu Pottery. 2.5-3hours drive north of Xi'an, this community of potters has been producing pottery since the Tang dynasty and is well worth the look if pottery is your thing, private transportation recommended. Winter is not a good time to visit here due to its location in the deep mountain, if there's a snow fall the icy snow covered road makes trouble. The Yaozhouyao Kiln Museum locates on the way from Xi'an to Chenlu Town, about 90km north of Xi'an, on the western side of the older road, not the high way. Articles here in 9 exhibition halls depicts the development of the Yaozhou procelain, which reaches its highest level during the Song Dynasty(960A.D.-1279), ranked first in Northern China for its beautiful celadon porcelain. The excavation sites of the original kiln lies 500m north of the museum, you could walk there, which is also well preserved.
celadon produced in Yaozhouyao kiln
celadon produced in Yaozhouyao kiln
- Hu Kou Waterfall (壶口瀑布 Húkǒu Pùbù). Located 150 km north of Xi'an, private transportation recommended; can be combined with a day trip to Huang Di Mausoleum. If arriving by public transportation, take note that as of 2008 there was only one bus returning to Xi'an from the waterfall. It departs around 10AM and must be flagged down as it does not stop.
- Huashan National Park. Approximately 2 hours by train or bus east of Xi'an. Huashan is a 2000 metre mountain with spectacular views. It is possible to take the 2-3 hour (6 km) walk up or take the 10 minute cable car for ¥70. Though the cable car often has lines lasting 2 hours. It is best to go for sun rise on the East peak. Take plenty of warm clothing for when the sun goes down. Basic accommodation is available, but can be quite pricey. Guesthouses with dormitory style lodging are available on the mountain.
- The Daqin Pagoda (Mandarin Chinese: 大秦塔 Pinyin: Dàqíntă "Roman tower" 大秦寺 Pinyin: Dàqínsì "Roman temple"), the oldest known church building in China, is approximately 62 km west-southwest from Xian city centre. It's in Zhouzhi county (周至县 zhouzhi xian) and close to Tayu village (塔峪村 tayucun), approximately 1.5 km West of Louguantai Daoist temple (楼观台寺）. The coordinates are approximately 34 03'32.92" N 108 18'26.19" E.. It was built in 635 AD by Nestorian (Assyrian Church of the East) Christian missionaries who had come from Persia through Central Asia, Xinjiang and Gansu provinces via the silk road to Chang'an (modern day Xian, Shaanxi province) during the Tang dynasty. The site includes a replica of the Nestorian Steele, the original of which has been moved to the Xian Beilin Museum (The Forest of Steeles) and the site also includes a small exhibition room with information about the pagoda's Christian history and some information about Nestorian Christianity in China. The pagoda fell out of use as a Christian building after several centuries, as Nestorian Christianity lost adherents in China, and after some time was taken over by Buddhists. Today it is used by Buddhist monks as a monastery and a Buddhist shrine / temple. Half of the premises around the pagoda is used by the Buddhist monks and the other half is made up of historical monuments to Nestorian Christianity. Unless you make special arrangements before going there, you may only be able to see the bottom floor of the pagoda, which is now filled with an array of Buddhist statues. There are several floors in the pagoda which could only be reached with ladders or other climbing equipment. These floors contain paintings and sculptures depicting various Christian scenes. The exhibition room may also be locked unless you check beforehand.
To get there, go to Xian City Bus Station (西安汽车站）, also known as the Xi'an Long-distance bus station （市长途汽车站） or Shuisi bus station（水司汽车站） just outside the city wall on the southwest edge of city. It is close to the corner of Fengqing road (丰庆路） and the Western Ring road （城西路）. The entrance is in a smaller side street called Jiejiacun road (解家村路）, which is about 300 metres west from the Fengqing lu / Western ring road intersection.
At this bus station take the bus which is going to Louguan （楼观）. Buses are quite frequent and the last buses for the day are around 5:30-6:00pm to and from Louguan.
Some buses take 1-2 hours and some take 2-3 hours. The quicker buses go down the expressways the longer ones drive through the countryside through many small villages stopping frequently to let passengers on and off, before finally arriving at the carpark of Louguantai (楼观台） which is a famous Daoist temple complex. You can confirm with the driver that you are going to the Louguantai carpark; if you can't speak Chinese, show him the Chinese characters. When you arrive at the carpark you should be at the corner of 108 Provincial road (S108 or 108 Sheng Dao) and 220 County road (220 Xian Dao). At this corner there will likely be some taxis waiting nearby some people selling snacks and refreshments. You should also see a small police station opposite this corner, next to a small supermarket. Ask one of the local taxi drivers to show you the way. You may have to negotiate a price without using the meter. The pagoda is approximately 2 km south west of this corner. The taxi driver should drive about 1 kilometre westwards on the S108, then turn left into tayucun road (塔峪村路). He should drive up the hill, and pass 2 or 3 bunches of small houses, before driving up a dirt (or mud) road before stopping. From here you will have to hike up the hill, which takes about 10 mins through some muddy footpaths past some corn fields and up onto the side of the hill where you will find the pagoda.
- Pingyao Ancient Town: Also a walled city, but in smaller scale. Very touristy, specially during the high season. Approximately 7-8 hours by bus which departs at 9:30AM from the bus station inside the wall directly south of the main railway station. This bus will not go into Pingyao but instead drop passengers of at the toll gate exiting the expressway. From there it is around 3km into the town, which you can wait for another bus (may take over an hour) or negotiate with drivers (non-marked taxis) that will be waiting there - they will start at 30 RMB but haggle given the short distan. There are also overnight trains heading to Pingyao from Xian - book ahead as they will get booked quickly.
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