One of the most visited cities in china has an amazing mix of old and new, the streets are perfectly manicured and people generally have a smile on their face. The beautiful wall surrounding the city is its crowning jewel, something you don’t want to miss whilst in China. Xi’an is also the perfect place to start a trip along the old Silk Road trail.
Things To Do:
The terracotta warriors draws thousands of visitors each month, and is one of China’s most visited attractions. There are over 6,000 (not all on display) of these individually hand crafted statues, they are all life size and each one is slightly different.
Take the 306 bus from the south eastern corner of the railway station, you’ll see a red flag and a line of people to indicate the bus stop. It costs ¥7 each way. When you get there (you’ll know when to get off), cross the road and work your way through the restaurant street and towards the car park, entrance tickets cost ¥90 during low season and ¥150 during peak season.
The city Wall also attracts large numbers of visitors, the city has since expanded well past the wall but the original structure is well maintained and has been fully restored to its former glory for tourists and locals to enjoy.
There are two ways to enjoy the walls, the first is to climb to the top and either walk or cycle the perimeter. Tickets cost ¥54 per person (or ¥40 during a national holiday) and a full loop is around 9 miles.
Your other option is to walk through the beautiful and relaxing park that surrounds the wall, it’s free and there is a lot more shade to shield you from the intense summer sun.
Where To Eat:
China has been one of our favourite places for street food, in fact we haven’t eaten indoors for a few weeks now!
The Muslim market behind the Drum tower was one of our favourite markets so far. Make sure to try the biang biang noodles (basically just pasta) which are local to the Xi’an region. You’ll know when you find them because you will hear the bang bang from them being made, hence the name.
There are shuttle buses to and from the airport right up till 2am, if you arrive between 2am and 5am you will need to take a taxi, we were just past the walled city and paid ¥180. The journey took around 1 hour with zero traffic.
The railway station it at the north east corner of the walled city, its walking distance for most backpackers but if you have a big suitcase a taxi may be better.
The Xi’an council are busy building a huge subway system around the city, there is currently only 1 line running north to south but expect more routes to be opened soon.
Where To Stay:
I’ve never written a bad hotel review on my blog, rather than be negative I prefer to just leave this section blank, however I must strongly advise you NOT to stay at the You Rui Inn.
We were relocated by Hotels.com to the Skytel which was a really nice hotel, but not budget by any means (thank goodness we didn’t need to pay for it! It’s around £55 per night) and in the perfect location just steps away from the main South Gate and the bell tower.
We visited Xi’an for a second time, on our way from Jiayuguan to Beijing and we stayed at the Jinyuan Furun hotel, finally a hotel I was happy with, it cost £25 for one night and even though that’s slightly higher than our usual budget the location was perfect, (and Xi’an is generally a little bit more expensive anyway). The sign is all in Chinese so make sure you look at a photo of the outside before you arrive.