"The city with the Terracotta Warriors."
Xi’an was a welcome change of scenery after visiting Shanghai but also slightly underwhelming in comparison to Hangzhou. Nevertheless, the city perfectly combined traditional Chinese architecture with a modern city vibe.
Things to see and do:
Many websites and guide books will advise you to do an array of things in the city which I found to be quite disappointing, and therefore I will only list my personal favourites.
The Terracotta Warriors and Horses-
- The Terracotta Warriors and Horses are an absolute must do in China as they are quite a marvel.
- The ticket price is 150 RMB which in comparison to other attractions is quite dear.
- You can either book a tour through your hotel or hostel or get there yourself.
- Booking a tour can be quite pricey, but getting there yourself is relatively cheap.
- Getting there-
- Head to Xi’an Railway Station and walk to the bus terminal (if you’re facing the station, head to the right of it, you will see the buses).
- Get onto bus number 306 to the Terracotta Warriors. It is the last stop, so stay on until they kick you off. There are many stops enroute, but just stay on until the end. Cost of bus 7 RMB
- Just do the same journey on your return. Cost of return bus 8 RMB (You’re in the middle of nowhere, so a 1 RMB inflation cost is understandable as they know that you will have no other choice)
This place has one of the best markets that I have ever seen and the food here is delicious. You will find a variety of stores and stalls selling tasty cooked food, raw meat, herbs and spices and dead animal carcasses hanging from the shops roofs. There is also an indoor market called Hua Jue Xiang Antique Market that sells clothes, bags, accessories and souvenirs which is pretty fun to browse.
Just be aware of the many cars, cyclists and motorcyclists who will also fight to get down the same road as you whilst you browse the stalls and eat your delicious street food.
Wild Goose Pagoda
A nice place for a walk. You can view the Pagoda during the day or go in the evening to watch the light show.
I decided to board another 15 hour overnight train on a ‘hard seat’ to Xi’an and ended up sitting next to one of the loveliest Chinese girls that I have ever met. She not only shared her food with me on the train and offered to refill my water bottle but she also helped me to find a cheap train ticket to Chengdu. Her name was Wu Xiu and upon arriving at the station, she took me to the ticket office, ordered my ticket to Chengdu and insisted on walking me to my bus stop so that I wouldn’t get lost. She was just so incredibly lovely, we ended up exchanging numbers and continue to chat even though I have now departed Xi’an.
I was also incredibly fortunate to spend my birthday in Xi’an with two travellers that I had met in Beijing who made it rather memorable with their good humour, comical personalities, kindness and generosity. It really was a blast!