Xi’an in a nutshell
Xi’an, a mixture between the new and the old, between ancient and modern.
When you first get to Xi’an, it looks a little bit like an industrial city – you will see huge chimneys puffing their white smoke out to the open and a lot of big old and grey living copmounds, but don’t let that put you off, i promise that what follows is worth it!
Here it goes – our journey to Xi’an (西安), in a nutshell.
We had some issues planning the trip and we arrived after the guesthouse tour had already left, but we just took the bus – was perfectly fine and efficient! (Note that the bus ticket is 7 RMB, don’t go if they tell you otherwise, although I really think they will not try to scam).
Once we got to the Terracota area, we were overwhelmed by the number of small shops (mostly market like) but we decided to go inside without buying anything (yet!).
We spent one day at Xi’an – and it’s not enough at all! I recommend spending at least 2 days there. Half a day at the Terracota and one and a half days at the city itself checking it out, and if you’re not really short on time – take even 3 days and relax a little bit.
I’m sure there are many things we have missed in Xi’an, luckily for us we have friends there so we got to see ‘the square of big goose’ and ‘Great Tang all day mall’ area which is beautiful! It’s an amazing mixture between the old and the new -the buildings are old looking (newly built but old style) with all modern stores as well as many small market like shops and Asia’s biggest fountain! Don’t miss it, and check before you go – try to get a true feel of the place.
There’s also the Bell Tower and its twin brother the Drum Tower (they are very close) – beautiful and ancient (both of them were built at around 1380).
Accommodations – recommended to book a guest house in the old town within the city walls, because you can usually book nice and reasonably priced tours via guest houses, unlike hotels which are more distant (feeling wise).