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!

An entire army - every soldier is unique!

An entire army – every soldier is unique!

Here it goes – our journey to Xi’an (西安), in a nutshell.

We took an early morning flight from Beijing to Xi’an – and after a cool 2 hours ride on a brand new Boing 787 (thank you, Hainan airlines) we arrived to the small yet welcoming airport of Xi’an.
Then we took a 1 hour taxi drive to the guesthouse (see here) and it cost around 90 RMB, make sure the driver turns on the meter – if he doesn’t, tell him ‘Dǎ biǎo!’, it means ‘use meter’.
 
Once we got to the guesthouse we dropped off our luggage and set out to see the famous ‘Terracotta Warriors’.
True vision

True vision

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).

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Everywhere you’ll find something to buy. Remember the limited space you have:) and the long day ahead of you!

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!).

At the entrance a guide approached us and asked if we want to hire her services – she asked for 150RMB, we refused politely and bought the tickets (150 each) and before going inside another guide approached asking for 100, 33% less! But still we decided not to take him, because we thought it’s not necessary.
Well it’s not necessary but I actually do recommend taking a guide, because it’s very important to understand the magnitude of the story behind the place! (Read here).
 

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.

The great emperor

The great emperor

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).

The reason I recommend the old town is that the transportation is good, the food is traditional and usually tasty(ier) and you will experience the place better, plus it will give you a good feeling roaming around these old streets, I can’t explain it, but you’ll see.
 
My impression from Xi’an is that it’s a really laid back place, good ‘old timer’ people but as can be expected very touristic, so watch out from those tourist traps! It’s better to book things like trips etc via the guesthouse, plus you meet cool people along the way:)
 
From Xi’an we took a flight to Guilin – the post is coming soon!
Have a good one!
 
Didn’t take too many photos in Xi’an, but check it out:

Adam Disatnik

I have been living in China since early 2013 in the great Beijing. I try to travel as much as I can and try to understand the culture and the habits as much as possible. It's amazing how much can be learned about China, and about life, while living abroad in a totally different country than the one you grew up in. I love it! Catch up on my blog to try and understand along with me:) Adam.

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