Xi’an was one of my favorite destinations and I place I highly recommend to anyone touring China. You can read more about my journey here. These are top rated hotels in Xi’an that are also convenient to all the major attractions such as the Drum and Bell Towers, the Mosque, City Wall and so on, also they are highly suitable for foreign visitors. For the Terracotta Warriors, no matter which hotel, you’ll need to organise transport, for which the concierge at these hotels will be able to assist.
My first time on a train in China was on the overnight trip from Xian to Beijing. China has many different classes of train and this one was the ‘Z’ train. This Z train (the Z20) was no old rattler, it was near new modern, clean and very comfortable train!
Apparently it’s wise to buy train tickets in advance so I did so a couple of days ahead of leaving Xian and had no trouble getting a ticket. There are two places to buy train tickets in Xian, either at the main train station which is just outside the city wall on the north side towards the east or go to a small little booking window which is on the side wall of the ICBC bank in the main center of Xian. At the time the lady at this office also spoke english.
It’s a crazy name that just peaks the imagination and leaves you wondering exactly what you are in for, but the Big Wild Goose Pagoda is a must visit on the Xi’an tour. So what is it exactly?
A pagoda is a tiered temple commonly used throughout Asia as places of worship. The name “Big Wild Goose” refers to legend having that this was the place were a goose fell from the sky into the hands of hungry monks, believing it was a blessing from the gods they so named the temple.
The site is quite special to those of Buddhist faith being a place where the original Sanskrit sutras, collected during a years long pilgrimage of many countries by the monk Xuanzang, were translated into Chinese.
The Terracotta Warriors and Horses really is one of the wonders of the world (actually, it’s officially the 8th world wonder). You couldn’t say that this site was a must visit on a trip to Xi’an as it possible the reason that many people come to China in the first place.
To date, more than 8,000 soldiers and 10,000 bronze weapons have been revealed at the mausoleum of Emperor Qin Shihuang. Amazingly there is still so much that has yet to be excavated including the actual emperor’s tomb which many speculate to hold untold treasure and ancient wonder.
Built during the Qing dynasty, it remains the largest mosque in China covering over 12,000 sqm. While it is a popular tourist attraction it is also still a place of worship particularly for Chinese Hui Muslims.
It’s such a fascinating city that not only holds the very birthplace of the Chinese civilization and having a continuous history of over 3000 years, it also holds a long-running co-existence of Hui Muslim culture and Han Chinese culture. It was the first city in China to be introduced to Islam in 651.
The Muslim Quarter is perhaps one of my favorite places in the city, vibrant and full of life. Traders line the streets with the stalls hawking super fresh and high-quality fruits and vegetables.
Stupidly, I hadn’t booked a hotel when I went to Xi’an and by the time I got on the bus from the airport I was starting to get a little nervous. Fortunately, as I got off the bus in the center of Xi’an it stops right out the front of the Melody Hotel. I walked straight in and booked a room, probably paying twice what I would have had I booked via the net….
The hotel is quite conveniently located right in the center of the city and it’s straight across the road from the Drum Tower, walking distance to the Mosque and the markets, walking distance to the Bell Tower and much more. Whilst it’s not sparkling new by any means, the rooms are comfortable, clean and many have great views towards the Drum Tower.
Look at any half-serious planned tour of China and the city of Xi’an will be on the list of destinations, and for good reason. It’s a city that has a depth of historical attractions rivaling that of Beijing, and many believe the jewel in Xi’an’s list of attractions is still yet to be revealed.
When I arrived I stepped straight of the airport shuttle bus and more or less straight in the door of the Melody Hotel, when I got up to the room and took a look out the window I realised I was in a special place. Straight ahead out my window was a massive public square, and a massive Drum Tower, looking to the right I could see a large Bell Tower. Not many cities offer that in the first five minutes of arrival!
I really wanted to make this trip via train, but it seemed difficult to book a ticket on short notice, plus the extremely helpfull staff at the Traffic Hotel in Chengdu where pretty keen to suggest the plane was going to be the best option.
So the flight was booked, with the cheapest option at that time being via China Southeast Airlines (China Southern).
Chengdu Airport isn’t huge but it sure gets busy. I booked a private car to take me straight to the airport, it seemed like simple no fuss way to go and it was comparitively cheap. I remember walking into the airport and just being daunted by the sight of so many rows of people, and how many people there was in each row lining up to check-in.