Featured - Shaanxi

Welcome to Xi’an China + Top Ten Attractions/Hotels/Food/Transport

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!

the Drum Tower

The list of attractions in the city goes on and on, including the Drum Tower, The Bell Towerthe Grand Mosque, ancient City Walls, the Wild Goose Pagoda and this is just within minutes of the city centre. Just outside the city there’s the Huaqing Hot Springs and then there’s the reason why most come here, the Emperor Qinshihuang’s Terracotta Warriors

One section of Terracotta Army

For me, the most impressive feature of this city is that there are just so many things to see, and it’s all so easy to see. Xi’an isn’t a big bustling metropolis like Beijing, so it’s quite easy to get around if you’re staying within the city center.

the Grand Mosque


Top Ten Things to Eat in Xi’an



1. Flatbread in mutton soup (yangrou paomo 泡馍)
2. Kabob (chuan’er 烤串儿)
3. Pomegranate juice (shiliuzhi 石榴汁)
4. Chinese hamburger (roujiamo 肉夾饃)
5. Cold noodles (liangpi 凉皮)
6. Persimmon Cake (柿子饼)
7. Hot and sour soup dumpling (suantang shuijiao 酸汤水饺)
8. Biangbiang noodles (油泼扯面)
9. Glutinous rice and date cake (zenggao 甑糕)
10. Soupy dumpling (tangbao 汤包子)



Top Ten Must see attractions in Xi’an


1.Terracotta Army (兵马俑)
Admission: 110 yuan (includes Qin Shi Huang Mausoleum, Museum of Qin Terracotta Army, Museum of Terracotta Acrobatics, Museum of Terracotta Civil Officials and Museum of Stone Armor)
Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (March 16 to Nov. 14); 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Nov. 14 to March 15)
Website: http://www.bmy.com.cn/template/gzb/index_en.aspx

2. Qin Shi Huang Mausoleum (秦始皇陵)
Admission: 110 yuan (includes mausoleum, Museum of Qin Terracotta Army, Museum of Terracotta Acrobatics, Museum of Terracotta Civil Officials and Museum of Stone Armor)
Hours: 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

3. Huaqing Hot Springs (Huaqing Palace) (华清池)
Address: 38 Huaqing Road
Admission: 40 yuan (December to February); 70 yuan (March to November)
Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Website: http://www.hqc.cn/en/index.asp

4. Big Wild Goose Pagoda (大雁塔)
Admission: 50 yuan entrance fee; 30 yuan to climb pagoda Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Website: http://www.xiandayanta.com/english/egindex.htm

5. Daming Palace Site (大明宫国家遗址公园)
Address: 78 Xuanwu Road
Admission: 60 yuan
Website: http://english.dmgyz.com/

6. Xi’an cuisine (品尝西安美食)
The noodles and dumplings are not to be missed! Local cooking methods include frying, sauteing, braising and frequent use of salt, vinegar, capsicum, and garlic. Popular local snacks include Yang Rou Pao Mo, Rou Jia Mo, and Cold Rice Noodles, see the top 10 eats in Xi’an further below.

7. City Wall (城墙)
Admission: 40 yuan
Hours: 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. (spring and summer); 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. (fall and winter)
Website: http://www.xacitywall.com/english.htm

8. Tang Paradise (大唐芙蓉园)
Address: 99 Furong West Road, Qujiang New District
Admission: 90 yuan (March to November); 68 yuan (December to February)
Hours: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Website: http://www.tangparadise.cn/en/index.php

9. Bell and Drum Towers (钟鼓楼)
Admission: 27 yuan each, or 40 yuan for a joint ticket
Hours: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. (April to October); 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (November to March)
Website: http://www.xazgl.com/ewzjj.asp

10. Forest of Stone Steles Museum (Xi’an Beilin Museum) (碑林博物馆)
Address: 15 Sanxue Street
Admission: 45 yuan (March to November); 30 yuan (December to February)
Hours: 8 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. (March to November, last entry 6 p.m.); 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (December to February, last entry 5:15 p.m.)


Xi’an Attractions and top ten places to stay

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Transport in Xi’an


Xian Xianyang International Airport is 47km (29 miles) to the northwest of Xian city center. It handles international and domestic flights. There are 15 airport shuttle bus lines running from the airport and the journey takes a bit over an hour, visit the ticket center on the 1st floor of T3 to choose the correct bus.

The city is a major rail hub and has three stations being
Xian Railway Station which supports the slower T, K, Z type trains and overnight sleeper trains
North Railway Station which supports High Speed Rail services via D and G type trains
South Railway Station which supports K type trains

My suggestion is to always try to use the HSR services from North Station as they are modern and fast. It might be romantic to travel by overnight train and ‘save’ money on a hotel, but it’s unlikely that you’ll get any sleep. But, by all means, give it a try if you are inclined to experience that kind of rail journey. It’s always best to buy tickets in advance as much as possible as they do sell out.

You can easily buy tickets within the city at:
Drum Tower West Square 鼓楼西广场 – No. 55, West Street 08:30 ~ 19:30
Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Xiaozhai Branch 中国工商银行小寨支行 – No. 96, Middle Chang’an Road 09:00 ~ 16:30

There are 13 Tourist bus lines that travel to all the major outlying attractions. There is also a double-decker urban tourist line that travels around the city center.

The Urban Tourist bus which covers all the attractions in the city center has a north and south line, both departing from the Grand Park Xian Hotel.

Tourist buses to outlying attractions

Xian Bus 306 – Tourist Bus Line 5 to Terracotta Army Museum
Route: East Square of Xian Railway Station – Terracotta Army Museum
Main Stops: Polytechnic University – University of Science and Technology – Nursing Home of Xinjiang Military Area – Nursing Home of Land Forces – Cableway of the Lishan Mountain – Huaqing Hot Springs – Lintong Museum
Ticket Fare: CNY2-7
Operating Time: 07:00 – 19:00 every 10 to 30 minutes from the railway station; 08:10 – 19:00 from Terracotta Army
Duration: 70 minutes

Tourist Bus to Mt. Huashan
Departs from East Square of Xian Railway Station.
Ticket Fare: CNY39.5 one way; CNY66.5 return (valid for 3 days)
Duration: 1.5 hours
Operating Hours: 06:30 – 19:00

Tourist Line 4
Route: Public Library – Yangling Mausoleum of Han Dynasty
Main Stops: Zhangjiabu – City Sports Park
Ticket Fare: CNY2
Operating Time: from the library: 08:30, 10:20, 12:00, 13:40, 15:20 and 17:00; from the mausoleum: 09:30, 11:10, 12:50, 14:30, 16:10 and 18:00
Duration: 40 minutes

Tourist Line 6
Route: Big Wild Goose Pagoda – Tangyuan
Main Stops: Guanyin Temple – Tielu Temple – Qinglong Temple – Qujiang Campus of the University of Technology – Qujiang Eco Garden – Northwest Women & Children Hospital – Qujiang Management Committee
Ticket Fare: CNY2
Operating Time: 7:00 – 19:30

Tourist Line 7
Route: Xian Railway Station – Vocational and Technical College
Main Stops: Xincheng Square / Shaanxi Provincial People’s Government – Bell Tower – South Gate – Small Wild Goose Pagoda – Xian Museum – Shaanxi Provincial Stadium – Talent Market – Xidian University – International University
Ticket Fare: CNY2
Operating Time: 07:00 – 19:30

Tourist Line 8 (No. 610)
Route: Yuejiazhai Public Transport Hub – Zhaocun Village East
Main Stops: Xian Railway Station – Revolutionary Park – Bell Tower – Drum Tower – Zhuque Gate – Small Wild Goose Pagoda – Chang’an Overpass / Conservatory of Music – Shaanxi History Museum – Big Wild Goose Pagoda – Tang Paradise – Qujiang Ocean Park
Ticket Fare: CNY1-2
Operating Time: 06:30 – 19:30

Tourist Line 9 (No. 320)
Route: North Jinhua Road – Qinling Zoological Park
Main Stops: Huzhu Road Overpass – SAGA Computer City – Big Wild Goose Pagoda – Shaanxi Provincial Shooting Gallery – International Conference Center – TV Tower – Northwest University of Politics & Law – Institute of Post & Telecommunications – United University
Ticket Fare: CNY1-4
Operating Time: 06:00 – 20:00 from North Jinhua Road; 06:00 – 19:30 from the zoo

Tourist Line 10
Route: Weihe River Electric Power Plant – East Railway Station
Main Stops: City Sports Park – Zhangjiabu – Fengcheng 5th Road – Public Library – Yahe Garden – North Gate – Xian Railway Station – Wonderful Mall
Ticket Fare: CNY0.5-5
Operating Time: 06:20 – 19:30

Tourist Line to Yangxian County
Ticket Fare: CNY 70
Duration: 3 hours
Operating Hours: From Xian Bus Station of Shaanxi: 07:30, 09:40, 10:30, 11:30, 12:30, 13:30, 15:30, 16:30, 18:00; from Yangxian County Bus Station: 09:10, 10:30, 11:50, 12:50, 14:10, 15:40.

Tourist Line to Taibai Mountain
Ticket Fare: CNY 37.5
Duration: 1 hour 40 minutes
Operating Hours: 08:00 – 18:00

Xian Tourist BusTourist Line to Ma Wei Yi Folk Village
Ticket Fare: CNY 17.5
Duration: 1 hour
Operating Hours: 06:30, 07:00, 07:30, 08:00, 08:30, 09:00, 10:00, 10:30, 11:00, 11:30, 12:00, 12:30, 13:00, 13:30, 14:00, 14:30, 15:00, 16:00, 16:30, 17:00

Tourist Line to Zhashui Karst Cave
Ticket Fare: CNY 33.5
Duration: 2 hours
Operating Hours: 07:30, 09:00, 10:00, 11:30, 12:30, 14:00, 15:00, 16:30, 17:30, 18:30

Tourist Line to Dihua Ancient Town
Ticket Fare: CNY 51
Duration: 2.5 hours
Operating Hours: 07:30 – 18:00 with the frequency of 60 minutes

Mountain Tourist Line 1
Route: North Square of Big Wild Goose Pagoda – Lou Guan Tai Forest Park
Main Stops: Qinling Zoo – Fengyukou Valley – Xiangyu Forest Park – Hutai Grape Base – Taiping National Forest Park – Golden Dragon Valley – Zhuque National Forest Park – Fortune God Cultural Zone – Qinling Botanical Garden
Ticket Fare: CNY2-12
Operating Time: 8:30 – 11:00 from Big Wild Goose Pagoda; 13:30 – 17:30 from Lou Guan Tai Forest Park
Duration: 1 hour and 50 minutes

Mountain Tourist Line 2
Route: North Square of Big Wild Goose Pagoda – Hongzhai
Main Stops: Baolongyu Valley – Zhixiang Temple – Land Force Institute of PLA – South Wutai Mountain – Mt. Cuihua – Dayukou Valley
Ticket Fare: CNY2-9
Operating Time: 8:00 – 17:00 from Big Wild Goose Pagoda; 10:00 – 15:00 from Hongzhai

Flagfall is CNY8.5 which includes the first 3 kilometers (1.9 miles) add CNY2 for every extra kilometer (about 0.6 mile) after that. Add 50% empty return fee if the journey is more than 12 kilometers (around 7.5 miles).

Example costs from downtown:
To Xian North Railway Station: CNY50-60
To Xianyang International Airport: CNY120-130 and CNY150 at night
To Terracotta Warriors: around CNY150;


Metro (subway)

Xian 2018 Metro Map



Useful websites for planning Xi’an trip

Official Xi’an Tourism website
Xi’an at travelchinaguide.com
Xi’an at WikiTravel.org
Top 15 Hotels in Xian



backstreets of Xi’an


4 Comments on “Welcome to Xi’an China + Top Ten Attractions/Hotels/Food/Transport

  1. One thing also to mention is Xi’an food. Xi’an is the home of the dumpling and a Dumpling Banquet is a must do. In the Muslim Quarter Yang Rou Pao Mo, a mutton soup into which you break nan bread. Nan breads stuffed with meat are popular too and there are so many more wonderfully delicious dishes.

  2. What are the things that a traveler must see on a visit to Xian? My wife and small child will go there soon for 2 days. Thank you in advance for your suggestions.

    1. At a minimum you must see the Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses, plus the Wild Goose Pagoda. If you are staying within the city walls it will also be easy to check out the Muslim Quarter and Grand Mosque, the Drum and Bell Towers and enjoy some great foods including a dumpling feast maybe…

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