At the Terracotta Army, Xi'an
The guides trolling the TerraCotta Warriors are usually not the recommended guides. Do not get a guide here.
Unique Suggestions: Make sure they are licensed. Make the guides show you their certification. A real certification will have an electronic card that looks like a SIM card on the back.
Fun Alternatives: Get a guide beforehand -- that is a must! I have two recommendations: I used Emma from http://www.emmastours.com. She is fantastic and the most personable guide I had in all of Asia. She really runs a good company. Another recommendation is to use Allen from TripAdvisor -- his review are good as well.
The important thing is to be prepared.
It's nice to hire a local guide, who gives you good information. They charge from 80 to 100 RMBs (Yuans), equivalent to USD 15 (Mar 2009). It is not much and you help the locals.
BUT let the guide know, from the beginning, that you don't need to be taken to the site's souvenir shops! Or simply dismiss the guide before entering them. "Their you-have-to-buy-something behaviour" is quite annoying.
If you are on a package tour.. The guide may bring you to a shop where they sell teracotta warriors. Never buy from that shop as it is just a place to fool tourist. Instead, buy it near the teracotta warrior sites or even from street vendors. It is considerably cheaper. For example, I was kind of infuriated when I bought a Teracotta warrior for 40Y a piece. On the other hand, my father bought the whole pice with 4 statues for 10Y from a hawker. Sometimes, you don't have to go 'official' stores when in China. Support the poorer local population instead.
Unique Suggestions: Simply don't buy anything unless you have too much to spare. Remember, the roadside vendors needs the money more that they are. At least, try to suggest to the guides that there is no point going to such places.
In the gift shop/movie theater one of the farmers that supposedly unearthed this site in 1974 sometimes sits and lets photos be taken of him for a fee. We saw him but declined this tourist opportunity.
Unique Suggestions: It was fun to watch him in action!
...there is another warring army...
Your guide will probably warn you...
Hundreds, I said hundreds, of people wanting to sell you anything.
These are not normal solicitors but they assail you, and they will not let you pass.
They push you, and touch you, and show you things 5 centimeters away from your face.
The only way to free yourself is to hardly push them away. Don't be polite because the will not be with you.
It is not a nice experience
...and beware of pickpockets...
This is the Mausoleum of Emperor QingShihHuang of Chin Dynasty. The entrance is RMB25.
According to the tour guide here, the Terracotta Warriors is just 1/600 means the entire Mausoleum on Emperor is as big as 600 but the size of the Terracotta Warriors is just 1 out of the 600, more stories but I couldn't remember.
Do not buy your terracotta statues on the market. Yes they are very cheap but they will not survive the trip back to the hotel let alone the trip back home.
Far better to buy in the factory shop where they are better quality and they can also be shipped home.