Xi'an Travel Guide

  • Xi'an
    by Slapshot1
  • Xi'an
    by Jareotto
  • Tang Dynasty Show - Shaanxi Opera
    Tang Dynasty Show - Shaanxi Opera
    by al2401

Xi'an Highlights

  • Pro
    DSwede profile photo

    DSwede says…

     Muslim quarter, foods and traditions give a wonderful mix to the local culture. 

  • Con
    Paul2001 profile photo

    Paul2001 says…

     Maybe too Modern at the expense of its past. Pollution. 

  • In a nutshell
    DSwede profile photo

    DSwede says…

     The Tarracotta Warriors bring the people, but they should stay for the Muslim Quarters! 

Xi'an Things to Do

See all 556 Things to Do in Xi'an
  • Terracotta Army

    Qin Terra Cotta Warriors are one of China’s rare historical relics excavated today and enjoy the fame of the world. They were crafted 2,200 years ago during the Qing Dynasty and can now be viewed inside some parts of Emperor Qin Shi Huang's mausoleum. Most of the works are soldier and horse figures. In the spring of 1974, when some peasants were...

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  • Muslim Quarters

    Take your time in this area. The bazaar is a wide area of stalls selling… everything, but around it, China pulses with its best colours and events. The streets and walkways are full of life, and if you can support some odd smells (Fernanda complained a little) it’s something you shouldn’t miss.

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  • City Wall

    It's fundamental to climb the city wall, and to walk on it. It's easy to feel its importance in the defense of the city, and the challenge it would mean to those who tried to cross it with their primitive resources. Though the balloons and some decoration are recent (I don't know if matching any tradition), it's remarkable the aesthetics they...

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  • Wild Goose Pagodas

    Not exactly a simple temple, but a wide complex with temples, pagodas and gardens. A detailed visit will take lots of time. If you don’t worry too much about the function and history of each construction, then a couple of hours will do, but be prepared to meander around, or you will take a rather basic idea of the whole. The most impressive...

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  • Drum and Bell Tower

    In the centre of the old city, and marking the entrance to the Muslim quarter, there is a beautiful tower, very similar to its neighbour – the Bell Tower. The main difference is that instead of bells it has large drums all around it. We had no opportunity to assist a drum performance, but, no doubt, with that size and quantity it shall be a hell...

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  • Museums

    This museum is a grave. The dug mausoleum of Emperor Liu Qi is fundamental to understand the more outstanding terracotta warriors. In the dark corridors, we can see lots of small dolls, buried with the emperor, and, according to the tradition, representing people to serve him. The small step from dolls to actual size figures was only a matter of...

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Xi'an Hotels

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Xi'an Restaurants

  • Muslim Quarters

    An unique experience. Each customer will be given two pieces of hard bread and an empty bowl. You tear the bread into small pieces and place them into the bowl. Then you bring the bowl to the kitchen window and they will fill it up with a hot broth.

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  • Jia San

    A famous local type of soup dumpling (baozi), the Jia San bao, can be eaten here at this restaurant in the Muslim Quarters. The filling is made of lamb and contains soup. Very delicious and a must-eat while you are in Xi'an. Lamb soup dumplings

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  • De Fa Zhang Jiaozi Shop

    Personally I think it is way too expensive. Anyway it is nice to try it once and tell the world that I have tried the dumpling banquet in Xian. We have the dumpling downstairs where the locals eat since they are a lot nicer and cheaper.

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Xi'an Nightlife

See all 37 Nightlife in Xi'an
  • The Tang Dynasty

    The Tang Dynasty dinner and show should not be missed while in Xi'an. The food was tasty (six course meal served with rice wine) and the dances are mesmerizing. The show starts a few minutes after dinner. It was a mixture of dancing and acrobatics, and beautiful colors. Smart casual

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  • Beautiful show in Xi'an

    The Tang Dynasty dinner and show should not be missed while in Xi'an. The food was tasty (six course meal served with rice wine) and the dances are mesmerizing. The show starts a few minutes after dinner. It was a mixture of dancing and acrobatics, and beautiful colors. Smart casual

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  • Something different

    The Tang Dynasty Theater features music and dance from that era (618-907 A.D.) It had elaborate costumes, music that was a bit strange to western ears, and a few old instruments I’d never seen. I’m told it is authentic, and it was certainly fun. They have dinner shows, or you can just attend the performance.

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Xi'an Transportation

  • Train

    There are new fast trains up and running - really they are super fast trains....went on my first today with a trip to Luoyang which has historically taken 4 hours by usual train. Today we went at speeds showing up to 297 kilometres per hour! and we did the trip in only 1 and a half hours. This is brilliant for day trips such as our purpose today...

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  • Xi'an Airport

    The airport is 47 km from Xian city centre and there's a very convenient airport bus that goes there from outside the Melody Hotel which is opposite the Drum Tower in the city centre. The bus costs RMB27, takes about an hour or so and runs between 6am and 6pm.

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  • Taxis

    The easiest way around Xian other than your feet are the numerous green and blue colored taxis. They are cheap and easily flagged down. Just have the hotel concierge write down in chinese where it is you want to go.

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Xi'an Shopping

See all 41 Shopping in Xi'an
  • Nice to See

    Don’t skip the shopping area in the Wild Goose Pagoda. More than a shop, it looks like a museum, and allows different angles to see the site. The prices… well, that I skipped, but, being in a monument...!

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  • All at Once

    Right inside Xi’an, the visited factory (I couldn’t read its name) is clearly tourist oriented. In a single pass you may see the work in most Chinese crafts, from silk to wood, and… buy them.Or to check the qualities and prices to buy elsewhere.

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  • Language is no Barrier

    On the 14th day of August 2007, it took place in Xi'an an extraordinary assembly of the Women International Organization in China, with the following plan of work:1 - A pair of pantsAfter 6 hours of useful discussion, it was possible to reach an agreement, approved by 64% of the votes. The final document will be written in the next weeks.Note: The...

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Xi'an Local Customs

  • Medicine

    I've been sick in China once and went to a Chinese medicine shop. They doctor told me to open my mouth and asked the nurse what it looked like- he was pretty much blind. Then he prescribed some herbs to mix and make Chinese Medicinal Tea with. It tasted like arse but did the trick.

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  • Board Games

    I don´t know if I should call it as a 'cultural tip' because you won´t go Xi´An to play chess. No, I don´t mean the game what the Westerner play but Chinese Chess. Once I saw a group of men standing on the street and they stared on the floor. I am curious so I was interested to find out what they were looking for... I went near to them and then I...

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  • Getting a coffee fix in Xi'an

    Even though its said coffee is grown in Yunnan and that coffee from there is great stuff ,coffee is a fairly expensive commodity wherever Ive been in China.Living here in Xi'an its interesting to see the coffee and cafe culture that has developed - and its also been a popular inroad for foreigners to get their foot in the door so to speak, to live...

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Xi'an Warnings and Dangers

  • Photos/Video

    What a challenge for the photo maniacs! The poor illumination, the reflexes in the glass, the impossibility to use flash, the uncomfortable position, everything contributes to the poor quality of all the taken pictures. Of course, some efforts deserve respect!

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  • Hanyangling Museum - A challenge

    What a challenge for the photo maniacs! The poor illumination, the reflexes in the glass, the impossibility to use flash, the uncomfortable position, everything contributes to the poor quality of all the taken pictures. Of course, some efforts deserve respect!

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  • A Small Collection in Hanyangling Museum

    There is not a large collection in this museum, but the wide space, under dimmed light, is very well planned and presented. So, you must be aware that the real collection is displayed in the many pits that surround the emperor's tomb.Getting back to light, you’ll meet… a shop, of course.

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Xi'an Tourist Traps

  • At the Terracotta Army

    The guides trolling the TerraCotta Warriors are usually not the recommended guides. Do not get a guide here. 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. Get a guide beforehand -- that is a must! I have two recommendations: I used...

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  • Taxis

    You'll be told and see signs at the hostels that there are no taxis between 3 to 4pm as this is the changeover for drivers - their dinner breaks. So if you need to catch a train, flight etc you need to go super early apparently. Well we found a taxi at 3.30pm and although it was a little difficult to find out - with our stunning blonde daughter on...

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  • Central Passages

    Walking in central Xi’an looks simple, and it is, but not as much as it seems. The central tower, well illuminated at night looks the same from all the four angles, and walking around is a large and tricky way, with underground passages and wide steps. When we thought that he had done half turn and espected to be walking down to the hotel, we...

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Xi'an What to Pack

  • Antiseptic Gel is a Must

    I don't have much to add to the comments already posted. BUT, consider keeping some antiseptic gel to clean your hands before eating. I haven't seen restaurants with soap available. And people are always handling cash (western credit cards are not accepted in 99.5% of the stores). As I've mentioned, consider bringing cash, instead of relying on...

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  • Photo Equipment

    I always travel with my Minolta SLR camera with 2 lenses (1x 35/80 and 1x 75/300 zoom), a two times converter, a polariser for both lenses, a spare battery and 10 spare rolls of 400 asa film (36) with 1 loaded into the camera.

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  • Photographic Equipments

    You surely won’t forgive yourself if you travel China without a camera. I personally have ton of memory space, not to mention I have my notebook around because I needed it for my training in Beijing.If you're a shuttle happy guy like me, you probably need to bring one of this photo storage (see 2nd picture) to store your high resolution photos....

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Xi'an Off The Beaten Path

  • Hua Shan Mountain

    Huashan is a sacred Taoist mountain 120 km to the east. Bus go from the train station to the base. It is fantastically beautiful, but hard work to hike. I've got a whole page for it here.

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  • City Wall

    The big, solid volume of the walls make the long and wide moat that surrounds them look like a "insignificant" detail, but we are forced to admit that its perfect conception was an effective defense, and it helps today to enhance the views of the walls and the sensation of power that they emanate.

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  • Ceramics

    Ceramics and porcelain are some of the most distinguished arts in China. Though mainly concentrated in the older days, the collection of Provincial Museum is very rich, showing very uncommon pieces and techniques... at least for a non-expert as me!

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Xi'an Favorites

See all 51 Favorites in Xi'an
  • Terracotta Army

    One of the farmers who discovered the Terracotta Warriors and Horses back in the 1970's is present at the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor on a regular basis to provide autographs. You can buy a colorful souvenir book and have it autographed by him. Something worth buying and taking home while you are there!

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  • Wild Goose Pagodas

    visit the Wild Goose Great Pagoda. And do not miss the gardens (8AM to 6 PM) Once upon a time, a wise Emperor sent a monk (the ancestor of the VTbackpackers), Xuanzang, to search in India some Sutras of the Buddhist religion. He traveled for 20 years (what a vacation !) and came back home with his bag full of religious texts and his head full of...

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  • Hua Qing Hot Springs

    I really enjoyed Huaqingqiao most. My timing was especially appropriate since it was the day they buried Zhang Xueliang in Hawaii, the general who kidnapped Chiang Kai-shek. You oculd see the bullets littering the walls and the signpost that said 'Jiang was captured here' up the hill.

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Explore Deeper into Xi'an
Huaqing Hot Springs
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Banpo Neolithic Village
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The Tang Dynasty
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Friendship Restaurant at Terracotta Museum
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Sheraton Food Street
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Bicycle
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Hua Shan
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Muslim Quarters
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History Museum of Shaanxi Province
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City Wall
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A sense of strenght
Things to Do
Qin Terra Cotta Warriors
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Fast trains! Fast train to Luoyang
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Websites for booking flights around China
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Hainan Airlines
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Bus and Metro Pass
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Merchandising
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Glass pavements in Hanyangling Museum
Tourist Traps
Airlines to Xi'an
Transportation
Good choice
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The Moat
Off The Beaten Path
The External City
Off The Beaten Path
A Personal privilege
Off The Beaten Path
Recuperation
Off The Beaten Path
Wild Goose Pagoda
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Saving time
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Bazaar
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War Machines
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Muslim Quarter
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Jia San Soup Dumplings
Restaurants
What is this complex character?
Local Customs
Get an autograph from the farmer
Favorites
A Personal Note
Favorites
Monks
Local Customs
Birds
Local Customs
Discipline
Local Customs
Flowers
Local Customs
Rickshaws
Transportation
Colors
Warnings and Dangers
Crowds
Warnings and Dangers
Map of Xi'an

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