2,5 Days in Xi’an and sadly I haven’t seen it all. Most highlights are prettiest at night, when everything is lit up.. many are walking distance and since it is such a touristy place, you just have to follow the crowd to your next attraction. Here some of my experiences.
First of all: Expect thick rows of (Chinese) tourists who all want to take their pictures with the army. Second: Ehhmmm…pretty cool to have seen it, but I very much have my doubts about the authenticity of it all. Stories you hear are contradicting and at times don’t even make sense. The details are magnificent, but am I to believe that the guy signing the history books about the discovery of the well is really THE farmer? (10 kuai please for a picture) . And then the excavating happens at night when the tourist are gone, for privacy reasons. Okay…what about the horses? They are all in tact still in the main pit. Well, they are replicas, but the others are really real, really, It’s true…. Then there was a fire that destroyed pit 3, but when we get there it is still covered. Then all the weapons were stolen, but this was before we discovered them. Interesting… I might have had a bad guide, but I’m not buying it. I believe the only real ones we saw are the ones in the glass showcases. But hey, still awesome to have seen it. Got the picture!
Tours will take you to a factory for hours hoping you will buy stuff (yeah, I did that as well, sucker….). So maybe you are better (and mainly a lot quicker) off by arranging your own transportation. Entrance ticket is 150rmb
I had an amazing time cycling on the old capital’s city wall. It costs about 50 rmb plus 200 deposit to rent a bike and 43 rmb to enter the wall. There are some coffee stops and people are relaxing, having picnics and taking photos. You can walk, but it is quite far if you want to see something. The view is not that special, but watching people fall of their (tandem) bikes is pretty funny. Again, at night this wall is even prettier with all the lanterns.
Drum and bell towers
Beautifully lit at night with a nice view when you enter the towers. If you haven’t got enough time, then skip this part, or only visit one. They are basically the same and are prettiest from the outside.
I found a really great bar inside the Xian Shuyuan international youth hostel where they had live music, a magician, dancers and so on. The most entertaining were the Chinese in kilt playing the bagpipe though. Hilarious! The drinks are also amazing and mostly for show since they set many drinks on fire. Pretty, but what a waste of alcohol right?
In the center just behind the bell tower you can find the Muslim quarter. Hopefully you’re not scared of crowds, because man….there were many people! Lamb on a bamboo stick is the most popular delicacy there, but I preferred the pineapple rice and pomegranate juice(make sure they don’t water it down). You can take some great pictures here, again, especially at night.
Claimed to be the biggest fountain in Asia, this is totally NOT worth going here. The “show” is 20 minutes and is not repeated until the next day.
Getting to the city from the airport is quite simple. Just know which stop is closest to your hotel, since you have to give them a destination when you get the tickets. You get a number, stand in line for that bus and they take you close to the city. There you have to change to a taxi, which was not that easy. There were many non official ones trying to charge you ridiculous amounts to town. It should costs you 30rmb max.
Do not use the South railwaystation because it looks like this….
There are many guys driving around on electric bikes that offer a taxi service for a very reasonable price. It is also a nice way to see more of the city and was a nice experience for me. The guy apparently enjoyed the company of the crazy Dutch girl trying to speak Chinese , since I got the lift for free. Yay me!
I wish you a wonderful time in Xi’an.