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Xian 西安 Travel Guide

Xian Overview

Many centuries ago Xian was once the fabled Chang An – a thriving city of Emperors, soldiers, art and culture and the capital of the Tang Dynasty, regarded as a golden period in Chinese history. It was also one of the world’s great trading cities being both the beginning and end of the fabled Silk Road. It is all this history that people come to see today and Xian still has much in evidence of this glorious past, including one of China’s most famous sights – the breathtaking Terracotta Army.

Best Months to Visit Xian

xian when to go

Best Reason to Visit Xian

The Terra-cotta Army are usually near the top of most people’s “Things you should see in your lifetime” list. This is why Xian is a must visit on most tours of China. These majestic, larger than life characters attract millions of tourists from all over the world and with good reason. There’s nothing quite like looking down into the pits and seeing this magnificent army of soldiers ready to defend their emperor in the afterlife.

Xian has more to offer beyond the warriors though with it’s place at the beginning (or end) of the silk road giving it a vibrant muslim quarter that is a great place to spend an evening. It also has some impressively preserved City Walls and a fantastic museum.

All in all a must inclusion on any first time China trip especially as it is now connected by bullet train from Beijing.

Top Attractions in Xian

Undoubtedly the Terra-Cotta Warriors are the top attraction Xian has to offer. In many ways it’s the the sheer scale of this attraction that is the most impressive thing. There are thousands of soldiers of varying ranks as well as horses, musicians, strongmen, officials and acrobats. The first Emperor of China was certainly stepping into the afterlife with some serious back-up!

The Terra Cotta Warriors site is not the only place to see them though and the Hanyangling Mausoleum is, in some ways, a better place to see them, as you get a closer look at the figures and in a modern equipped pit.

The City Walls are amongst the most impressive in China at 14 km long and you can cycle them putting yourself way above the traffic! Lastly, a visit wouldn’t be complete without a stroll through the fascinating Silk Road leftover of Xian’s muslim quarter.

Weather Averages for Xian

xian weather averages

Our Top Xian Travel Tip

Take the bullet train in from Beijing. It whisks you between the capital and this former capital city at breakneck speeds of over 300km/h taking roughly five hours overall making the whole journey from hotel door to door about the same as flying but with more comfort, a better view and less stress.

The Tang Dynasty Show is well worth a look. Some highly accomplished dancers and musicians, some playing instruments that are virtually extinct, put on a highly entertaining show in a great theatre/restaurant. For us, one of the top things to do in the evening on any China tours and something that you will remember for years to come.

Hand Picked Xian Hotels

If you are looking for something more traditional, unlike Beijing, you don’t have too much to choose from. You really want to be in or around the City walls and there are a few good options here. The reliable and well priced Grand Noble Hotel is a good bet or if you want to stretch your budget a little further, there is also a fairly new Hilton within the City walls that is very reasonably priced for this chain.

Alternatively for those not wanting to blow their budgets on hotels you can’t beat the Citadines for a clean, practical room that is essentially a serviced apartment as well as an unbeatable location just where you want to be within walking distance of great food, sights and the City Walls.

Explore More of China

Click the boxes below to explore further styles of destination in China.

By Phil Stanley & Headseast – TCTC Destination Expert.

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