Xi'an, capital of Shaanxi Province, with a 6,000-year history, was known as Chang'an in ancient times.
For over 1,000 years the city has been capital for 13 dynasties, and a total of 73 emperors ruled here. With so much history within the ground the city lies upon, it's no wonder that there are so many historical ruins and, in the museums, cultural relics. Even before the lives of Christ, Mohammad, and Siddhartha, Xi'an was a world class city and already influencing the world outside of The Great Wall of China. As the eastern terminus of the Silk Road（丝绸之路), traders from far and wide brought goods and ideas for sale and took goods and ideas back with them to their communities. In the present times, not much of its former glory remains within the city due to warfare and constant political changes throughout the ages.
Xi'an Xianyang International Airport (IATA: XIY) is located 40 km northwest of the city centre, in Xianyang. Flights are available to Beijing, Chengdu, Chongqing, Dunhuang, Fuzhou, Guangzhou, Harbin, Hohhot, Kunming, Lhasa, Lanzhou, Nanjing, Shanghai, Urumqi, Wuhan, and Xining within China, International flights are available to Bangkok, Hong Kong, Macau, Seoul as well as Nagoya, Fukuoka, Niigata, Tokyo and Hiroshima in Japan.
Most people use taxis or the airport bus to reach town from the airport, however taking a taxi is not recommended, as most taxi drivers will raise the price for non-local tourists. A taxi will cost about 100rmb from the airport to downtown(Bell Tower). The airport bus leaves every half-hour from 6AM to 6PM, a ticket is 27rmb and takes about one hour. As long as there is an arriving flight, there will be a bus, so don't worry about arriving late at night or early morning. The airport bus route is the best way between city and the train station. The Bell Tower is in the exact city centre, and is the most convenient starting point to go anywhere in the city.
Getting to the terracotta warriors from the airport is quite the process but can be done. Immediately when you walk out of the airport you can take bus #2 (27rmb)to the train station. The train station is extremely crowded and English is hardly, if at all spoken. When looking at the train station, go to the right and catch bus 306, also called Tourist Bus #5 (8rmb). There are many fake public buses, so make sure you only take #306! The last stop is the terracotta warriors. To get back to the airport simply take the same exact route in reverse.
There are plenty of trains transporting passengers to and from most of the major cities inside China. Located at the center of China, it often takes one day to travel from Xian to other cities by train. Keep in mind train tickets usually cannot be booked unless you are doing so very far in advance. Traveling hard class means you will share a small room with up to three other locals. They may smoke, snore, or watch portable tv's while you try to sleep. Do not travel hard class if you are uncomfortable with these things. Xian Station is located at the north end of Jiefang Lu (解放路）.
Approximate journey times to other major cities:
Beijing 11-13 hours, Chengdu 13-18 hours, Chongqing 14 hours, Guangzhou 24 hours, Kunming 36-53 hours, Lanzhou 8-10 hours, Lhasa 36 hours, Shanghai 16-20 hours, Urumqi 31-56 hours, Wuhan 14-18 hours and Zhengzhou 7 hours.
In Xian, it is very easy for one to get to the railway station by city bus from anywhere in the city. But please be aware that there are several stops around the station. Fortunately, all of them are no more than 200 meters from the station.
The main long-distance bus station is located across from main railway station.
Approximate journey times to major local cities:
Traffic is heavy, right of way is unheard of, and the rule of thumb is "keep going no matter what" (although drivers do note red lights).
The city is surrounded by a city wall, in its middle the Bell Tower (钟楼 Zhōnglóu). From this one, the four main streets descend into the four points of the compass.
- North-Street (北大街 Běidàjiē).
- East-Street (东大街 Dōngdàjiē).
- South-Street (南大街 Nándàjiē).
- West-Street (西大街 Xīdàjiē).
Don't get confused by different names in tourist guides, addresses and bus stops: Nandajie, Nanda-Street, South-Street, South-Avenue are all the same.
Locals often speak about Within city walls and Outside city walls when talking about locations. Outside the walls, the southern part is the most interesting, it offers shopping streets, bars and some nightlife.
There are plenty of Buses departing everywhere in short-intervals (main lines every 5-10 minutes). If you are not confident enough with orientation, or if you don't like packed buses, the cheap taxis are the best alternative, broadly available, except for during rush hours.
As of June 2007, Xi'An has broken ground on the North/South line; the first line. Officials claim it will take one year to build and once the North/South line is built, they will build an East/West line which is projected to take another year. Once North/South and East/West are completed (2009), a beltway is planned around the outside of the city.
There are many buses leaving regularly for the Terracotta Warrior museum in front of the Xi'an bus station (opposite the train station, just outside the city walls).
(1) Bus 306 (Chinese bus green 5) from the central bus station. It will take you to a parking lot right in front of the museum site within 40 minutes. A one way ticket costs ¥8.
(2) Small buses which are used by the locals. These buses will also take you to the Museum however they go through local small roads (no highway express like Bus 306) therefore it will take longer to arrive. Not a bad trip if you want to see the local bumpy rural roads.
(3) Alternatively, most hostels run tours to the warriors with an English speaking guide. These aren't necessarily better, be prepared to spend a good portion of the day (as with any Chinese tour) visiting "terracotta factories," "museums", "Chinese medicine shops", and other tourist traps. But, you will get to your destination without dealing with the bus (the warriors are quite far outside of town) and not all of the public buses that go there are legitimate. However, sticking with the 306 bus (a nice coach with 306 in parenthesis), and riding it to the end of the line is your best and cheapest bet.
Regular buses within the city cost ¥1 (¥2 for air-conditioned, marked with a snow-flake) no matter how far you go.
Watch the taxi drivers in Xian as the industry is not regulated as it is in other larger cities like Beijing. You may find yourself being taken on a long ride around town to get where you are going. It can also be difficult to convince them to take you anywhere (even to the railway station), if in doubt get your hotel or hostel to write down the place you want to go in Chinese. Trips within the city walls are generally in the ¥10 range; longer trips to the attractions south of the city are in the ¥12-20 range. Especially when you take a longer ride, like to or from the airport, it is always good advice to insist on using the taxi meter.
The rate for the normal (green) taxis is ¥6 for the first two kilometers and then ¥1.5 for every additional kilometer. Waiting times longer than 2 minutes will be charged ¥1.5 per minute. After 11PM the starting price is ¥7. At the airport and around some of the big hotels you might also find black taxis. They charge ¥2.4 per kilometer, but are more spacious and comfortable.
Fortunately Xian's main sites (with the notable exception of the Terracotta Warriors) are bunched fairly close together, so renting a bike is a good option. Be wary of the narrow streets and cars that squeeze you out of the way.
Inside the city
- City Wall of Xi'an — One of only two cities with intact surrounding walls in China. Xi'an's has been restored and is wide enough to easily ride 5 bikes across. You can hire one at the top of the South or East gate; you must return it where you got it. If you want to foot it though, a complete loop of the walls takes approximately 3 hours. The landscaped park around the base of the exterior walls and moat also makes for a pleasant stroll and gives a different perspective on the battlements and towers. There is a small museum inside the city walls at Hanguang Gate, about halfway between the southwest corner and the South Gate, accessible from the top of the city wall itself. Look for a staircase down inside a covered structure. Inside are the unrestored remains of a gatehouse and a calligraphy collection. [40RMB entry fee or 20RMB if you have student card (Nov 08)]
- Shaanxi Provincial Museum (陕西历史博物馆) (Also called Shaanxi History Museum) — This museum houses a collection of local artefacts that span the entirety of the province's history from the Neolithic through the Qing dynasty. In particular it contains fabulously well preserved pottery from nearby BanPo neolithic village (also worth a visit) and many excellent Shang dynasty bronzes. Although some guidebooks call it "one of the best museums in China", its old fashioned pots-and-arrowheads-behind-glass format may appeal mainly to enthusiasts, though they also feature some well-made but glorifying high-definition movies in the exhibition halls. Arrive early to avoid crowds and to get one of 1000 free tickets each day (bring your passport). ¥35 in winter, ¥50 in summer.
- Forest of Steles (西安碑林 Xīān Bēilín) — Situated just inside the southern city wall, near the Wenchang Gate, this collection of 2,300 stone tablets and epitaphs is the largest and oldest of its kind in China. This includes the famous Nestorian Stele, dating back to the 7th century. It depicts the coming of Nestorian Christianity to China. The Nestorian Stele is in Showroom Number 2 and is the first stele on the left.
- Wolong Temple — One block North and East of the Forest of Steles museum, this active Buddhist temple dates back to 200BC. Recently restored the temple is vibrant and busy.
- Big (Wild) Goose Pagoda (大雁塔 Dà Yàntǎ) — Located at Ci'en Temple and built by Emperor Gaozong （Li Zhi) in 652AD. Emblem of the city of Xi'an. Take bus No 41 or No 610 from the main train station. There is an entry fee.
- Little (Wild) Goose Pagoda (小雁塔 Xiǎo Yàntǎ) — Located at Jianfu Temple and completed in 709AD. To enter you will have to buy a fairly expensive joint ticket with the adjoining museum.
- Drum Tower （鼓楼 Gǔlóu） — Located in the exact center of the city and Bell Tower （钟楼 Zhōnglóu） located northwest within the Muslim Quarter. [27RMB per tower or 40RMB for both (Nov 08)]
- Grand Mosque (清真寺 Qīngzhēnsì) — behind Drum Tower, built in a perfect mixture of Islamic and Chinese architecture styles with seating for 1,000 worshipers and the Muslim Street (回民街 Huímín Jiē) around it. Can be quite difficult to find through the back streets.
- Eight Immortals Temple (八仙宫 Bāxiān Gōng) — An active Daoist temple built for the famous Eight Immortals, including the Eight Immortals Bridge, lots of steles in the walls with text and illustrations, and multiple worship halls.
Outside the city
- Army of Terracotta Warriors and Horses (兵马俑 Bīng mă yŏng) — This mighty army of terracotta warriors and horses, found in three vaults a short distance away from the Qinshihuang Mausoleum, is perhaps the most popular tourist attraction of Shaanxi. An in-site museum has been built over these pits, covering a floorspace of 20,000 square meters and displaying 8,000 life-like terracotta warriors, 100 or so chariots, and 30,000 weapons. The assemblage has been billed as the Eighth World Wonder and a world cultural heritage site by UNESCO in 1987. [90 RMB entry fee. Bring a student ID for half-price.]Terracotta Army
- Banpo Village Ruins — 6,000 year old ruins of a village site including the residential and pottery-making areas, ancient tools, as well as a burial ground. Visit also the Shaanxi Provincial Museum to see the best examples of the pottery found at Banpo.
- Famen Temple — This Buddhist temple, which records mention as far back as 67AD, contains a 13-storied brick pagoda as part of the monastery. This pagoda fell down in the rain in August, 1981 and revealed a 1000 year old underground vault full with 2,400 treasures belonging to the Tang and previous dynasties given as offerings. These included gold and silver utensils, glazed wares, porcelains, pearls, precious stones and textiles, as well as religious items. The biggest treasure is a finger bone of Buddha offered to the Emperor of China during the Tang dynasty.
- Huaqing Palace (华清池 Huáqīngchí) — Built by the Tang emperor Xuanzong near hot springs at the foot of Li Shan in Lintong County so he could frolic with his favoured Imperial Lady Yang to his heart's content.
- Mao Ling Mausoleum — The tomb of the fifth emperor of the Han Dynasty, includes many stone carvings.
- Qinshihuang's Mausoleum — Mausoleum of the First Emperor of China.
- Taiping National Park — 44km southwest to Xi'an city, north slope of the Mt. Qinling. Famous for its waterfall and the largest area of wild "Zijing" flower (the city flower of Hong Kong) in north China.
- Xiangyu Forest Park — 36.9km south to Xi'an city, north slope of the Mt. Qinling.
- Mount Hua — About 2.5 hours outside of Xi'an, this is one of China's sacred mountains. Very beautiful misty mountain where you can climb steep stairs while holding on to chain railings for support. There are many tours that drive to the Mountain, just be aware that half of the time you will be stoping for jewelry, Chinese medicine, etc. Worthwhile if you get a nice coach.
- Walk along the City walls and see the South Gate (南门 Nánmén) (illuminated at night).
- Bicycling around the city walls will take about 2 hours.
- Walk through the Hui Muslim Quarter (回民街 Huímín Jiē) sampling food.
Remember to take your passport with as a deposit for the bike that you rent, or at least ¥200. Make sure that you keep the deposit ticket, the bike vendor will not give you the deposit back without it!
Native English speakers can easily find jobs teaching English.
If you are visiting the Terracotta Warriors, be prepared to meet some of the most hardcore hawkers you are likely to meet anywhere. If you keep quiet, they will usually bargain themselves down in front of you in desperate pleas for your money. Buy a 15 cm Terracotta warrior for ¥5-10 even if they offer it to you for ¥45. Wood-carved Buddhas and Dragons for about the same. They are fortunately kept at a distance from the actual site. Many travelers report enjoying this experience. It's definitely not a reason to avoid seeing the Terracotta Warriors. The exit from the pit areas to the parking lot leads through long avenues lined with souvenir stalls and shops. The barkers will try to get your business, but are not as aggressive as the touts at the entrance or immediate exits.
- The best place to buy souvenirs in the city center is the bazaar area behind the Drum Tower in the Muslim Quarter around the Great Mosque. The seller usually offers you a very high price, and even if you bring them down by 50%, they will still make a big profit. This is also a good place to buy folk art, specifically folk style block prints in a single shop which go for about ¥50 if you can stand bargaining when the older gentleman artist himself is standing right there. This area is also full of fake name-brand products like watches, bags, clothes. Bargain hard.
- Another souvenir shopping area is Calligraphy Street. It is located near South Gate inside the city wall towards the east. Walking down south street on the left side, continue to where the road splits in front of South Gate and turn left to find the entrance gate next to a small pagoda. Midway do a slight dog leg to the right. At the far end is the Forest of Steles. Less hectic that the Muslim Quarter.
- Tang Tricolored Pottery is a style that was lost and has now been recreated from pieces of pottery found in tombs. It is graphic in image and eye-pleasing in color. The factory recreating the style offers over 100 varieties of items, like statues, animals, and utensils.
- Paper cut is regards the most important arts form in xi'an.The artisan cut the different pattern of the picture by hand.
Xi'an is amazingly cheap for clothes
- East Street (Dongda Jie), the eastern of the four big streets descending from the central Bell Tower, has regular fashion shops.
- South Street (Nanda Jie) has finer clothes and shoes (e.g. Louis Vuitton).
- Local youngsters buy in Baihui Market （百汇市场） in Xiaozhai (小寨), ¥10 by Taxi from city center. It's one of those fake-brand markets. Sport shoes should be less than ¥150, pullovers and nice jeans sometimes less than ¥100, lots of cheap fashion accessories. This is also a great place for DVDs and CDs but understand these are mostly pirated copies.
- Kangfu Lu is outside the East city wall (straight through the North East Gate) and a great place for a bargain. Nothing is (bargained for) over ¥50 and most clothes can be bargained down to about ¥20 if you are really aggressive. But this place is full of poor quality stuff.Its not worth to go.
- English Language Bookstore at 349 Dong daJie, though difficult to find. Go into the Li Ning sports store, then go up to the 3rd floor - you'll find the bookstore through a door at the back. Good selection of guide books, maps, Chinese language study books, modern and classic novels.
- Yang Rou Pao Muo is one of the signature dishes of the area, it consists of a piece of bread and a kettle of lamb soup. The diner shreds the bread with his hands and places the shreds in a bowl, the soup is then poured over the shreds. The trick is to shred the bread into pieces that are as small as possible. Most first-timers will shred their bread in pieces that are too large. Tong Sheng Xiang Restaurant is recommended.
- Biang Biang Mian is a local provincial specialty noodle dish that is extremely good. The wide noodles are spiced, have a broth, and include toppings such as eggs, tomatoes, beef, etc. The character for "biang" isn't yet possible to type into a computer, but look for a complex character with about 57 strokes repeated twice before "面". A popular chain has a red sign with white characters, and includes the face of the "Noodle King".
- The Muslim Quarter is located close to the Drum tower and is a vibrant area with many restaurants spilling out onto the street and mixing with the street sellers.
- Street food (mostly sold after sunset, or some near night clubs/bars after 11PM) presents a variety of local/regional dishes, ranging from noodle soups, dumplings, hot pot, and so on by tens of little food vendors on street side, each with a red lamp.
- Rou Jia Mo — The closest thing to a beefburger, this is a local tradition and should be very easy to locate, sandwich like, with pork, beef or lamb, this is a must try item for anyone who is in this area.
- Xiao long bao-zi — Basket-steamed dumplings (one basket ¥3), common as a midnight snack. Look for its big brother "Da bao-zi" only available first thing in the mornings, like a steamed cornish pastie, but very nice.
- Guan Tang bao-zi are steamed buns served with sauces inside.
Xi'an has various snacks in the small streets.
A good way if you don't want the expensive hotel food or just want to try real Chinese cuisine, is to simply go into a small restaurant and point to a dish somebody else is having and you will get a meal for less than ¥10 (seldom ¥20) per person.
- Wen Xin Jiaozi Guan(温馨饺子馆), 123 Xushimiao Jie(next to the Good World Hotel, off of Lian Hu Lu). A good cheap place for jiaozi (Chinese dumplings). There is no menu, but endless supplies of fresh jiaozi of many flavors, from ¥4-5 a bowl.
McDonalds, Pizza Hut, KFC or its Chinese brother, Dicos, are widely available within city walls for a change from the daily Chinese cuisine. There are also three Starbucks within a 5-minute walk of the Bell Tower.
- Highfly Pizza(高飞), (down the right hand street after coming out of South Gate (南门)). Real pizza and other western food.
- Small World Cafe, Huancheng Nanlu Dongduan 90#(outside Jian Guo Gate). Run by a Dutch women. Great European cafe feel. Good food. Pizza, salad, fried chicken and real cake.
- Delhi Darbar (新德里餐厅), Da Yan Ta Xi Lu (雁塔区大唐通易坊东头路北)(Directly West of the Big Goose Pagoda on a street full of upscale bars and restaurants). Authentic North Indian food run by a wonderful Indian manager. Service is good, food is devinely delicious, and prices are very affordable. Mango Lassi for only 10rmb is a must have. Average meal price is about 40rmb per person. Highly Recommended.
- La Seine, Nandajie (南大街)(near Bell Tower). French style restaurant.
- Tang Paradise Hotel, (near the Wild Goose Pagoda in the Qujiang Resort of Xian). Dinner Show in a large 165 acres theme park. The charm lies in that all the buildings in the park are built in the luxurious style of the Tang Dynasty. The best time to visit is at night when most of the shows, including fireworks and dances, are performed.
- Real Love, [N34.23887 E108.93407] Zhuque Dajie (朱雀大街)(opposite the Small Wildgoose Pagoda (小雁塔)). Located on the 7th floor it also has a roof terrace with a view to the Small Wildgoose Pagoda. The place offers excellent Chinese food of different styles. An English menu is available. Try the Baby Lamb Leg or the Fried Dumplings With Diced Beef.
Night clubs in Xian are not abundant since the hip-hop culture is not popular in the city. All clubs play the same music, a mix of Chinese disco and some pop music, but it might change slowly in future. But for now, don't expect latest chart-toppers or hip-hop music. Most people go out between 10PM and 1AM, but clubs are generally open until 4AM.
Along the short Nandajie (南大街) are the most clubs (you can also eat on the street as there are restaurants open past midnight). You will easily find the MIX (big light ad) and its neighbour Palando. Both are rather nice places to sit and drink. If you want a dance floor, go along towards South Gate, on the same side there are first Night Cat with some foreigners and OK-DJs and Kulala.
In summer time, the area around South Gate (南门) is beautiful. East of it are three nice bars with terraces and gardens.
- 1+1 (pronounced "yi-jia-yi" for the taxi driver） remains one of the most popular clubs and definitely the most popular amongst foreigners. In the middle of Dongdajie (东大街), the club has 2 dance floors: first floor is mostly J-pop music, second floor is mostly hip-hop. There is a relaxed open air bar on the 5th floor which has live music every night.
- Salsa is probably the most popular club, located on west street (pronounced sha-sha for taxi drivers). This club is your best bet on Fridays and Saturdays however yi-jia-yi is more consistent during the week. The dance floor, while smaller than yi-jia-yi's, is usually less crowded, so you have a bit more room to dance.
- off-road tea bar, located in Jiefang Road, 800 meters south direct to Xi'an Railway Station. which has been checked by Goofle Business. Here, one could enjoy the fresh green tea in Southern Shaanxi and could meet local cycling and trekking lover.
As with most Chinese cities several cheap run down hotels can be found near the train station. There are a few decent ones inside the city walls on a road called Jie Fang Lu going directly south from train station. Bargaining is possible especially if you are staying for more than one night. Expect to pay under ¥100 for a single room as getting a room for as low as ¥30 is possible.
There are also 6 international youth hostels right in the center of the city, easy to find.
Booking on the Internet (such as HostelWorld, Hostels.com) will usually save you money. For some reason, prices tend to differ online, then if you just arrived. It is advisable to book online if you want a real budget place, prices start around ¥15.
- 3e Hotels International, 54 Nandajie(located between the South Gate and the Bell Tower, right next door to a KFC on the West side of the street). An absolutely beautiful single room with all the fixings and free broadband internet is ¥154. A plus is that right outside the door is a real coffee shop!
- Backpax, Nandajie, the Prince Mansion building 9th floor. A quite luxurious hostel, owned and partially run by westerners, feels like something between a fancy bar and a middle-class hotel, very unique. Newly started up, if you order on hostelworld.com the price is ¥25 per night, for a 6 bed dorm. (Reported as closed as of 28th July 2008)
- Bob's Guesthouse, 85 Huan Cheng Bei Lu Rd(just outside the city walls, a short walk from the train station), . Doubles with en-suite bathroom for ¥100; dorms from ¥25 (summer 2006).
- Ludao Binguan, 80 XiBa Lu, ☎ (029) 87420308(fax: (029) 82101222). A nicer-than-average hotel and hostel. Dorm rooms are between ¥25-50, depending on the season and your bargaining skill. You can also get a reasonably nice hotel room for around ¥75, again depending on your bargaining skills. The manger Jim Beam is friendly.
- Hq Guesthouse in Xi'an, ☎ +86 13149250037, . Small but cozy setup in a brand new apartment complex located by the Muslim Quarter in Xi'an. Perfect for families, couples and independent travellers of all ages. Free pickup, free internet. Doubleroom ¥150, Family Special: book your own wing! Private access to your own self contained 100 square meter apartment in the center of Xi'an!
- Xi'an Shuyuan International Youth Hostel, Xi Nanmen, ☎ (029)87287720(fax: (029)87287721).
- Jiefang Fandian, 321 Jiefang Lu, ☎ (029)87698881(fax: (029)87698882).
- Lijing Jiudian, 20 Xi Dajie, ☎ (029)87288731.
- Xian Central Serviced Apartments, Xihuamen Shizi, ☎ +86 15829031947, . Xian central serviced apartments are more than 100 square meters. Very spacious, newly furnished, cozy, spotlessly clean and extremely central (about 1 minute walk to Muslim Quarter) in the center of Xi'an. Free pc and internet in every apartment and they even offer free use of mobile phone for guests to use in case you have any difficulties while out exploring the city
- Qingnianhui Binguan, 339 Dong Dajie, ☎ (029)87673002.
- QinDao Business Hotel, 100 Nan Guang Ji Jie(It is along Xi Da Jie across from the Parkson Shopping Center and entrance to the Muslim Quarter), ☎ (029) 8761-5888. This is a great option if you are visiting the city and want to be in the heart of things. From this location you can easily walk or take a taxi to most of the major sites in the city and it is right across the street from a main entrance to the Muslim Quarter. Free internet and cable TV in the rooms. A travel office and public computer available in the lobby. Complimentary breakfast at 4th floor restaurant of mediocre quality, but their regular menu items are quite good and the view from the balcony is great. Laundry service: 2 day turnaround 10 RMB / item. Massage on 7th floor not worth visiting.286RMB for a double room (2 people) and up.
> Grand Mercure on Renmin Square - 西安豪华美居人民大厦 > a heritage hotel, first opened in 1957, located in the grounds of Renmin Square, the hotel reflects the Sino Russian style of architecture, which is steeped in revolutionary history > -More details here
> Mercure on Renmin Square Xian - 西安美居人民大厦 a heritage hotel, first opened in 1957, located in the grounds of Renmin Square, the hotel reflects the Sino Russian style of architecture, which is steeped in revolutionary history > -More details here
- Nanlin International Hotel, ☎ 86-29-87216000, . Nanlin International Hotel is a four star hotel located in Xincheng District. It is just 3 km from Xi’an Railway Station and 40 km from Xianyang International Airport. While staying at this hotel, you might want to visit some of the famous tourist spots in Shaanxi, China namely the Bell Tower, City Wall of Xi’an, and Shaanxi History Museum. They offer air-conditioned rooms to all their guests. Each of their rooms are equipped with cable TV and free high-speed Internet access. Best rates on official website start at CNY 286.69+.
- Xian Bell Tower Hotel(Zhonglou fandian), 110 Nan Da Jie, ☎ (029) 87600000(fax: (029)87218767), . The Bell Tower Hotel is located at the heart of the Xian city, facing the Bell Tower and the new Bell Drum Square.
- Grand Mecure at Renmin Square, (A few blocks north-east of the Bell and Drum Towers).
- Sofitel at Renmin Square, (A few blocks north-east of the Bell and Drum Towers).
- Hyatt Regency Xian (西安凱悅酒店), 158, Dongda Jie(At the corner of Dondajie and Heping Lu (和平路), 10 minutes walk from the Bell Tower), ☎ +86 29 8769 1234(firstname.lastname@example.org), . 5 star hotel within the the historic City Wall, in the heart of shopping and entertainment area of Xian City.
- Howard Johnson Ginwa Plaza Hotel (金花豪生國際大酒店), 18 West Section, Huancheng South Rd(60 minutes from Xi'an International Airport and 15 minutes from Railway station). This hotel is the fifth hotel managed by Howard Johnson International in China. Located close to the south gate and the famous shopping center, the South Avenue. Two tall modern architectural buildings are separated by a spacious and bright lobby. The center platform, where the piano stands, is surrounded by water and walled in by lotus-shaped crystal glass. It was opened in 2003 and has 324 rooms.
- Xian Golden Flower Hotel — Very popular 5 star hotel, 5 minutes taxi ride from the Bell tower. Luxury, large rooms with great views. Hotel has Swimming pool, Spa, 3 Restaurants, Lobby bar and shops. Double rooms can be had for US$160 per Night.
- Sheraton Xian Hotel, 262 Feng Hao East Rd, ☎ +86 29 8426 1888, . The location of this hotel is not a good choice for tourists, because it is far from the scenic spot of the city. However it is near the freeway and the airport.
- Xian Garden Hotel 40 Yan Yin Road, Yanta District. Tel. No.: 86-21-61226688 Ext. 7800. Four-star hotel with a stunning imperial-inspired façade and 292 beautifully appointed rooms. Facilities include conference and banquet venues, three (3) restaurants, and an indoor swimming pool.
Xian is, like other Chinese cities, generally quite safe. Just watch out for pickpockets (usually children) in crowds.
Pickpockets are more common during holidays. Pickpocketing is more likely to happen on the bus and Muslim quarter,in the East Street (the most properous commercial street in Xian), and some of the more crowded resorts like the North Square of the wild goose pagoda where there is a fountain show every night. Keep an eye on your camera.
Look at the Beijing#Cope notes as they apply to Xi'an, too. Most importantly, take paper tissue with you to toilets.
Generally, Western style accommodation will have western toilets, whereas the very inexpensive guest house (zhao dai suo) will usually have squat toilets. If you need to use western toilets, learn to plan your day accordingly. Major tourist attractions will have western toilets.
If you arrive in Xi'an by train, try not to be overwhelmed when you exit Xi'an's train station. There are usually aggressive hotel touts looking for customers. Just insist that you already have a place to stay and tell them no, with a serious faced, 不要！ / Bú yào！
It is a good idea to check your bags at the left luggage office and then go into town to look for accommodation. This way you will not be overwhelmed by the burden of carrying your heavy bags or luggage around.
- Chen Lu Pottery. An hour and a half drive north of Xian, this community of potters has been producing pottery since the Tang dynasty and is well worth the look if pottery is your thing, private transportation recommended.
- Hu Kou Waterfall (壶口瀑布 Húkǒu Pùbù). Located 150 km north of Xian, private transportation recommended; can be combined with a day trip to Huang Di Mausoleum.
- Huashan National Park. Approximately 2 hours by train or bus east of Xian. Huashan is a 2000 metre mountain with spectacular views. It is possible to take the 2-3 hour (6 km) walk up or take the 10 minute cable car for ¥70. It is best to go for sun rise on the East peak. Take plenty of warm clothing for when the sun goes down. Basic accommodation is available, but can be quite pricey.
This page was last edited at 02:22, on 21 March 2009 by Jason. Based on work by Nolan Bowling, Wikitravel user(s) Gowego, Vaderluck and Fig wright, Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel and others.