Tips for Visiting Xian Bell Tower

May 23rd, 2016
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Each ancient city in China used to have a bell tower and a drum tower, telling the citizens the upcoming alerts and the time. The 36-meter high Xian Bell Tower is the largest and most well-preserved bell tower in China today.

If you have a two-day visit time in Xian, it is worthwhile to ascend the centrally located tower for a glimpse. The main reason to visit the tower is two-fold: the tower itself – the charming traditional Chinese architecture and the wonderful view from the tower.

Tips
tips-11. How to Get There
The walled city of Xian is based on a grid pattern centrally denoted by the Bell Tower, which now stands in a roundabout leading up to the four main streets – North, East, South and West. The four major streets extend to the four gates of the Xian city wall respectively.

Xian Bell Tower is easily accessible by subway line 2, getting off at the station of Bell Tower where an underground passage guides you up to the bell tower. Or you may take a bus or walk to the Bell Tower Subway Station for the underground tunnel leading up to the tower. Basically you are unable to cross the roundabout from the nearby streets due to the hectic traffic going around the tower.

2. Entrance Fee and Opening Hours
Entrance Fee: 35 yuan ( Bell Tower ) and 50 yuan ( A combo ticket of Drum Tower )
Ticketing Booth: at the underground Bell Tower subway tunnel
Opening Hours
Peak Season (April 01 – October 25):  08:30 -21:30 )
Low Season (October 26 – March 31 ): 08:30 -18:00)
Inquiry Tel: 029-87274580

3. Having an Outside Look
If you have limited time for your Xian tour with no intention of going up the tower, you are  still encouraged to come her for an outside look at the massive bell tower. It is a three-layer and two-story wooden tower built on a square brick base.

The giant Ming-style Bell on the northwest corner of the tower

The giant Ming-style Bell on the northwest corner of the tower

The tower has the dark green glazed tiles on the eaves, gold-coating on the roof, a fantastic masterpiece of Ming-style architecture.

Basically Xian Museum Quarter will be on your bucket list. Walking from Museum Quarter ( just north of Drum Tower ) is just a breeze. So don’t miss it.

4. Ascending the Bell Tower
Enter the underground Bell Tower Subway Station and walk up the tower.  The bell tower has a brick base, a three-layer and two-story wooden tower. You need to ascend the outside stone steps up to the first floor of the tower.

Ascending the tower

Ascending the tower

Three things to do on the bell tower:
1. Have a panoramic view of the four main streets leading to the four gates of Xian city and the surrounding buildings like Drum Tower and some shopping centers, a mixed old and new world.

2. Appreciating the delicate engravings on the wooden windows on the four sides of the tower and a close look at the traditional Chinese architecture.

3. Watching and listening to a bell music performance, beautiful music and amazing costumes. The music show is included on your entry ticket. The 15-minute show is done hourly, 8 times a day.

5. Night View of the Bell Tower
Just drop by the bell tower when night falls and the tower is illuminated. The lit-up bell tower stands peacefully on a roundabout circled by the blaring traffic and mess, a wave of lights – a magnificent scene!

The lit-up Bell Tower at night

The lit-up Bell Tower at night

6. Shopping and Dining around the Tower
The visit to the bell tower allows you an easy access to the shopping – the vendors in the underground tunnel, the shopping malls like Kaiyuan department store; Starbucks, the famous dumpling restaurant and the list could be longer.

Starbucks at Bell Tower

Starbucks at Bell Tower

7. A Combo Tour of Drum Tower and Museum Quarter
A trip to the bell tower can be combined with your combo tour of Drum Tower and Muslim Quarter. The combo ticket of Bell Tower and Drum Tower is 50 yuan. The entry into the Muslin Quarter is free.

The illuminated Xian Drum Tower in the rain

The illuminated Xian Drum Tower in the rain

8. Best Angle to Take Pictures of the Bell Tower
You may to go to the second floor of the nearby Kaiyuan department store and have a wonderful photo of the bell tower from there. Bell Tower Hotel is also a perfect place to shoot a beautiful picture of the tower.

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Tips for Visiting Hanyang Tombs Xian

May 20th, 2016
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When you are planning your Xian tour, your focus will be definitely on Terracotta Warriors Museum. But the other equally interesting and important subterranean archaeological museum may slip under your radar, namely, Hanyang Tombs (Hanyangling), the Tomb of Tomb of Emperor Jingdi Jindi (188BC—141BC), the fourth emperor of Han Dynasty (206 B.C.–220 A.D.) which precedes Qin Dynasty ( 221–206 BC).

This is a wonderful cultural site, more interesting and engaging than the Terracotta Warriors. The well-structured site comprises the emperor’s tomb, empress’ tomb, the south and north accompanying burial pits, and human sacrifice graveyard.

With the emperor’s tomb laid out in the center, the site tells the strict hierarchical social structure. A must see!
Note: The Emperor’s Tomb is still intact, not excavated yet.

Tips
tips-11. How to Get There
Han Yang Ling Mausoleum (Hanyang Tomb) is located about 25 km north of Bell Tower in the city center of Xian and about 24 km to the east of Xian Xianyang International Airport.

To get there is a little bit tricky. You may take Tourism Bus No.04 starting from Xian Library to Hanyang Tomb.
Bus Timetable:
Xian Library to Hanyang Tomb: 09:30, 10:30; 13:30 and 13:30
Hanyang Tomb to Xian Library: 15: 00, 16:00,17:00 and 18:00

Or you may take a taxi either from Xian city center or Xian Xianyang International Airport. Taxi fare about 80-100 yuan.

2. Entry Fee and Opening Hours
Admission: 90 yuan ( March – November ) and 65 yuan ( December – February )

Opening Hours: 08: 30 – 19:00 ( March – November ) and 08:30 – 18:00 yuan ( December – February )

Tel:029-86031470

3. Visiting the Protection Hall of Burial Pits
The Protection Hall of Burial Pits is popularly known as the underground museum or onsite subterranean museum. This is the place worth most of your visit time in Hanyang Tomb.

It is awesome to walk on the glass floors to view the terracotta smaller scale people, more engaging and interesting than Terracotta Warrior Museum,

The Protection Hall of Burial Pits

The Protection Hall of Burial Pits

The underground museum is built on the excavation sites above which glass floors are built for people to have a close look at the artifacts underneath. You will see small-sized terracotta figures. Not only terracotta soldiers, but various animals and household items were buried as well.

It gives you a feel of  the Emperor’s attempt to create his daily life in miniature in the tomb accompanying him for eternity.

4. Visiting Hanyang Tomb Archaeological Exhibition Hall
The above-ground museum is a bit far from the underground museum mentioned above. There are buggies shuttling between the two sites.

Visiting Hanyang Tomb Archaeological Exhibition Hall

Visiting Hanyang Tomb Archaeological Exhibition Hall

Han Yang Ling Archaeological Exhibition Hall is a modern comprehensive museum. It has a unique style and advanced exhibition area. About 1700 exquisite artifacts unearthed in the past 30 years are on display in the two-storey building.

5. How to Schedule Your Visit
A side trip to Hanyang Tomb can be arranged either after you arrive at Xian Airport or before you go to Xian airport since the site is easily accessible on the highway linking the airport, the tomb and the downtown of Xian.

Alternatively, you may visit Hanyang Tomb for one or two hours before you are heading to the Terracotta Army Museum.

6. A Nice Gift Store
A nice store to buy art crafts.

A Nice Gift Store

A Nice Gift Store

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Tips for Visiting Big Wild Goose Pagoda

May 18th, 2016
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Big Wild Goose Pagoda is located inside Daci’en Temple, a holy place in the middle of a vibrant and modern growing city of Xian. It is a good place to learn about the influence of China’s Buddhism and culture.

It is an active Buddhist temple with monks chanting, working and living.  Local Chinese visit the place to worship and burn joss sticks.

The temple and its surrounding area are full of life, people-watch. Its north square is home to the largest musical fountain in Asia; its south square leading to the Great Tang All Day Mall, a 1500-meter sightseeing avenue where you immersed in Tang Dynasty culture while enjoying  shopping, dining, entertaining, sightseeing and business travel.

The temple and the pagoda itself takes 1 or 2 hours to visit while the whole area ( squares, gardens ,etc.) takes much longer time, providing people with wonderful free leisure and entertainment.

Tips
tips-11. Big Wild Goose Pagoda and Daci’en Temple
Actually the pagoda is part of Daci’en Temple, which were both originally built in Tang Dynasty (618-907) and the temple precedes the pagoda.

When we are talking about Big Wild Goose Pagoda, we are in fact talking about the temple as a whole. If you want to see the pagoda at a close distance or even climb up to the top of the pagoda, you first need to enter the temple with its entrance facing the south.

Big Wild Goose Pagoda and Daci'en Temple

Big Wild Goose Pagoda and Daci’en Temple

Entry fee for Daci’en Temple: RMB 50
Entry fee for Ascending Big Wild Goose Pagoda: RMB 30 ( First pay RMB 50 to enter the temple)
Opening Hours:  Summer (March 16 – December 4): 08:00~17:30
Winter (December 04 – March 15 ): 08:00~17:00
Add: The southern end of Yanta Road, Hepingmenwai, Xian 西安市和平门外雁塔路南端
Tel: 029-85527958

2. Visiting the Pagoda
It is okay to just have an outside look at the pagoda when you enter Daci’en Temple. A distant glimpse gives you a good angle to see the seven-story pagoda.

Paying 30 yuan and you are allowed to walk to the top of the Pagoda for a wonderful view of the city.  The stairs are well organized with banisters.

A close look at Big Goose Pagoda

A close look at Big Goose Pagoda

If you are not interested in entering Daci’en Temple, you are also able to view the Pagoda while standing on the south square outside the temple, and the Pagoda is seen above the buildings in the temple, still a good photogenic spot.

3. The Gardens and Buildings on the Ground Inside the Temple
The 50 yuan entry fee doesn’t only allow to you to see the pagoda, it also gives you the chance to visit the beautiful gardens, valuable artifacts and magnificent buildings on the ground in the temple.

The Bell Tower inside the Temple

The Bell Tower inside the Temple

It is an active temple and many local Chinese visit the place to worship. The Buddhist Monks are chanting and working. Some of the halls displays the artifacts, telling  how Buddhism was brought to China. All this gives you a feel for how life was here in the ancient time. English Signage is seen to guide you in a clear direction.

3. The North Square ( Musical Fountain )
The north square of Big Wild Goose Pagoda ( North of Daci’en Temple ) has the largest music fountain in the world. It is better to come here in the evening when the whole place is lit up.

The construction of the huge cultural square features the Tang culture elements of Big Goose Pagoda and Daci’en Temple, combining the elements of the traditional and the modern.

the largest music fountain in the world

the largest music fountain in the world

Musical Fountain Opening Hours:
Weekday: 12:00,  20:00
Weekend and Public Holiday:10:00,  12:00,  14:00,  16:00,  18:00,  20:00
Entry fee: 30 RMB ( but actually few people will pay since it is located in an open place)

4. South Square ( the statue of Monk Xuanzang )
The South Square of Big Goose Pagoda is also known as Xuanzhuang Square. Xuanzang (602 – 664) was a Chinese Buddhist monk, scholar, traveller, and translator who described the interaction between China and India in the early Tang dynasty.

South Square ( the statue of Monk Xuanzang )

South Square ( the statue of Monk Xuanzang )

In 652 A.D. Xuan Zang made a proposal to the court for a pagoda to be constructed inside the temple, to put the scriptures and statues he had brought back from India. The Emperor happily agreed, and also collected the funds for the building. Xuan Zang was so happy that he took part in the manual labor in the construction of the pagoda. He also took part in the design of the pagoda.

Visit the south square in the evening when the statue and the square are all lit up.  Free entry.

5. Great Tang All Day Mall (a 1500-meter sightseeing avenue)
South of the South Square of Big Goose Pagoda (Xuanzhuang Square) is Great Tang All Day Mall. The Great Tang All Day Mall is the key project to rejuvenate the great Tang Dynasty.

It is more than just a traditional mall, but a sightseeing traffic-free avenue along a 1500-meter axis from the Big Wild Goose Pagoda down to the south, linking three themed squares – Xuan Zhuang Square, Zhenuan Cultural Square and Kaiyuan Ceremony Square based the Tang Dynasty cultural backgrounds and elements.

The illuminated 1500-meters long avenue

The illuminated 1500-meters long avenue

They includes the buildings of Tang architectural style and sculptures devoted to great leaders, monks, artists, writers, poets, scientists and mathematicians of the Tang Dynasty.

Free entry and visit here in the evening when the place is illuminated.

5. Visit in the early Morning and in the Evening
Early in the morning you will see lots of activities like dancing, playing tai chi, etc. a nice taste of the local Xian. Come here in the evening when the whole area is illuminated.

6. Children Friendly
This is a huge complex of squares, temple, parks, pedestrian streets and a lively souvenir market as well. It’s all marvelously illuminated at night and full of local people,  walking, dancing, etc. It has a fantastic atmosphere. Your kids definitely will like the fountain show which is truly spectacular.

7. How to get there
Big Wild Goose Pagoda and the whole area are just located about 6 km south of Bell Tower in the center of the walled Xian city.

By Taxi: About RMB 16 taking a taxi from Bell Tower
By Subway: Taking the subway line 2 and get off at the station of Xiaozhai and exit from Exit C. The walk in the east direction and get to the place ( about 470 meters walking ).
By Bus: Taking Bus 606 and 609 from Bell Tower and get off at the stop of Dayanta ( Big Wild Goose Pagoda).

8. Combo Tour of Shaanxi History Museum
After your visit to Big Wild Goose Pagoda and you still have the time and energy, you can walk to the nearby Shaanxi History Museum, about 15 minutes away. You can cover both of these attractions together in a half day.

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How to Visit Shaanxi History Museum
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Any questions, just drop a line.