How to visit Terracotta Army in Xian

November 21st, 2019
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Dear Travelers

We’d like to have the following travel guide to be always updated for the benefit of new visitors coming to Terracotta Warriors.

If anybody having used the piece finds necessary updates, please leave a message or feedback. Thanks!

Important Notice:
The special shuttle bus line ( Bus No.306 or Tourism Bus 5 ) running between  Xian Railway Station and Terra-cotta Army has been moved to the bus station of Fangzhicheng ( metro line 1) about 200 m from exit A (纺织城枢纽站). The relocation of the bus line is due to the reconstruction and expansion of of Xian Railway Station.

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Plan your Xian tour? For many foreign visitors, visiting the excavated Terracotta Army is a must. These Army of Terra-Cotta Warriors were supposed to safeguard Chinese first emperor – Qin Shihuang in his afterlife.

He unified China in 221 BC for the first time in Chinese history and established Qin Dynasty (221–206 B.C.), thus starting China’s over 2000 years’ feudal society

You are kindly reminded that Qin Shihuang’s underground palace is still there and remains intact though some of the burial sites annexing to his mausoleum have been robbed.

Why his own burial site or his underground palace still intact? It is said that his tomb has solid and strict anti-gravedigging system including secret crossbows which may kill people once you are inside the tomb, and a large amount of mercury which will emit much toxic air within the tomb.

Now the entrance for Qin Shihuang’ Mausoleum is also included in your ticket for Terracotta Army Museum – One ticket for two sites. The two sites are 2 km apart connected by free shuttle buses.

Terracotta Amy at Pit One

Terracotta Amy at Pit One

Located  2km east of Qin Shihuang Mausoleum, the Emperor’s afterlife army terracotta soldiers are only part of his mausoleum. These vivid over 2000-year-old soldiers of Terracotta Army were discovered March 24, 1974 by a group of local farmers when they were digging a well.

Now this site of Terracotta army has been turned into a world-famous attraction site, bombarded by tons of tourists visiting this museum. I’ve been to the Terracotta Army Museum for several times.

Below are some of the Terracotta Army travel tips for your reference if you are going to make your maiden trip to the world-famous Terracotta Warriors and Soldiers Museum:

Tip#1: How to get from Xian Xianyang Airport to Terracotta Warriors (TCW)

1. Xian Airport to Lintong Special Bus.
At Xian Xianyang Airport, first take the Airport to Lintong Special Bus. Arriving at Lintong, then change for the local bus for Terracotta Warriors (TCW).
Departure time from Xian Airport: 10:30、12:30、15:30、17:30
Bus fare: 30 yuan ( excluding the local bus from Lintong to TCW)

2. By Taxi
Arriving at Xian Xianyang Airport, line up at the official taxi stand and take taxi for TCW:
Taxi Ride: about one hour and 66 km
Taxi fare: approx. 193 yuan, plus toll fee: 30 yuan

3. Private Transfer
Before getting to Xian Xianyang Airport, you can book a hassle-free private transfer from the airport to TCW. Check out Xian Car Rental with Driver for more information.

Tip#2: How to get from Xian North Railway Station to TCW
If you take high speed train to Xian, you will arrive at Xian North Railway Station.

1.By Subway + Bus
First take subway line 2 and get off at the station of Beidajie (北大街), then interchange for subway line 1 and get off at the station of Fangzhicheng (纺织城枢纽站) . Then take the special bus Tourism Bus 5 (Bus no. 306) going to TCW. The bus station is about 200 m from exit A of Fangzhicheng (Subway line 1).

2.By Taxi
Arriving at Xian North Railway Station, line up at the official taxi stand and take taxi for TCW:
Taxi Ride: about one hour and 50 km
Taxi fare: approx. 150 yuan, plus toll fee: 20 yuan

3. Private Transfer
Before getting to Xian North Railway Station, you can book a hassle-free private transfer from the airport to TCW. Check out Xian Car Rental with Driver for more information.

Tip#3: How to get from Xian Railway Station to TCW
The special Tourism Bus 5 (Bus no. 306) running between Xian Railway Station to Terracotta Army Museum has been moved to Fangzhicheng ( metro line 1) about 200 m from exit A (纺织城枢纽站). The relocation of the bus line is due to the reconstruction and expansion of of Xian Railway Station.

Take subway line 4 from Xian Railway Station and get off the next station of Wulukou (五路口), then interchange for subway line 1, then get off at the station of Fangzhicheng (纺织城枢纽站) . Then take the special bus Tourism Bus 5 (Bus no. 306) going TCW. The bus station is about 200 m from exit A of Fangzhicheng (Subway line 1).

Tip#4: Basic information on Tourism Bus 5 ( Bus No.306)
You don’t have to buy the bus ticket in advance. Just jump on the bus and later a bus guide will come to you and collect the money – RMB 7 per person.

Basic Information on the Bus
Bus Line: Tourism Bus 5 (306)
First Bus: 08:00; Last Bus 19:00
Departure Time: Leave when full.
Line Length: 42 Km
Drive Time: 0ne Hour
Bus Stops: Totally 12 stop on route
Bus Stop No.01: Xian Railway Station
Bus Stop No 08: Huanqing Hots pring
Bus Stop No 12: Terracotta Army

Be sure to get off at the last destination – Terracotta Army Museum since the Bus 5 (306) is scheduled to stop at several tourist attractions including Huaqing  Hot spring, Qin Shihuang’s Mausoleum.

You don’t need to get off at these stops. The very last stop ( the 12th stop ) of this bus is the Terracotta Warriors. Just stay on the bus until you get to the last stop. Remember where you get off the bus terminal.

After finishing your visiting the museum, come to the same parking lot and take the exact bus No 5 (306) since there are some other “fake” bus 306 which eagerly push you to take their buses.

Tip#5: Basic information about Terracotta Warriors and Soldiers Museum
Located 30km east of Xian, the Army of Terracotta Warriors are undoubtedly the greatest archaeological find of the 20th century. The museum is composed of three pits: Pit 1, Pit 2 and Pit 3.

Pit 1 is most impressive and the highlight of the museum. Pits 2 and 3, though interesting, are not as impressive as the pit 1. If you don’t have sufficient time, PIT 2 and PIT 3 can be avoided.

The movie -360 degrees, the background film, is in English and very cool, which takes about 15 minutes long. It gives some background to what you see with your own eyes. It is worth the 15 minutes. The film ticket is included in your entrance fee.

Tip#6: Don’t expect too much from the Museum
Before you visit the terracotta warriors, if you have already read a lot and seen tons of pictures of the Army of Terracotta warriors, you may feel a little disappointed. So there is much hype which causes your visit to be a letdown.

Tip#07: Rent an audio guide? Hire a tour guide? or Using a guidebook?
How to visit the museum? You have three choices:
1) Rent an audio guide ( recorded guide ). You just pay RMB 40 an audio tour. The voice sounds like an American accent and it is easy to understand and informative.

2) Using a tour guide service. When you are going to buy your tickets at the ticketing office, tons of tour guides will come to you, eager to offer you the guide service.

If you haven’t done much homework before you came to Xian. You are advised to hire a local tour guide to guide or translate for you at the price of about RMB 100-150. You will get more knowledge than from a guidebook or the recordings. Just avoid the shopping sites your local guide may suggest you to go.

3) Using a guidebook to guide your tour in and around the museum.

Tip#8: Walking from Ticketing office to Entrance Gate
It takes 5-10 minutes walking from the ticketing office to the entrance gate. If you pay RMB 5, you take a small tram ride to the entrance gate. In my opinion, if you are in good shape, just avoid using the small tram.

Free luggage storage service:
On the left side of the Ticketing Office is the Tourist Information Center which offers free luggage storage service.

Tip#9: Exit from the museum
After you finish visiting the museum and leave for your bus terminal, or in a word, on the way back, you have to pass through an area with a lot of shops and restaurants. This obviously poses some pressure on you to buy some souvenirs or spend some money here.

If you are tender-hearted, and going to buy something to support China’s economy, please bargain!

Tip#10: Some Restaurants Rip off
There are many restaurants leading up to the museum. Some of them just rip you off. So take great care of your money!

Tip#11: Toilets in the museum are free
For the toilets outside the museum, you have to pay. But once you are inside the museum, you enjoy free toilets. They are the same squatting-style facility like everywhere else in china.

Tip#12: Take a taxi to the Museum
It takes about 160 RMB by taxi from the downtown Xian to Army of Terra-Cotta Warriors. Very often you have to bargain with your taxi driver.

Tip#13: Terracotta Army, not Qin Shihuang Mausoleum
If you take Bus 5(306) from Xian Railway Station to Terracotta Army Museum, don’t get off at Qin Shihuang’ Mausoleum. Qin Shihuang’s Mausolem is not much worth visiting since it is just a mound, not excavated yet.

So don’t confuse Terracotta Army with Qin Shihuang’s Mausoleum. The entrance for Qin Shihuang’ Mausoleum is also included in your ticket for Terracotta Army Museum.

A closer look at soldiers and horses

A closer look at soldiers and horses

Tip#14: Opening time and entrance fees
Ticket Selling Hours: 8:30 – 17:00 (March 16 – Nov 15)
8:30 – 16:30 (Nov 16 – March 15)
Time for ticket collecting: 8:30 – 18:00 (March 16 – Nov 15)
8:30 – 17:30 (Nov 16 – March 15)
Entrance Fee: RMB 150 (March 1-November 30); RMB 120 (December 1-the end of February)
The ticket also includes the entrance to Qin Shihuang’ Mausoleum.

Note: There is a cap for the number of visitors ( limited to daily 65000 visitors ). But  basically  you won’t have any problem buying your tickets if you avoid visiting the site during National Holiday ( Oct 01 -07 ).

For booking the tickets online, you use the following two websites ( both in Chinese ):
1) http://piao.ctrip.com/ticket/dest/t1444.html
2) http://order.bmy.com.cn:88/ticket/index.htm

Tip#15: Free luggage storage service:
On the left side of the Ticketing Office is the Tourist Information Center which offers free luggage storage service.

The Terracotta Warriors Museum is open all year round – 365 days every year! Children under the height of 1.2m don’t have to pay.

06611Tip #16: Hassle-free Xian Guided Tours
If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for Xian guided tours:

Xian City Day Tour from US$69
Xian Terracotta Warriors Day Tour A from US$85
Terracotta Army and Song of Everlasting Performance from US$135

Xian 2 Day Tour Package from US$170 p/p
Xian 3 Day Tour Package from US$235 p/p

Terracotta Army  Join-in Escorted Bus Tour RMB 480 p/p
Terracotta Army  Escorted Private Tour  US$ $125 P/P

Further Readings


Beijing Xian High Speed Train Experience
Top 10 Attractions in Xian
Tips for Visiting Muslim Quarter in Xian
Tips for Visiting Xian City Wall
Tips for Visiting Shaanxi History Museum
Tips for Visiting Xian Bell Tower
How Visit Terracotta Army
How to Visit Daming Palace National Heritage Park
Top 10 Photography Spots in Xian
The Night View of Great Tang All Day Mall
Tips for Visiting Hanyang Tombs Xian
The Song of Everlasting Sorrow Show in Xian
Tips for Visiting Big Wild Goose Pagoda
Tips for Visiting Huaqing Hot Springs in Xian
How to Visit Mount Huashan
Top 10 Hostels in Xian
Best Time to Visit Xian

Any questions, just drop a line.

Beijing 144 Hours Free Visa Transit

November 21st, 2019
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Are you planning your Beijing Layover Tour? You may think whether you need a transit visa in Beijing? This is the question frequently asked by many travelers who are going to transit in Beijing and continue to fly for a third country.

Yes, basically you need a Chinese visa to visit Beijing if you want to exit from Beijing Capital Airport for a few hours’ layover tour or 2 or 3 days’ short stay in Beijing. But currently, 53  countries are entitled to 144 hours free visa transit stay in Beijing. So Visa-free travel to Beijing is possible now!

Please note that people having a round trip to Beijing are not entitled to free-visa stay in Beijing.

Which are the 53 countries and what the preconditions for getting the free visa transit stay permit in Beijing? I will answer your questions one by one.

1. Prerequisites for getting the 144 hours transit free visa
1) The Eligible 53 nationalities include 24 Schengen Countries in Europe:
1-1): 24 Schengen countries in Europe:
Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovak, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

2-2): 15 other European countries:
Russia, Great Britain, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republic of Montenegro, Macedonia, Albania, Monaco and the Republic of Belarus.

3-3): 6 American countries:
The United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Chile.

4-4): 2 Oceanian countries:
Australia and New Zealand.

5-5): 6 Asian countries:
Republic of Korea, Japan, Singapore, Brunei, United Arab Emirates, and Qatar.

2) Travelers must have valid passports.

3) Travelers must have confirmed tickets to a third country or regions (Hong Kong and Macau).

Passport Control and Immigration

Officially Designated Entry Points in the three places of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei: 
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Ports of entry and exit are extended to designated international railway stations, seaports and airports.

Previously, the policy was once applied only at airports. Now passengers are allowed to arrive and exit at the following six points in the three places: Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei Province.

Beijing Capital International Airport
Tel: 0086-10-96158

Beijing West Railway Station in the capital
Tel: 0086-10-51824233

Tianjin Binhai International Airport
Tel: 0086-22-96777

Tianjin International Cruise Home Port in Tianjin
Tel: 0086 -22-25605128

Shijiazhuang Zhengding International Airport
Tel: 0086-311-96360

Qinhuangdao seaport in Hebei province
Tel: 0086-335-3099676


How to Apply for 144-Hour free-visa stay in the three areas ( Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei Province):

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When you disembark your plane or ship, just follow the throng or the signs directing you to international arrivals, immigration and customs.

Passport Control/Immigration
In the Passport Control/Immigration Area, find your special lanes for 144-hour visa-free transit passengers.

Some 144-hour transit passengers miss their layover tour in Beijing simply because they cannot locate the special lanes to get the visa-free permit. Actually the special lanes for 144-hours visa-free transit are located just on the left side of the Lanes for Foreign Citizens as well as on the right side of the Lanes for Chinese Citizens.

You need to fill up the entry registration card and get your 144- hours free visa stay permit, a stamp on your passport. The items for filling up the registration to get your 144-hour free visa stay permit:

Name,Sex, Birth, Passport Number, Nationality, Arrival Date, Arrival Flight, Exit Time, Exit Flight, Contact Phone Number in Beijing, Address in Beijing (Tianjin or Hebei), Reception Unit or Person, Reception Unit Phone Number.

Go through Customs, claim your luggage ( if necessary ) and leave airport.

Very Important Notice:
If your airline by which you are travelling doesn’t have the latest information the 144-hour visa free transit policy in Beijing, plus they inform you that only those with valid visa’s can travel with them.

Then you can show them the official website of Beijing Capital Airport to verify that you will not encounter any problems in Beijing. Please check out the links below:

http://en.bcia.com.cn/server/notice/144visafree/

http://en.bcia.com.cn/server/notice/144visafree/144visafree_policy.shtml

What you can do during your 144-hour visa-free stay in the three Areas:
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The 144-hour visa-free transit allows you for a sufficient time to visit Beijing, or Tianjin and Hebei per your travel request.

For more information Beijing tours, Tianjin tour and Hebei tour, please check out the following links:

Beijing Layover tour
Beijing Tour Packages

Tianjin Tour
Tianjin Cruise Port Transfer & Tour

Hebei Tour
Shijiazhuang Tour
Chengde Tour
Zhangjiakou Tour
Qinhuangdao Tour

Further Readings


Top 10 Attractions in Beijing
How to Visit Forbidden City
How to Visit Temple of Heaven
How to Visit Summer Palace
How to Visit Ming Tombs
How to Visit the Great Wall of China
How to Visit Tiananmen Square
How to Visit Hutongs
How to Visit Olympic Sites

Top 10 Markets in Beijing
Top 10 Shopping Malls in Beijing
Beijing Shopping

Wangfujing Night Snack Street
Qianmen Commercial Street
Beijing Huguosi Street

Any questions, just drop a line.

Tips for Visiting the Temple of Heaven

November 11th, 2019
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Map of the Temple of Heaven from www.willgoto.com

Plan your Beijing tour? Temple of Heaven is a big draw in Beijing. The name of the Temple of Heaven is a little misleading. It is more than just a temple, it is a huge park as well.

Inside the huge park, there is a lovely temple complex, which is composed of three main parts – Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, the Imperial Vault of Heaven and Circular Mound Altar sitting along an axis from south to north.

Temple of Heaven is called “Tiantan Park” in Chinese, literally meaning “Temple of Heaven Park”. It was first constructed in 1420, the 18th year of the reign of Ming emperor Yongle. It was the place where the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties would worship the god of heaven and pray for good harvest.

Tip # 01: Get up early to see and feel the locals in the park
Though everyday the temple and historical buildings within the park are open to the public from 8:00 till 17:00, the park itself opens at 6:00 till 22:00. Many local people have yearly tickets for easy access to the park. Get there about 7:00 or 7:30am, especially on a Sunday morning.

You will see local people, most of them are middle-aged or older people doing various kinds of light physical activity you can imagine, like singing, dancing, playing instruments, playing chess, practicing kung fu, tai chi… After 9:30 a.m. it will be slammed with group tourists and is barely worth the subway trip.

Practicing Sword, in Temple of Heaven Park,

Practicing Sword, in Temple of Heaven Park,

 
Tip # 02: Acquaint yourself with the historical buildings in the park
Be prepared for a guidebook or hire a Beijing Tour Guide for your life long trip to the temple complex in the park.Three historical buildings are not missed from north to south, namely the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, the Imperial Vault of Heaven and Circular Mound Altar.

The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests
:
where the emperors sacrificed animals and burned incense sticks to pray for good weather for the crops

the Hall of Pray for Harvest above the Wall

the Hall of Pray for Harvest above the Wall

The Red Stairway Bridge:
The historical buildings are connected by a 360 metre long raised walk called the Red Step Bridge (Danbiqiao), are arranged in a line forming a north south axis 1,200 meters long, and flanked by century-old cypresses in a spacious area.

The Imperial Vault of Heaven: A single gabled circular building, built on a single level of marble stone base. It is located south of the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest. Inside the compound, a circular wall, an echo wall. where you can whisper something from one end and the voice will transmit to the other end.

Imperial Vault of Heaven under the sunset glow

Imperial Vault of Heaven under the sunset glow

Circular Mound Altar: Used to worship Heaven at the winter solstice where the principal construction is a large round marble terrace named the Circular Mound.

The distant view of the Circular Mound Altar under the sunset glow

The distant view of the Circular Mound Altar under the sunset glow

Tip # 03: Don’t miss the Cypress Grove
Always keep in mind that here is a huge park, a huge garden. Old cypress trees are worth having a close look.

Some of the cypresses are more than 600 years old. Dr Henry Kissinger, when he visited the temple, stated that while the USA could recreate the Temple of Heaven if it desired, it could not create the trees!

the Cypress Grove

the Cypress Grove

Tip # 04: Choose the right entrance
Originally the Temple of Heaven had only one main gate, which faced west, but after it was made a public park in 1949, entrances were also opened on the northern, southern and eastern sides.
So now it mainly has four gates – East, South, West and North. Both East Gate and South Gate are highly recommended.

East Gate: If you want to see the local people engaged in all kinds of morning activities, you are advised to enter the east gate since most of the morning activities are carried out around the east gate area.The East Gate entrance is also close to the subway line 05.If you enter the east gate, then your walking itinerary would be east gate – long corridor – The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest – The Imperial Vault of Heaven – Circular Mound Altar – South Gate.

After your north – south tour of the temple, you may turn back and go out of the east gate and head to the Hongqiao Market across the road.

South Gate: Start your tour by entering the south gate, then walk along Danbiqiao raised way to visit Circular Mound Altar – The Imperial Vault of Heaven, The Hall of Prayer for Harvest – Long Corridor – East Gate – Hongqiao Market.

Tip # 05: How to get to the Temple of Heaven
If you visit the Temple of Heaven through the east gate, you take subway line 5 to Tiantan Dongmen Station and take exit A. The East Gate entrance is right there. For the public buses to the east gate, you may try bus 6, 35, 36, 39, 41, 43…

If you use south gate, you take a taxi or take bus 36, 120, 122, 800, 803, 958

Tip # 06: Aware of the daily opening time both for the historical buildings and the park itself

The park opens at 6am and closes at 8pm.
The historical buildings opens 8am and closes around 5:00pm like The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, The Imperial Vault of Heaven and the Circular Mound Altar. For the exact opening time in different seasons are listed below:

Gate:6:00-22:00
The main buildings inside the park
From March 1 to June 30: 8:00 – 17:30
From July 1 to October 31: 8:- 18:00
From November 1 to February 28: 8:00 – 17:00
Kindly reminder: Through tickets selling is stopped at 16:00

Tip #07 Two kinds of entrance tickets at Temple of Heaven
There are two kinds of entrance tickets – Entrance ticket for the park and through tickets for entering the park as well the three main historical buildings within the park.

Entrance Ticket:  An entrance ticket charges RMB 15 (April – November) and RMB 10 (December – March). With the ticket, you to get into the park, see local people do morning exercises.

Through Ticket: The ticket charges RMB 35 (April – November) and RMB 30 (December – March). With a through ticket, you can enter the park and go to visit the three areas in the park – Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, The Imperial Vault of Heaven and the Circular Mound Altar.

Ticket Type Prices
  Entrance Ticket RMB 10 (December to March), RMB 15 ( April  to November)
   Half Price Ticket RMB 5 (December to March), RMB 8 ( April  to November) (students and seniors over 70)
Through Ticket RMB 30 (December to March), RMB 35 ( April  to November)(including the entries to the three areas – Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, The Imperial Vault of Heaven and the Circular Mound Altar)
 Kids under 1.2 meters high  Free of Charge
Tip # 08: Dress for the Hot Weather
Though there are many trees in the park. all the trees are lined on the both sides of the north-south axis. So no single tree on your axis trip – Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, the Imperial Vault of Heaven and the Circular Mound.

For summer time, be ready to bring an umbrella for sun protection, bottles of water, and comfy walking shoes. Check Beijing Climate for more information.Tip # 9 Wear Comfortable Shoes
The park is so huge.  You are advised to wear your most comfortable shoes. It’s a long walk!

Tip # 10  Hassle-free Beijing Guided Tours
If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for Beijing guided tours:

Beijing Highlight Day Tour from US$59 P/P
(Tiananmen + Forbidden City + Mutianyu Great Wall)
Beijing Classic City Tour from US$65 P/P
(Tiananmen + Forbidden City + Temple of Heaven + Summer Palace)
Beijing Excursion Tour from US$59 P/P
(Mutianyu Great Wall + Ming Tomb)
Beijing Hutong Highlight Tour from US$59 P/P
( Hutong + Rickshaw)

Mutianyu Great Wall Half Day Tour from US$55 p/p
Hike from Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall Day Tour from US$69 p/p

Mutianyu Great Wall Layover Tour from US$65 p/p
Beijing Highlight Layover Tour from US$75 p/p

Further Readings


Tips for Visiting Tiananmen Square
Tips for visiting Summer Palace
Forbidden City Travel Tips – The Palace Museum Travel Tips