Archive for the ‘Xian Attractions & Tips’ Category

When is the best time to visit Xian?

Tuesday, January 8th, 2019
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When you are planning your Xian tour, one of the frequently asked questions likely to tantalize you is “When is the best time to visit Xian?”.  As one of the oldest cities in Chinese history, Xian is one of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China.

Unlike other scenic cities in China, Xian is well known for its historical sites and relics which are little influence by seasons. As a matter of fact, Xian is a place which you can visit on all seasons.

Xian enjoys four distinct seasons with warm spring, hot summer, cool and rainy autumn and dry winter. The weather is generally pleasant all year round. Use this travel guide to help you make a smart decision about when to visit Xian. Check out below to have some information on each season:

Xian in Spring ( March – May )
Spring or autumn is considered as the best season to visit Xian, which is neither too hot nor to cold. But the sporadic sandstorm in spring has kept people on alert when they plan their spring trip to Xian.

In spring, you can visit the historical relics, such as Terra-cotta Warriors or Horses Big Wild Goose Pagoda; you can also go to climb Mount Hua.

With gentle breezes and warm sunshine, spring in Xian is really a good time of year for outdoor activities and traveling.

Xian in Spring

Xian in Spring

Xian in Summer ( June – August )
Summer in Xian, which usually lasts from June to August, becomes both hot and humid. The blooming flowers and colored leaves dot the mountains.You have to make full preparation from sunburn.

There is always rainstorm in summer, be sure to take the umbrella with you. Of course, if you are interested in Xian Snacks, go there in summer is a good choice for you. The night markets come alive as the sun went down in summer.

Xian in Autumn (September – November)
During autumn, Xian is filled colors as several species of trees change the color of their leaves. Autumn is the high season for people to visit Xian. Fall period are the months of September, October and November, and the weather is fine and pleasant.

You are kindly advised to skip over China National Holiday in October when you plan your Xian Tours, since there are so many people during that time.

Xian in Winter ( November – February )
Winter is an off-season for traveling in Xian. If you are more of a person who loves winter and would like to go skiing down some of the most breath-taking sites in Xian, Xian still welcomes you during the winter months.Winter lasts from December to February, dry and cold with a little snow.The coldest month is January, with an average temperature of 0 C. The most advantage to visit Xian in winter is that you can save money and see fewer visitors, thus avoiding tourist crowds. Winter in Xian is cold, make sure to take enough thick clothes with you.

Crowd Information
Xian gets very crowded and busy during school vacations and public holidays. You are kindly advised to skip over the Official Chinese Holidays when you plan your Xian Tours. Please jot down the following public holidays:New Year’ Day ( 1st Jan, three-day holiday )
Chinese New Year ( later Jan and early Feb )
Tomb Sweeping Day ( Early April, 3-day holiday )
Mid-Autumn festival ( Aug-Sept, 3-day holiday )
May Day ( 1st May, three-day holiday)

Tip: 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

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.

How to visit Terracotta Army in Xian

Wednesday, January 2nd, 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!

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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: Going there by bus is highly recommended
For money-saving trip to the Army of Terracotta Warriors, take a public bus is a good choice. You have two choices:

Choice One:
It is very easy to find the special Tourism Bus 5 (Bus no. 306) running between Xian Railway Station to Terracotta Army Museum. If you stand facing Xian Railway Station, The Bus 5(306) parks at the parking lot on your right or east side.

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: 07:00; Last Bus 19:00
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.

Choice Two:
If you arrive at Xian North Railway Station in Xian, you can take the free shuttle bus from Xian North Railway Station to the Terracotta Army site provided that you have an arrival high-speed train ticket on the same day and you have bought the ticket for the Terra-cotta Army.

To get the free shuttle bus pass, you need to go to the information center in Xian North Railway Station to buy your entry ticket for Terracotta Army. The Information Center is located south of the entrance to Subway Line 2 on the B1 of Xian North Railway Station.

You use your arrival train ticket and the admission ticket for Terracotta Amy in exchange for  the free shuttle bus pass going to Terracotta Army. The free shuttle pass is valid for three days. That means if you arrive at Xian North Railway Station later in the evening, you can use the free shuttle pass for next day.

As  for where to take the free shuttle bus,  please turn to the information center for the details.

There are luggage deposit offices in the station. Please go to Information Center for more detailed information;

The shuttle buses leave hourly:

1. Shuttle Buses from Xian North Railway Station to Terracotta Warriors
First Bus at 8:00 am and last bus at 4:00 pm

2. Shuttle Buses from Terracotta Warriors back to Xian North Railway Station
First Bus at 10:00 am and last bus at 7:00 pm

3. Stops, travel time and operating time
There are four stops ( from the station to the terracotta Warriors ) : 1) Lintong National Tourism Resort 临潼国家旅游休闲度假区 2) Lishan Mountain 骊山 3) Huaqing Hot Spring 华清池 4) Terracotta Warriors 兵马俑
The shuttle buses take about one hour for single trip.

4.  The free shuttle pass is valid for three days.

Chinese: 西安北站乘坐免费大巴前往兵马俑
English: Free Shuttle Bus from Xian North Railway Station to Terra-cotta Army.

Tip # 2: 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 # 03: 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 # 04: 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 # 05: 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 # 06: 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 # 07: 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 # 08: 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 # 09: 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 # 10: 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 # 11: Opening time and entrance fees
Opening Hours: 8:30AM – 5:30PM
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

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 #12: 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.

How to visit Xiyue Temple

Saturday, October 20th, 2018
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If you are going to visit Mt.Huashan on your Xian trip, don’t miss Xiyue Temple, which is bound with Mt.Huashan in one entrance combo ticket. That means if you buy an entrance ticket for Mt.Huashan, you can use the same ticket to enter Xiyue Temple.

That said, this is not the main reason that you should visit Xiyue Temple. I think, Xiyue Temple itself is really worth your time for a look, broadening your knowledge of Chinese traditional culture.

As you know, Mt.Huashan is one of the five sacred Taoist mountains in China. Each of them has a temple to shrine the God of its mountain. As Dai Temple for the God of Mt.Taishan, Xiyue Temple is for the God of Mt.Huashan. “Xiyue” means the West Mountain, one of the five Taoist mountains ( east, west, north, south and central mountains).

Xiyue Temple was originally built by Wu Emperor (134BC) in West Han Dynasty (202BC-09AD). It was relocated to the present place in East Han Dynasty (25AD-220AD). The temple received great expansions in Sui and Tang dynasties (581AD-907AD). It further developed and reached its climax in Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368AD-1911AD). Unfortunately Xiyue Temple was heavily damaged during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976).

In 1979 with the establishment of Xiyue Temple Relics Administration, Xiyue Temple’s great restoration work started. In 1988, Xiyue Temple was listed as China’s National Key Protection Relics. Now Huashan Scenic Spot has become a AAAAA national scenic area, attracting huge number of tourists home and abroad each year.

Opening Hours:
07:00-19:00 (Mar-Nov)
08:00-18:00 (Dec-Feb)

Entrance Ticket (combined with Mt.Huashan):
RMB 180 (Mar-Nov)
RMB 100 (Dec-Feb)
Remark: Your ticket is valid for two days.

How to get there
Xiyue Temple is about 2.2km southeast of Huashan North Railway Station and 5km north of Mt.Huashan. With an entrance ticket, you are able to use the free shuttle buses running between Xiyue Temple and Mt.Huashan. From Huashan North Railway Station, you can easily get to Xiyue Temple by half hour’s walk.

Note: During tourist low season ( Dec, Jan and Feb ), there will be probably no shuttle bus service connecting the north railway station, Xiyue Temple and the tourist center. If so, You need to take a local taxi from the train station to the tourist center (where you purchase your entrance ticket). Taxi fare around 10 yuan or 20 yuan, you should haggle with your taxi driver.

Xiyue Temple used to be an imperial worshipping place for the God of Mt.Huashan. So its buildings had higher level of architectures, quite different from the temples of the local communities or common people. It resembles the greatness of Forbidden City. See the photo below, does it look like Forbidden City? It is Xiyue Temple!

It is Xiyue Temple

Look like “Forbidden City“?. It is Xiyue Temple!  Xiyue Temple faces Mt.Huanshan. Its basic layout goes along the axis from south to north through 6 courtyards including Haoling Gate, Lingxing Gate, Jincheng Gate, Imperial Garden, Wanshou Pavilion etc. The present temple is mainly based on the remaints of Ming and Qing dynasties.

A huge colored glazed screen wall, 30m long and 6m wide, stands in front of the Xiyue Temple Gate.

A huge screen wall stands in front of the Xiyue Temple Gate

Haoling Gate
This is the first gate of Xiyue Temple, named “Haoling Gate”, also called “Three Gates” indicating the inner city between the gates. It was first built in Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). It is brick-stone city wall architecture with coloured glazed tiles in single-eave saddle roof style.

This is the first gate of Xiyue Temple

The first gate of Xiyue Temple also called – Three Gates – indicating the inner city between the gates. The characters above the gate read “Building Xiyue Temple at the imperial order”.

The first gate of Xiyue Temple also called – Three Gates – indicating the inner city between the gates.

Lingxing Gate
The gate gets its name from Ling Star, in ancient time, people sacrifice the star to pray for good harvest. The gate door shape is like window lattice. so it was renamed as the present one. It was a group of Ming-Qing architectures.

Lingxing Gate

Lingxing Gate


The gate door shape is like window lattice

The gate door shape is like window lattice

It was a group of Ming-Qing architectures

It was a group of Ming-Qing architectures

Jincheng Gate
Jincheng Gate is in front of the main building in Xiyue Temple – Haoling Palace. When originally built in Ming Dynasty, it was named Jintian Gate.

After Zuo Zhongtang, the general of Qing Dynasty suppressed the rebellion, the gate was renamed “Jincheng Gate”, meaning the golden city gate, solid and firm for the area.

Jincheng Gate

Jincheng Gate


Golden River Bridge
Known as Watching Immortal Bridge, it is a stone arch bridge of three-bridge and 4-ponds structure.

Golden River Bridge

The pavilions in front of Haoling Palace

The pavilions in front of Haoling Palace

Haoling Palace
Haoling Palace is the master palace in Xiyue Temple, a leading place to sacrifice the God of Mt.Huanshan, which in the past was done by the numerous emperors in successive dynasties.

In the palace, the statue of Huashan God and other gods are worshipped here. 

The Haoling Palace, the master palace in Xiyue Temple

Sleep Palace
Behind Haoling Palace is the sleep palace for the God of Huashan and his wife. It is a single-eave saddle roof style. It is a place for God to settle down.

Sleep Palace

Yushu Lou (Imperial Calligraphy Building)
The buiding houses a stele engraved with the characters written by Emperor Qianlong in Qing Dynasty. The imperial calligraphy was used to pray for rain.

Imperial Calligraphy Building

Longevity Tower
Longevity Tower is the last and the highest building in Xiyue Temple. It is a 3-storey structure built on a high platform. Unfortunately it was destroyed in war. The present tower was rebuilt in 2000.

Longevity Tower

Xiyue Temple City Wall and Corner Towers
The Xiyue Temple is laid out like a Ming-Qing Palace. It is rectangle in shape with 525m long(north-south) and 225m wide (east-west). Each of its four corners has a corner tower similar to those of Forbidden City.

Xiyue Temple City Wall

Xiyue Temple City Wall

Corner Towers

Corner Towers

Wall and Corner Tower

Wall and Corner Tower

Temple, Wall and Tower

Temple, Wall and Tower


Again have a look at the splendid temple

Again have a look at the splendid temple

Add on:

How to visit Xiyue Temple

Tip: 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

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.