My Trip to Xian
We have returned home and wanted to thank you for the nice Xian tour you planned for us. We were very happy with the Xian Hotel, very clean and very nice, food was very good so was the service. Also I want to tell you we were very happy having Vicki as our tour guide, she is a great tour guide, very smart and has a lot of knowledge of her country. She was very detailed explaining everything to us and her English is very good. Our flight into Xian arrived two hours late and frankly I didn't think anyone was going to be there that late at night waiting for us, but there was Vicki with a big smile on her face and that was a wonderful sight and great welcome.
Because of the good experience we had we plan on recommending any of our friends who plan to go to Xian to contact your company, you were always very prompt at answering any of my questions and then having Vicki as a tour guide made it even better.
I'd like to other people to share my experience in Xian.
Day 01 ( May 22,2007 ) Beijing - Xian by later flight
Got to Xian Tangcheng Hotel at 10:20pm
My husband had a business meeting during the week in Beijing. Having longed for the tour of Xian, I searched on the internet and booked a three-day Xian tour package through tour-beijing.com and traveled to Xian with my 10-year old son. Our flight into Xian arrived two hours late and frankly I didn't think anyone was going to be there that late at night waiting for us, but there was Vicki with a big smile on her face and that was a wonderful sight and great welcome. The Xian airport is called Xian Xianyang International Airport, 45kms from the city proper. We got to Xian Tangcheng Hotel at 10:20pm. The hotel staff at the counter were very kind and helpful, speaking very good English. We had a quick registration. Vicki told us to have a good sleep since we would have a heavy schedule next day.
Xian Tangcheng Hotel
The hotel is located south outside the Xian city wall in Yanta District, not far from Big Goose Pagoda. It offers guestrooms furnished with air-conditioning, mini-bar, free high-speed Internet, cable TV with in-house movies, telephone, and room safe. It has a very nice impressive lobby. The rooms are clean and comfortable. The breakfast is good.
Address: No.229, Nan Duan, Hanguang Road, Yanta District, Xian
Day 02 ( May 23, 2007 )Xian - Terra Cotta Warriors, Banpo Museum, City Wall, Tang Dynasty Dinner show
8:30-12:00 Terra Cotta Warriors
I have always longed to see the Terra Cotta Warriors, so this section of the trip was very exciting for me. It was exciting because of the historical background behind the emperor and it was just so amazing to see the statues, of which no two are alike.
Qin Shi Huang was a great historical figure. He is the reason that China is one country. And the name China comes from his name. He unified the country, enforced one written language, one monetary system etc. But he was extremely ruthless about it. His great feat was unifying China at the cost of many, many lives. The most intriguing thing was that, as the tour guide told me, the farmer who made the original discovery now works for the Museum. But it was a pity that he wasn't there that day. He was an illiterate farmer when he first found the statues. Now he is sort of a celebrity. It is said that the only words he knows how to write is his name. If you buy the book, he will sign it for you for free.
The terra-cotta army was beyond my expectation. I didn't expect the terra cotta armies to be housed in a large building that looked like a modified airplane hangar. But it does makes sense, a kind of god way to protect the dig site somehow, I feel. Many of the statues were destroyed shortly after Qin Shi Huang's death and have been restored. In the back of the building, you can see where they are working on restoring more of them.
Pit No.1 - the right army
At the entrance of the museum, you see a large modern structure right ahead. It is the Pit No. 1. With 14,260 square meters and it is the largest of the three pits. The Pit No.1 was found in 1974. The entire mausoleum and military necropolis was built through much of Qinshihuang's reign, strating in 221BC and ending in 209BC. The first pit was discovered by a farmer digging a water well: this shaft can be seen at the very, very edge of Pit #1. Pit #3 is considered the headquarters of the army, with the soldiers arranged around key officials. Pit #1 was the right army, and Pit #2 the left army.
Pit No.2 - the left army
Pit No. 2 was discovered in 1976. All the pits are still under excavation. Many of the statues are still in pieces.
This standing archer is enclosed in a glass case off to the side of the pit. I love the different expressions and facial features on all the statues. Every statue is different. It is 20 meters northeast of No. 1 Pit. It houses over a thousand warriors and 90 chariots of wood.
Pit No.3 - the headquarters of the army
Pit No. 3 was also discovered in 1976. It was probably the command center of the Qin terra cotta armies. It is located 25 meters northwest of No. 1 Pit. It looked like to be the headquarters of the army. It went on display in 1989, with 68 warriors, a war chariot and four horses.
The two chariots made in bronze, gold and silver. In fact thay are half size the real chariots. They have been restored for long time because when they have been discovered they were in pieces. Their purpose is supposed to be the vehicle that the emperor would have used in his afterlife inspections of the Army. The one I took here, having 4 horses, is supposed to be the most important one.
12:30-14:00 Having lunch at a neat restaurant near the Terra-cotta army
The lunch was excellent. They offered very delicious local noodles and yangrou paomuo, which is lamb soup with small pieces of breads and many more.
14:00-16:00 Visit Banpo Neolithic Village
Banpo Neolithic Village Museum gets its name from the remains of Banpo village which is loaacted east of Xian. The remains were discovered in 1953. The village was inhabited from about 4500 B.C. to 3750 B.C. The museum was constructed in 1958. When you enter the museum, there are the hall containing the ruins, the cultural relics, and also the clay cave ruins. A Banpo Lady Statue on the rock in the garden pond has a physical resemblance to the early Banpo people.
It is recorded that about 6000 years ago, a village was set up by a late Neolithic people. There were about 500 villagers who lived in the village. Visitors can still see the remains of over 40 houses, over 200 cellars, 6 kilns. At that time it was a matriarchal society built on farming. The houses were made of thatch over wood beams while the floors were dug two to three feet into the ground. Heat was offered by a fire in the center of the house. Food was kept in underground caves, deep enough to protect from wildlife or infected by insects.
17:00-18:00 Xian Ancient City Wall
I highly recommend that you walk along this wall and enjoy the ambience and views. The present wall was constructed over remains of earlier walls built from 582AD and added to through time. It was fully rebuilt during the Ming Dynasty. It is regarded as one of the most complete ancient fortifications in China today at almost 14 km in length 15 metres wide at the top. Its fortifications include a moat, hanging bridge, gate towers and turrets. The Ming City wall encircles the city in a rectangle with one gate on each side. On the wall, fortifications such as watch towers, ramparts, (duo-kou) were built into a complex and well-organized system of defense. There are total 98 ramparts on the wall. The City Wall of Xi'an is the only well preserved walls in China. The City Wall of Beijing was tearing down make way for development and subway construction purposes. What a pity!!
19:00-19:30 Drive to Shaanxi Grand Opera House Dinner for Tang Dynasty Dinner Show
Tang Dynasty Dinner Show is a combination of food and entertainment that shows the costumes, music, and dancing of China's golden age - the Tang dynasty (618 - 907). The food is delicious including Xi'an dumplings, black mushroom consomme, prawns with honey glazed walnuts, beef tenderloin, fried rice, and jasmine tea.
Imperial Dumpling Dinner
For dinner, we got appetizers and then somewhere between 10-15 dumplings. I lost count. Each dumpling had a different filling. And they were often in the shape of what the filling was. There was a lot food.
20:30-22:00 Stage Opera Show of the Tang Dynasty
Show of the Tang Dynasty
The performance starts with an ancient Chinese musical instrument ensemble while you are having dinner and then later the cultural dance segment begins. The costumes are splendid and you can get some really nice photos if you sit near the stage. One of the highlights of the show is a solo performance by a classical musician who plays the ancient "pai xiao" flute. The instrument's sound was inspired by the warbling of an oriole and the gentleman who performs is very animated throughout the song.
Day 03 ( May 24, 2007 )Xian - Shaanxi Museum, Great Wall Mosque, Big Goose Pagoda and fly back to Beijing
8:30-10:30 Shaaxi Provincial Museum
Shaanxi Provincial Museum is no doubt one of the best museums in China with a huge collection of more than 370,000 exhibits, though any of us can't see all of its exhibits. The architecture complex was constructed after the Tang Dynasty. The exhibits cover the age from Stone Age-1.7 million years ago to 20 century. The museum opens from 8:00 to 17:00. The fare is 35 yuan. It is a must see attraction like Terra-cotta Army.
Shaanxi Provincial Museum
10:30-11:30 Great Mosque
Right beside the Drum Tower begin the Muslim quarters. This place is a myriad of interesting handicraft shops, muslim restaurants and vendors and narrow streets where you can spend much much time walking and walking. The mosque was set up in 742 AD during the Tang Dynasty.
The mosque is located in a narrow alleyway that is filled with vendors selling souvenirs of all sorts. As in much of the Islamic quarter, it all seems very chaotic but once you do actually find the Great Mosque you will find some measure of peace. The Great Mosque dates from 742 when Muslim traders made it Xian by way of the Silk Road. I have been to many mosques in the Middle East, South Asia, North Africa and even Canada but this one is quite different from any other that I have visited. This is because of the fascinating blend of Chinese and Islamic architecture. For instance what would be a minaret used for the calls to prayer in the Middle East is a pagoda in China more resembling those in a Buddhist temple. The whole mosque is set up in a succession of courtyards not unlike a Buddhist or Daoist temple. The difference might be that the mosque faces east instead of south. The prayer all, which I could not enter not being a Muslim, is quite pretty and was very active during my visit. The Great Mosque is open from 8am to 7pm daily but on Friday's access might be restricted to Muslims only.
11:30-12:30 Big Goose Pagoda
The Big Wild Goose Pagoda is located in south of Xi'an. It was built in Tang Dynasty, about 1300 years ago. Now it is the symbol of Xian city. Besides, it's also the famous building in the Buddhist religion. The pagoda was first built for a monk named Xuanzang. It was said that it took Xuanzang 17 years to bring back over a thousand volumes of Buddhist materials from India to Xi'an, the capital of China in that time. The emperor ordered to set up a temple and a pagoda for him to store the Buddhist materials. The temple is Daci'en Temple, and the pagoda is the Big Wild Goose Pagoda.
Big Goose Pagoda
14:00 Leave from Xian and fly back to Beijing
I am back home from my trip to China, I am very satisfied about the tour in Xian. Most at all over my Guide Vicki- she was very nice and carefull. She did her job very good and know a lot of things over the places whe visit. You must be very happy to have a guide as Vicki at your service. Also the driver Mr. Wang did his job good, he is a very good driver.
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