Archive for the ‘Shaanxi Travel’ Category

How to use ATM in China

Saturday, June 9th, 2018
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Plan your China tour? Generally speaking, China is a very ATM friendly country, especially in the large cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hongkong, Macao and the list can be much longer.

Most of the local ATMs machines accept Visa and Master. CITIBANK card and HSBC are also very popular in China because Citibank and HSBC have an agreement with UnionPay.

For other cards, you may check the ATMs you are going to use and see if they have the logos and signs for your credit cards.

Then how to use ATMs in China?

 

ATMs in China

 1. It is a good idea to get most of cash you are going to use in China through ATMs by using your credit card or debit cards, and dont’ be bothered with great amount of cash before your departure carrying from your home country.

2. Don’t forget to inform your credit card company that you’ll be visiting China or oversea so they don’t block your purchases.

3 Scan your cards (front and back), keep emergency numbers separately in case you lose your credit cards.

4. You should take some home-currency cash with you to exchange at the airport or your hotel upon arrival for taxis or other small expenses, mainly in case that ATMs don’t work or run out of money. Takes one ATM card and possibly a back-up.

5. The major ATMs of the local banks in China include Bank of China, Merchants Bank, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China Construction Bank and China Agriculture Bank.

VISA and MasterCard debit cards work in most Bank of China ATMs. For the ATMs of the other major banks, please look for a network symbol on the machine that matches a network symbol on the back of your card. CITIBANK card and HSBC card can work in most ATM in China because Citibank and HSBC have an agreement with UnionPay.

6. Most Atms distribute the foreign languages including Chinese(simplified), Chinese(traditional), English, French, Spanish, Portuguese…

7. Most Chinese banks distribute 100 yuan note(You can withdraw 100 yuan minimum.). Check out “How to recognize Chinese currency?“.

8. Most ATM cards issued by major networks can be used in China, transaction fees may be different though, most charge around RMB20 or RMB30 for a one time transaction of RMB2500.

If you are using an ATM Debit card, usually the charges are comparable to drawing money in your own country. If you are using a Credit Card, it can be extremely expensive depending on your bank and how long you take to pay back the money.

9. Keep your ATM receipts so you can re-exchange your Chinese currency back for your home currency on your way out.

10. Basically taking cash out of the ATMs in China is very safe.

06611Tip:  Hassle-free China 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 guided tours to China.

China join-in small group tours.
China Private Tours.
China Train Tours.
China City Tours.
China Provincial Tours.

Further Readings


Top 10 China experiences China’s Top 10 Most Beautiful Mountains
The Top 10 Most Beautiful Lakes in China The most beautiful waterfalls in China
Top 10 Most Beautiful Grasslands in China Top 10 Most Beautiful Villages in China
Top 10 Old Towns in China The Most Beautiful Rivers in China
Top 10 Places to See Autumn Leaves in China

Any questions, just drop a line

How to visit Terracotta Army in Xian

Thursday, June 7th, 2018
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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 depart 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.

Tips for Visiting Xian Bell Tower

Monday, May 14th, 2018
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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.

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.

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