Archive for the ‘Xian Attractions & Tips’ Category

How to visit Terracotta Army in Xian

Saturday, February 3rd, 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.

Terracotta Amy at Pit One

Terracotta Amy at Pit One

Located 1.5km 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.

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.
The shuttle buses depart hourly.

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.

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 Huaqing Hot Springs in Xian

Friday, May 27th, 2016
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Plan your side trip to Huaqing Hot Springs after visiting Terracotta Warriors? You may wonder if the site of the “Hot Springs”is worth your visit or whether you need to bring your bathing suits.

Well, “hot spring” is really a misnomer in this case. Generally speaking Huaqing Hot Springs refer to a huge park sitting below the northern slope of Lishan Mountain, 32km east of Xian Bell Tower, and 8 km west of Terracotta Warriors Museum.

The park is rebuilt on the royal palace in Tang Dynasty ( 618 -907 ), which mainly comprises the royal gardens and the royal hot springs. The royal hot springs are an excavated site, kept original, an artefact without actual springs running and housed in a museum in the park.

Tips
tips-11. Why Visit Huaqing Hot Springs
So why the bother to visit a big park since there are tons of parks in China. Before deciding whether to visit the park,  you may consider the following factors relative to the park:

1) Romantic Love Story
This is the actual site of romance of Emperor Xuanzang (685-762) and Lady Yang (719-756 ) at the Pear gardens in Tang Dynasty ( 618 – 907 ).

The Marble Statue of Lady Yang

The Marble Statue of Lady Yang

There were hot spring pools built for the emperor , concubine for leisure and recreation. It is an interesting insight and perspective into Chinese history and culture.

Crabapple Pool built 747 for Lady Yang

Crabapple Pool built 747 for Lady Yang

2) A Park with Nice Landscape Gardens and Buildings
The park is a history repackage of the former royal gardens with traditional Chinese architectures.

There is a peaceful Nine Dragon Lake, pavilions, palaces, fruit gardens and hot springs with the backdrop of the picturesque Lishan Mountain.

Gardening and Landscaping in Huaqing Hot Springs

Gardening and Landscaping in Huaqing Hot Springs

3 ) Xian Incident
Nationalist Chiang Kai-shek (1887 – 1975) once also frequented this imperial palace. Chiang Kai-shek was a Chinese political and military leader who served as the leader of the Republic of China between 1928 and 1975.

This was the place where he was “kidnapped” in the famous Xi’an incident of 1936. He was forced to forge the alliance between the KMT and the Communist Party against the Japanese. The incident greatly increased the status of the Communist Party at the time.

Chiang Kai-shek‘s Temporarily Office in Huaqing Hot Springs

Chiang Kai-shek‘s Temporarily Office in Huaqing Hot Springs

4) The Song of Everlasting Sorrow Evening Show
The Song of Everlasting Sorrow Show is presented on the real-scene in Huaqing Hot Springs with the backdrop of Lishan Mountain and the ponds, pavilions, corridors and palaces in the background.

The Song of Everlasting Sorrow Show

The Song of Everlasting Sorrow Show

The performance is adapted on the same name poem written by the famous Tang Dynasty poet Bai Juyi (772-846) retelling the lament of the court concubine Yang  Yuhuan and  Emperor Xuanzong.

If you are interested in Chinese history, especially Tang Dynasty,  and Chinese landscaping, Huaqing Hot Springs are worth your visit.

2. How to Get There
The park of Huaqing Hot Springs is located about 32 km to the east of Xian Bell Tower and 8 km west of Terracotta Warriors Museum. Basically, people would combine Terracotta Army and Huaqing Hot Spring on the same travel route.

1) Take Tourism Bus No.5 (306) directly from Xian Railway Station to Huaqing Hot Springs Station; or take Tourism Bus No.5 (306) from Terracotta Army.
Bus fare: RMB6
Estimated  Bus Ride Time: 45 minutes ( Railway Station to Huaqing Hot Springs)

2) Take a free shuttle bus from Xian North Railway Station to Huaqing Hot Springs; or from Terracotta Army to Huaqing Hot Springs.

3. Entrance Fees & Opening Hours.
Entrance Fee:
RMB 150 (Mar 1 – Nov 30)
RMB 120 (Dec 01 –  Feb)
Children below 1.2 meters: free of Charge
Opening Hours:
07:00 – 18:00 (Mar 01 – Nov 30)
07:30 – 18:30 (Dec 01 – Feb )
Suggested visit time: 2-3 hours

4. Everlasting Song of Sorrow Evening Show
The performance is presented on the real-scene in Huaqing Hot Springs. It is adapted on the same name poem written by the famous Tang Dynasty poet Bai Juyi (772-846) retelling the lament of the court concubine Yang  Yuhuan (719-756) and  Emperor Xuanzong (685-762) .

In the story,  Emperor Xuanzong fell deeply in love with his beautiful concubine Yang Yuhuan ( Yang Guifei ). His love diverted his focus on his ruling duties and caused much trouble to his country that led to a military coup. The ministers and the soldiers around Emperor Xuanzong thought that it was  the concubine Yang  Yuhuan who had caused the chaos. Later under the pressure,  Emperor Xuanzong had his favorite concubine Yang Yuhuan killed to save the country.

The poem-turned drama is presented in four parts with a preclude and 10 scenes. The four parts include “Fall in Love”, “A Sweet Couple”, “Goodbye to Love” and “Meet again on Fairyland”.

Show Time:
Twice performances a day ( Valid from April through October )
20:00 – 21:10; 21:40 – 22:50
Entrance Fees:
RMB 220 ( east or west side area):
RMB 260 ( central area);
VIP area: RMB 988/888/588

5. Combo Tour of Terracotta Army
Both Huaqing Hot Springs and Terracotta Army are on the same eastern travel route from Xian’s city center, which can be combined to have a day trip.

6. Stay Overnight in Lintong
Lintong District is one of nine districts of Xi’an. The Terracotta Army and Huaqing Hot Springs are both located in Lintong. If you have enough  time in Xian, you may stay overnight in Lintong after a heavily scheduled combo tour of Terracotta Army and Huqing Hot Springs.

Alternatively you can separate the comb day tour into two days – first day on Terracotta Army and the second day on Huaqing Hot Spring with the first night on the Everlasting Song of Sorrow Evening Show.

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.

Tips for Visiting Xian Bell Tower

Monday, 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.

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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