How to visit Terracotta Army in Xian

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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!


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 ):

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.

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260 Responses to “How to visit Terracotta Army in Xian”

  1. S. Blanks says:

    Hello! I’m going to the Terra Cotta Warriors today from the Xi’an Railway Station (Beike Zhan) and was told to take bus 266, maybe they have changed it or it’s an alternate route. Just FYI

  2. Daniel says:

    Dear S. Blanks,

    Thanks for your feedback! We’ll check out and update the travel guide. Thanks!

  3. Peter says:

    Hi Daniel,

    It was mentioned that to be able to get the free shuttle bus to TCW, we need to have the high-speed train ticket on the same day and that we have bought the ticket for the Terra-cotta Army. We don’t have the TCW tickets yet and it’s hard to purchase online because it’s in Chinese. Is there a way to purchase the TCW tickets at the station to be able to get the free shuttle bus tickets?



  4. Daniel says:

    Dear Peter,

    Basically you can easily buy TCW tickets at Xian North Railway Station, plus your high speed train tickets, you can swap for e free ride to TCW. Have a nice trip.

  5. Tudo bem?
    Estarei em Pequim e farei um bate e volta a Xian. Chegarei às 08:30 na Xian Station (西安火车站) e retornarei através da Xian Bei North Station (西安北火车站) no trem que sai às 18:20. Ou seja, vou no trem noturno e retorno no de alta velocidade para ter as duas experiências. A ida ao museu dos guerreiros me parece tranquila. Minha dúvida está em relação ao traslado de volta (Terracota até Xian Bei north station). Quais são e onde posso pegar as conduções mais seguras/confiáveis? É tranquilo pegar um táxi? Qual o tempo aproximado de duração da viagem? O que vocês me recomendam?
    No aguardo de suas orientações, desde já agradeço

  6. Daniel says:

    Caro Eduardo Lopes,

    Obrigado para SEU inquérito!Desculpem o atraso de resposta!

    Você Pode Tomar o ônibus gratuito de Xian Norte estação ferroviária para o exército de Terracota, e então de Volta para a estação depois de SUA visita.Por favor, gerir o SEU tempo de visita no exército de Terracota para apanhar o Comboio de Alta Velocidade para Pequim.

    TEM um BOM tempo!Qualquer dúvida, por favor, envie – NOS um e – mail para


    Dear Eduardo Lopes,

    Thanks for your inquiry! Sorry for my delayed reply!

    You can take the free shuttle bus from Xian North Railway Station to the Terracotta Army, and then back to the station after your visit. Please manage your visiting time in Terracotta Army to catch your high speed train back to Beijing.

    Have a nice time! Any questions, please email us at

  7. Seb says:

    Dear Daniel!

    So here are two questions I’m having – we’re thinking about flying into Beijing..spending some time there, flying Beijing – Xi’an..question is:
    1) going from the airport to the Terracotta Army – is that a possibility?
    2) would be mid-day..good time to visit?
    3) going terra-cotta Army back to the hotel, staying a night, flying back to Beijing
    4) staying another night/day in Beijing, going to see the wall too – any place real close, which you’d recommend from around the area “forbidden city”?

    Thanks for your help!!

  8. Daniel says:

    Dear SEb,

    Awfully sorry for my delayed reply!

    1) going from the airport to the Terracotta Army – is that a possibility?
    Yes, it is possible. Xian airport is located to the northwest of Xian city proper while the Terracotta Army to the northeast. The airport and the Terracotta Army are about 60 km apart with about one hour’s taxi drive.

    2) would be mid-day..good time to visit?
    If you visit middle of the day, you can avoid the possble crowds of domestic tourist groups ( lunch time). Good!

    3) going terra-cotta Army back to the hotel, staying a night, flying back to Beijing
    Not a bad idea to stay overnight and fly out for Beijing next day. Suggest you take an evenning flight back to Beijing NEXT DAY, so that you have morning time to visit Xian City Wall and other attractions in Xian.

    4) staying another night/day in Beijing, going to see the wall too – any place real close, which you’d recommend from around the area “forbidden city”?
    When you say “any place real close”, do you mean “any sights worth visiting near Forbidden City”? You can visit Jingshan Park and get to the top of the park hill to have a bird’s-eye view of Forbidden City and the city as a whole.
    For more information on Jingshan Park, please check out the link below:

    Hope you have a good time in China!

  9. Panders says:

    Hi Great info thank you

    We are just in Xi’an for one night.

    We will be staying at the Bell Tower hotel near Xi’an station and we will get the tourist bus from there to TCW.

    However we are leaving for Beijing the same evening from Xian NORTH station. Will we be able to get the free shuttle bus to Xi’an North Station with our outbound tickets from Xi’an North to Beijing?

    Many thanks


  10. Daniel says:

    Dear Panders,

    Basically you need to change for your free pass for the shuttle bus at North Station. So you cannot have a free pass for the return bus at TCW.

    In your case, you may try your luck at TCW bus departure with your outbound ticket. But we are not sure you can get the free pass. Good luck!

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