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!

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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.

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

  1. Daniel says:

    Hi Andy Titus,

    Taking free shuttle buses takes more time. Taxiing is more realistic. If you insist on using public transport, you may take the overnight train from Xian Railway Station to Beijing West Railway Station.

    Have a good time in Xian!

  2. Nanda says:

    Hello, we just went back from terracota warrior. We rode 306 bus tourism no.5 blue bus, different than the one that we took to get here. Is this the right bus? If this bus is fake, where will it bring us to? We want to go to bell tower. Thankyou very much 🙂

  3. Daniel says:

    Hi Nanda,

    Happy Holidays!

    Where are you now? Are you safe back to your hotel by riding the blue bus? Hope you are all right.

  4. Martin Nel says:

    Hallo
    I will be arriving at Xian North Railway station by overnight sleeper train at 07h10.
    Will I also be eligible to travel for free to the Terracotta Warrior Army? It says only that you have to show your High speed train ticket to be eligible.
    Regards
    Martin

  5. Daniel says:

    Hi Martin Nel,

    Yes, only those who have high speed train tickets are entitiled to the free bus drive to Terracotta Warriors.

  6. vivien crosby says:

    How would I get on having mobility problems as I need to use a rollater. Would this be possible?

  7. Daniel says:

    Hi vivien crosby,

    As far as I know, the Terracotta Warriors Museum is wheel-chair user friendly, special accessible path. It shoul be no problem.

  8. case says:

    There is a bus 307 as well, not sure if that was 306 or a different one.

  9. Daniel says:

    Hi Case,

    Both Bus 307 and 305 have the same destination – Terracotta Warriors, but they have different starting terminals and stops.

  10. Anne Marie says:

    Hello everyone
    I do hope you can give us some good advice.
    We (a family of 5) are flying in to X’ian on Tuesday 30th May and hope to get a bulllet train back to Beijing that night at around 6pm. We are not sure whether we need to go from Xi’an north or west? How long would it take for us to get a taxi back from the warrior site to the train station? We would be really grateful for some advice.
    Many thanks
    Anne Marie

  11. Daniel says:

    Dear Anne Marie,

    All the high speed trains start from Xian North Railway Station. So you need to take taxis from the Terracotta Warriors to the north station, about 40 km, one hour drive, approxi 130 yuan per taxi. One standard taxis holds 4 people and you need to use two taxis.

    By the way, you can book a tailor-made private trasnfer using a 7-seat van for your family of 5 and check out the link below to have an idea of the transfer ( you need to customize the transfer):

    http://www.tour-beijing.com/xian_car_rental/

    Have a nice time in Xian!

  12. frank berger says:

    My wife and i will be arriving on Wed June 21 to Xian with Hainan airlines at 9:10 am and we have a layover with our connecting flight at 16:55 . (7hrs 45 minutes layover) . is this enough time to catch a taxi to the Terracotta museum and back. How long does it take to get luggage and clear customs ? how much time before the connecting flight do we need to be back at the airport?

    Thanks for any reliable information
    Frank

  13. Daniel says:

    Dear Frank Berger,

    Thanks for your inquiry! I caculate your time per your travel plan as beblow:

    09:10 : Arriving at Xian Airport
    10:20: Get luggage and clear customs. Exit from the airport and wait in line at the official taxi stand for a ride to Terracotta Warriors
    10:20 – 11:20 Taxi from the airport to Terracotta Army, about 65 km and 100 yuan
    11:20 – 14:00 Visiting Terracotta Warriors ( If you are pressed for time, you can shorten your visit time )
    14:00 – 15:20 Taxi from the Terracotta Warriors to the Airport
    15:20 – 16:25: Go through the procedures to get on board.

    It seems you can make it if you well plan your schedule as well as you are lucky enough to have smooth traffic on route.

    Note: You must allow yourself to have one hour before the connecting flight do we need to be back at the airport.

    The above is just for your reference. Good Luck!

  14. frank berger says:

    Thanks Daniel,

    We’ve just been informed that a layover will be 50 minutes longer. so we definitely will have time for the Terracotta museum.
    Is there a recommended guidebook for the museum?

    Thanks
    frank

  15. Daniel says:

    Dear Frank Berger,

    Sorry, I’m not sure about which guide book you should read, but you can purchase a guidebook if you are satisfied with the content on the spot.

    Alternatively, 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.

  16. Ron B says:

    We will be on a cruise ship for 3 days at the Shanghai cruise terminal. The second day we want go to the Tericotta Warriors. Can you tell me the closest airport for departure and what time we should Depart Shangai? Also what airport to fly in and out of to see the TCW? What time would we want to depart Xi’an to fly back to Shanghai on the same day?

  17. Daniel says:

    Dear RonB,

    There are two airports in Shanghai – Hongqiao and Pudong, both offer flights to Xian. You can book an early flight either from Pudong or Hongqiao.

    Suggest you book the earliest flight possible and back by the latest. The single flight takes about 2 and half hours.

  18. Boyoung Seo says:

    Hi!
    We will be arriving at the north railway station with a sleeper train in the morning. What is the best way to get to Terra-cotta Warriors?
    Do you advise going to the railway station in downtown?
    Is there a place I can store a carry-on size luggage there?

    Thank you so much!

  19. Daniel says:

    Dear Boyoung Seo,

    If your arriving train is not high speed train, you’d better to Xian Railway Station at the northeast corner of Xian City Wall and take the tourism bus to Terracotta Warriors. Yes,you can find a place to store your carry-on luggage at the station.

    If high speed train, you may take the advantage of their free shuttle bus to the site.

  20. Cherryl says:

    Hi,

    You said that there is a free shuttle to the terracotta soldiers museum if we arrival high speed train ticket on the same day and we have bought the ticket for the Terra-cotta Army. Where can we buy the ticket for the Terra-cotta Army?

  21. Daniel says:

    Dear Cherryl,

    Just go to the information center of the train station to buy your 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. As for where to take the free shuttle bus, please turn to the information center for the details.

  22. Kathleen says:

    Hi. We will be coming to Xian next March. We are staying closer to the Xian North Railway Station. We are not coming into that station on the fast train tho. Are we able to purchase a bus ticket to travel from Xian North station to the Terracotta Warriors? I know there is the free bus to the TCW if you come in on the fast train that day.
    Thanks

  23. Daniel says:

    Dear Kathleen,

    This is a free shuttle and you are not able to buy a ticket. We suggest you go to Xian Railway Station and take the tourism bus there going to TCW just for a small money (bus ticket).

  24. Jan says:

    Hi Daniel.We are planning to visit xian by bullet train from Beijing next May.How far ahead are we able to book tickets for our train?

  25. Daniel says:

    Dear Jan,

    You may book your train tickets from Beijing to Xian (High speed trains) any days if tickets are available.

    Please check out the following link to book your train ticket:

    https://english.ctrip.com/trains

    Just a kind reminder: Please choose “Beijing (北京),and “Xi’an” (Xi’an North (西安北), Shaanxi Xi’an ).

    Xi’an , not Xian.

    Have a nice time in Xi’an!

  26. Irene says:

    Hi Daniel,
    May I know if I can buy the entrance tickets online ? If yes, which website ? Thanks

  27. Irene says:

    Hi Daniel again,
    I will be visiting on 8 Nov. Is it better to visit Banpo village first then Terracotta after noon to avoid the crowd? Wondering if there will be much less tour groups after 12pm. Thanks !

  28. Daniel says:

    Dear Irene,

    It sounds reasonable to visit Terracotta Army 12pm since tour groups are going to have lunch. Good luck!

  29. Daniel says:

    Dear Irene,

    As far as I know, basically you can not buy online in English.

  30. charles chan says:

    Dear Daniel,
    I took bus 306(5) for 7yuan to Terracotta and the bus conductor asked us to get down at a road side (not big car park) and told us to wait the other side of the road to return to Xian. It was a long walk like 1km, bypassing shops and Dico, then to the big ticketing office.

    However, on returning to the same drop-off point (on the other side of the road), we tried to wave to stop bus 306(5) but they dont stop. Finally, on the advise of a local, we boarded bus 914 back to Xian.
    For the sake of future tourists, will like to know why bus 306(5) does not stop at the same drop-off point?

  31. Daniel says:

    Dear Charles Chan,

    Thanks for your feedback! Much appreciated!

    We’ll look into the matter for the benefit of the coming tourists. Thanks again!

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