How to Visit Xian on a Budget (Tips, Photos & Map)

Plan your Xian tour on a budget? Xian is a very Chinese city with the largest ancient city wall left from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644),  the ancient drum and bell towers, and its simple and hospitable people.

Today the biggest draw in Xian is its Terracotta Warriors, the greatest archaeological discovery in the 20th century.  Xian is a city with good fusion of well keeping the cultural  heritage and fast developing the local economy. Though unlike the most expensive city of Shanghai,  Xian is becoming a costly city too.

But generally speaking, Xian is still a purse-friendly city where you can easily dine, stay and travel on a budget if you plan your Xian trip carefully.  My 10 tips on Xian budget travel are written for those who are going to visit Xian on a budget.

1. Visiting during the low season

Though winter season doesn’t see the sights everywhere in all green and flowers.  But slack season has its charm and advantages. The hotels and flights offer great discounts as well as entrances to important sites.

Check out Best time to visit Xian for travel information.

Picture taken in February in the Muslim Food Street in Xian

People come to Xian mainly aimed at visiting its historical sites – the ancient city, mosque, pagoda and Terracotta Soldiers instead of green and flowery parks.  So visiting Xian in low season can save your money without sacrificing your enjoyment. 

Off tourism season in Xian: December – March 15. 

2. Choose the proper flights and trains to Xian

Unlike Shanghai and Beijing, Xian is not a port city.  People go to Xian by flight or train mainly  from Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou though Xian has some international flights connecting Hong Kong, Seoul, Tokyo,etc. Book a flight earlier to get a discount flight ticket.

Take overnight night Z or T train from Beijing to Xian to save money

High speed train connects Xian to Beijing and Luoyang. Taking an overnight Z or T trains Xian from Beijing, Shanghai and other major cities are highly recommended to save your money.

3. Xian airport or rail transfer by public transport

If you take flight to Xian, you may easily use public transportation to move you from Xian Airport to the downtown Xian. There are several airport shuttle bus lines.

 See Xian Airport Shuttle Bus.

Xian Airport Shuttle Bus

You first take an airport bus to the downtown area, then walk or take a taxi to your hotel. Xian North Railway Station ( high speed train station ) is accessible by metro line 1 linking the station to the city center of Xian.

Xian Railway Station ( different from Xian North Railway Station ) is well located outside the northeast corner of the ancient Xian city wall. Several public bus lines bring you to the downtown Xian.  

4. Budget accommodations in Xian

Xian has hundreds of hotels ranging from the budget to the luxurious. Xian is a budget friendly city where you could easily find some hostels and budget hotels that offer as cozy and comfortable as luxurious counterparts.

See:   Top 10 Xian Hostels and Top 10 Xian budget hotels.

The cozy youth hostels in Xian

These western-oriented budget hotels save you a lot of money on eating, living and the most important is that most of them offer helpful and resourceful travel information.

5. Plenty of  free sites and attractions in Xian

Of course,  you have to visit the paid attractions like Terracotta Army, the Ancient City Wall, etc. But there are plentiful sites without any charges where you can experience the real Xian by walking among the locals.

See Xian after dark , Top 10 things to do in Xian and Best Xian Food Street for more free stuff in Xian.

The beautifully lit South Gate of Xian city wall

The free things include the Muslim quarters, Shaanxi Museum, a outside look at the city wall, bell and drum towers, the world’s largest music fountain in the world ( north of Big Goose Pogoda), etc. 

6. Tour Xian by Public Bus or Bike

Xian is a walkable city with distinctive layout centered on the Bell Tower ( See Xian City Layout ).  If you have strong legs, you may easily visit the major sites in the downtown Xian on foot.

Check out Xian City Public Bus and Fares for more travel information.

Xian City Public Bus

Or you may rent a bike to travel around the city.  Xian bike rental is easy, simple and every cheap.  To visit Terracotta Soldiers, you may take the tourism bus starting from the east square in front of Xian Railway Station.

7. Join in the local group tours

For the budget-conscious Xian visitor,  join in a local fixed departure group tour is not a bad idea,  both money saving and sociable.

Big Goose Pagoda

Xian bus tour usually cover the major sites in Xian and on the its outskirts. , you travel together with other tourists like you on the same tour group, and so a group tour cost is comparatively cheaper than that of a private tour.

8. Eating out on a budget in Xian

Xian has much to offer in the way of delicious, inexpensive fare. Xian has the most snacks of the world. It could be called “the Kingdom of the Snack. So you may have some nice and clean street food for one or two meals.

See  Xian Best Food Street and Xian Top 10 Restaurants.

Xi’an Liangpi (cold skin noodles)

Of course, you should splurge on one or two big meals at local decent restaurants to taste the cuisine.  

9. Budget shopping in Xian

The Muslim quarters is the best place for you to delve what you like confronting countless items on the market. 

See the Muslim Quarter and Top 10 Xian Shopping Malls.

Century Ginwa Shopping Mall in Xian

You may occasionally splurge on shopping inside the large shopping malls,  or just for window shopping for fun.

10.  Splurge occasionally

Though travelling on a budget,  you ought not forgo all the luxurious Xian has to offer.  Eat the local flavor jiaozi ( dumplings ) over the dazzling night performance is both a fun and cultural experience. 

Xian Tang Dynasty Dinner Show

And don’t miss the Tang Dynasty Dinner 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 Tour
Xian Day Tour
Xian Tour Packages
Beijing Xian Tour

Further Readings

Beijing Xian High Speed Train Experience
Best Time to Visit Xian
How to Visit Xian in Two Days?
Xian Airport Transportation
Xian Railway Station Transportation
Xian Taxi: Xian Taxi Fares, Tips and Phones
Xian City Layout
Xian’s Top 7 Iconic Landmarks
Where to Stay in Xian
Top 10 Attractions in Xian
Top Things to Do for Kids in Xian
How Visit Terracotta Army
How to Visit Xian on a Budget
The Starbucks in Xian
Top Markets in Xian
Top 10 Shopping Malls in Xian
Top 10 Best Restaurants in Xian
Top 10 Souvenirs in Xian
Xian Tourist Traps, Xian Tourist Scams

Tips for Visiting Muslim Quarter in Xian
Tips for Visiting Xian City Wall
The Ramparts of Quebec City and Xian City
Tips for Visiting Shaanxi History Museum
Tips for Visiting Xian Bell Tower
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
Yaodong Cave Dwellings in Xian
Tips for Visiting Huaqing Hot Springs in Xian
How to Visit Mount Huashan
Mt.Huashan Snow Scenes Photos
How to visit Xiyue Temple
Top 10 Hostels in Xian
Top 10 Xian Luxury & Boutique Hotels
Xi’an: An Exotic City with an Undeniable Historical Depth

Best Places to See Autumn Leaves around Xian
Muslim Streets in Muslim Quarter in Xian
Hua Jue Xiang, Huajue Lane at Xian Muslim Quarter
The Night View of Great Tang All Day Mall
Xian City Wall Night View
What to do in Xian after dark
Xian’s Best Street Food
Xian Muslim Quarter Exotic Food
Xian Bar Street
Spring Festival Lantern Exhibit in Xian
Xian Terracotta Army Pictures

How to Visit Maijishan Grottoes from Xian by Train
How to Visit Hukou Waterfall
How to Visit Huangdi Mausoleum
Xian Lhasa Flight Experience (Tips, Photos & Map)
Beijing Xian Flight Experience
Datong Xian High Speed Train
Reviews on Beijing Xian Luoyang Tour

Visit Xian in January (Weather, Wear, & Tips)
Visit Xian in February
How to Visit Xian in March
Visit Xian in October
How to Visit Xian in November
Visit Xian in December

Any questions, just drop a line.

2 thoughts on “How to Visit Xian on a Budget (Tips, Photos & Map)

  1. Hi,

    My flight to reach Xian’s airport will be 11:15pm, when I come out from the airport, it should be after midnight. What would you recommend me to do?

    Appreciated your soonest reply.

    Thank you very much.

    Good Business,
    6/Aug/2016 9:58pm

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