How to Visit Xian on a Budget

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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 Terra-Cotta 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.

Terra-cotta Army

Terra-cotta Army

1. Visiting during the low seasonwhen everywhere is 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.

People come to Xian aimed at visiting its historical sites – the ancient city, mosque, pagoda and Terra-cotta 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.  See When is the best time to visit Xian.

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.

Highspeed 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.

You first take an airport bus to the downtown area, then walk or take a taxi to your hotel. Xian North Railway Station ( highspeec 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 city wall. Several public bus lines bring you to the downtown Xian.  See Xian Airport Shuttle Bus.

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

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

5. Plenty of  free sites and attractions.
Of course,  you have to visit the paid attractions like Terra-cotta Army, the Ancient City Wall, ect. But there are plentiful sites without any charges where you can experience the real Xian by walking among the locals.

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

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.

Or you may rent a bike to travel around the city.  Xian bike rental is easy, simple and every cheap.  To visit Terra-cotta 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 goup tour is not a bad idea,  both money saving and sociable.

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.

Of course, you should splurge on one or two big meals at local decent restaurants to taste the cuisine.   See  Xian Best Food Street and Xian Top 10 Restaurants.

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.  You may occasionaly slurge on shopping inside the large shopping malls,  or just for windown shopping for fun. See the Muslim Quarter and Top 10 Xian Shopping Malls.

10.  Splurge occasionally
Though traveling on a budget,  you should not forgo all the luxuriou Xian has to offer.  Eat the local flavor jiaozi ( dumplings ) over the dazzling night performance is both a fun and cultural experience.  See Tang Dynasty Dinner Show.

06611Tip: 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.

2 Responses to “How to Visit Xian on a Budget”

  1. Kerrian says:


    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

  2. Daniel says:

    Hi Kerrian,

    Sorry for my delayed reply!

    You may go to the bar street Xian Bar Street. See the link below:

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