Yaodong Cave Dwellings in Xian

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If time permits on your Xian trip, you may arrange a short side trip to Yaodongs, the cave dwellings still common in the middle and northwest of China. “Yaodong” literally means “Earth Caves”, one of the four types of the most distinctive Chinese trational dwellings including Tulou ( earth houses, common in Fujian Province), Yaodong ( Cave Abodes, on the loess in the Northwest China), Ganlan ( a wood or bamboo storied house common in Guizhou, Guangdong and Guangxi) and Yikeyin (Seal-like Compound in popular Yunnan Province).

Today let’s go closer to Yaodongs, the earth shelters common in the Loess Plateau in Henan, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Gansu and Qinghai. Yaodongs are generally carved out of a hillside, a vertical side of a loess hill. The cross section of a yaodong is built with two parts – a rectangle in the lower part and a semi-circle in the upper part.Yadongs are warm in winter and cool in summer.

Some of the yaodongs are visitable on your to or back from your must see highlight in Xian – Terra-cotta Army. If you are going to visit the earth houses, you are requested to drive along the old highway from the downtown Xian to Terra-Cotta Army or on your way back. The village that still use yaodongs are located along the highway by the side of some loess hills.

We stopped our car at the village, branched off the highway and walked into the village along the road by the shabby shop.

We branched off the highway and walked into the village along the road by the shabby shop.

Now we were inside the village with mud roads in the village center. But the fork roads leading to each house are cement roads and Most of the houses are made of bricks.

Now we are inside the village

On the way to the yaodongs, we met a lively village girl dressed in traditional clothing.

We first went to Mr. Gao’s family. His family has a big brick house linked to the yaodongs carved from a vertical hill.

His family has a big brick house linked to the yaodongs carved from a vertical hill.

Grandma Li said she still liked to stay inside a cave house since it was cool in summer and warm in wiinter. 

Grandma Li said she still liked to stay inside a cave house since it was cool in summer and warm in wiinter.

She and her husband also used the caves to raise chickens and other domestic animals.

She and her husband also used the caves to raise chickens and other domestic animals.

Later we also visited Mr. Zhang’s yaodongs behind his brick house below a hill.

Later we also visited Mr. Zhang’s yaodongs behind his brick house below a hill

His yaodong had a facade built with bricks with simple patterns carved on the surface. Two cave houses on the hill cliff.
Any questions, just drop a line.

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4 Responses to “Yaodong Cave Dwellings in Xian”

  1. Christina says:

    Hi,

    I am interested in visiting Yaodong Cave Dwellings in Xian.

    How do I travel from Xian to Yaodong Cave Dwellings ?
    Are there any bus services to go there ? What Bus ?

    Please advise. Thank you.

  2. Christina says:

    Hi,

    I will be visiting Beijing & Xian Mid June 2013.

    Please help me with a few questions :
    1) How do I travel from Beijing International Airport to Fuxing Holiday Hotel Beijing by bus or train ?
    2) How do I travel from Beijing West Train Station to Fuxing Holiday Hotel Beijing by bus or train ?
    3) How do I travel from Xian Train Station to Xian Bell Tower Youth Hostel by bus or train ?

    Please advise. thank you.

  3. Daniel says:

    Hello Christina,

    The Yaodong Caves in Xian are located in a village along the old travel route from Xian to the Terra-cotta army. Today most people would use the highway driving from Xian downtown to the Terra-cotta army museum. But the highway doesn’t pass by the village. Generally it is not easy to find the yaodong caves. All the yaodong caves are located inside the courtyards of the local farmers, which are not easy to find.

  4. Daniel says:

    1) How do I travel from Beijing International Airport to Fuxing Holiday Hotel Beijing by bus or train ?

    Answer: It is better to go by subway. First take the airport express train from Beijing Capital airport to its final stop at Dongzhimen where you interchange for Subway Line 02 and get off at the Lama Temple Station and again interchange for subway line 5 and get off at the stop of Dongsi Station (东四站) and exit from the Exit B and you will see your hotel.

    2) Answer: How do I travel from Beijing West Train Station to Fuxing Holiday Hotel Beijing by bus or train ?

    Answer:First take the subway 9 and get off at the Baishiqiao South Raikway Station, then interchange for Subway Line and get off at the stop of Dongsi Station (东四站) and exit from the Exit B and you will see your hotel.

    3) How do I travel from Xian Train Station to Xian Bell Tower Youth Hostel by bus or train ?

    Just take the public bus 706 to get from the Xian Bus Station to Xian Bell Tower. Then walk to your hotel.

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