Called Chang’an in ancient days, Xian holds more than 1 million years of history and rich tradition. Having survived at least 11 dy nasties, Chang’an was eventually destroyed in the Tang dynasty rebellions. As one of China’s Four Great Ancient Capitals, today it is home to more than 8,000 Terracotta Warriors that were buried to protect Emperor Qin’s empire after his earthly death. Modern tourists find Xian a bustling epicenter that history buffs and active travelers will love. Sights you won’t want to miss include thef amous Terracotta Warriors, the Tomb of Emperor Jingdi, the Muslim Quarter, and the City Walls. Explore the beautiful museums and stunning pagodas for a full Xian experience, and make sure to try some delicious, artfully crafted dumplings.Package includes:
- Choice of accommodations
- Hotel taxes and service charges
Frequently Asked Questions
Who should go?
With remnants of the ancient world scattered throughout the city, history buffs will go dizzy with delight in Xian.
A cherished delicacy, dumplings are served in as many shapes, forms, and tastes as you can imagine. In fact, looking at the different shapes you're served is almost as much fun as eating them!
Walk or bike on the city wall, get involved in local festivities, and indulge in other fun excursions throughout the city.
What's the climate like?
How do I get around town?
Transfers are not included with your vacation package; taxis or buses are the recommended means of travel to get to your hotel.
Always an option for getting from point A to point B in major cities, taxis in Xian are convenient for getting around. Ask your hotel to write your destination in Chinese to give to your taxi driver, as most drivers do not speak English, but all can read.
Do as the locals do and bike. Bicycles can be seen everywhere in China, and there are plenty of places to hire one for yourself. For a fun and scenic afternoon activity, you can even bike along the top of the city wall.
What kinds of dining and nightlife are available?
Xian boasts a wide variety of restaurants, which means that travelers won't have to worry about where to find their next mouth-watering meal. Offering ethnic, vegetarian, and Western cuisine, right along with more traditional Chinese fare, Xian has something for everyone. Make sure not to miss the incredible dumplings and the rou jia mo, a steamed bun with finely chopped pork pressed in the middle of it.
Check out a few of these exciting restaurants:
Bell Tower Hotel
If you're homesick and are looking for a bit of Western food, most hotels serve buffets perfect for travelers. The Bell Tower Hotel has been reported by many travelers to be a great place to stop in for a bite.
De Fa Chang
Dumplings have made this restaurant very popular. Offering a downstairs canteen area where dumplings are served from carts, and a more refined 18-course meal in the upstairs restaurant, De Fa Chang is a "must-eat-here" destination for travelers.
Fanji Lazhi Roudian
This is the most famous vendor of rou jia mo, a steamed bun cut with finely chopped pork pressed in the middle of it. For a perfect snack for on-the-go travelers, ask for the good-quality bun (the youzhi).
King Town No 1
With a modern interior that sets it apart from its more traditional neighbors, the downstairs area of this restaurant serves delicious home-style dishes, while the classier Sichuanese-Cantonese restaurant is located upstairs. English menus available.
Lao Sun Jia
Over a century old, Lao Sun Jia is well known for its service and the steaming bowls of specialty yángròu pàomó, a mutton, noodle, and bread soup. Located on the second floor, this restaurant is identified by the big red characters, since there is no sign in English.
With the Chairman overlooking the diners at this upscale restaurant, what more could be expected than to sample Húnán classic menu selections, which include spicy chicken and boiled frog. Providing excellent service and a pleasant atmosphere, Maogong Xiangcaiguan is a popular favorite among the local elite.
The Muslim Quarter
With its reputation preceding itself in the category of food, the Muslim Quarter is lined with a wide range of never-ending selections. Dried fruit, meat kebabs, fried pancakes, dumplings, and cake-like creations unique to Xian are just a few of the selections tourists can sample while wandering down this exciting part of the city. Eat on the go, at a café, or at a more conventional restaurant.
For a post-shopping boost, follow the locals to the busy cafeteria-style Wuyi Fandian restaurant. Perfect for sampling northern staples like dumplings and noodles, the pick-and-choose options of this eatery offer travelers a variety of choices to satisfy everyone.
With a varied and colorful nightlife, Xian is a perfect temptation for any traveler, no matter what your preferred taste or age happens to be. Blending the ancient world of traditional China with the modern day chic, nightclubs, karaoke, bars, cafes, and shows gives you the perfect way to satisfy your inner night owl.
Fountain & Music Show
A stunning symphony of lights, water, and music combine in a harmonious melody that is set against the beautiful Big Wild Goose Pagoda, this musical fountain has been named the largest in Asia. It is also one of the best free attractions in Xian.
Performing the ancient music and dance of the ancient Tang Dynasty, a period of artistic growth and beauty, this is the most famous dinner theater in the city. Delivering all of your fantasies of Asia, the shows here feature voice-overs in English.
Where should I go shopping?
Because of its rich ancient history, Xian is an outstanding source for replicas of the Terracotta Warriors and Horses, paper-cuts, and folk paintings, which are all available for a good price. Antique shops are abundant throughout the city, and the luxurious shopping areas are located near some of the main streets.
Please check the policies and procedures for buying and exporting cultural relics from China to avoid fees and pass customs clearance.
Xian Guwan Cheng
Digging is a popular "occupation" around the countryside of Xian, where peasants sometimes find valuable antiques in their field. If you want a genuine antique, this shop is a great place to find one. There are a lot of knock-offs also thrown in, so be careful, especially around bronze items since they can be melted down and reused unless they were buried; your best chance to find an authentic antique is with ceramics or pottery. Frequented by the locals, this market's prices shouldn't be as high as in the heavy tourist areas. Check operating hours before visiting.
Located in a narrow alley, this is a great place to buy souvenirs. Almost everything is a replica, but you can still get a great souvenir to take home with you for a bargain.
The Muslim Quarter
If you're looking for those hard-to-find tourist items, the Muslim Quarter is a good place to start. Silk scarves, chopsticks with your name carved into them in Chinese characters, paintings, and traditional handicrafts are some of the popular items found in this area.
When are the local events?
Chinese New Year & The Lantern Festival
Beginning of the year. Also known as the Spring Festival, or the Lunar New Year, the Chinese New Year is the longest and most important celebration in the Chinese calendar. Estimated to have been going on for more than 4,000 years, the annual celebration binds the whole country together in a show of celebratory unity. The Lantern Festival officially ends the Chinese New Year, and is celebrated by lighting beautifully crafted and embellished lanterns that symbolize letting go of past selves and getting a new start in a new year.
Xian International Calligraphy Meeting
Last week in March. Celebrating the old art of calligraphy in China, activities are held for artists to enjoy. The annual meeting was created to enhance the exchange of calligraphy in the world, and enthusiasts from around the world are invited to join in. Participants are given a certificate and tourists are given the opportunity to look at the calligraphy masterpieces on display.
Xian Ancient Culture and Art Festival
September. At this annual meeting, which is one of the biggest cultural tourist festivals in Xian, travelers can see performances from troupes across the world. Day festivities include drumming, music, dancing, and different types of opera, among other things. In the evening, the ancient city walls are illuminated with a beautiful lantern show. It's the ideal festival for those travelers who enjoy folk art and Xian's traditional culture.
The International Marathon at Xian City Wall
November. The International Marathon at Xian City Wall covers roughly 8.5 miles (13.7 km), which is a total of 3 times around the city wall. People not wishing to participate in the full marathon can feel free to join in by running 1 lap around the wall. Groups are split up according to the distance runners wish to complete.
Tried and True Travel Tidbits
Most meals are eaten 'family style,' with everyone sharing dishes and being a little noisier than Americans may be used to. When refilling your cup or bowl, it is considerate to refill everyone else's at the same time. Waiters will generally leave you alone unless you call for them. Insisting on paying the bill is considered polite manners, and others will usually insist, too.
Don't Sit on the Ground
Anything that touches the ground (your feet, for instance) is considered dirty. Don't put your feet on anything without removing your shoes first, and do not sit on the ground.
Don't be surprised if people stare at you. While foreigners are common in Xian (and other big cities, like Beijing), many provincial tourists are likely to snap a picture of you (sometimes without asking).
While most nice hotels sport a more western type of toilet, some public toilets (especially train station facilities and public toilets off the street) are the open kind, which means no stall doors and no privacy. Public toilets usually do not have toilet paper, so carry extra tissues with you. If you're not keen on trying something open and non-private, try to find a shopping mall or wait until you get back to your hotel.
Traveling by Bus
Buses are not recommended for tourists in Xian, as they get crowded very quickly and are uncomfortable. If you still want to use this option, however, you can use the east and west bus stations to hop on a bus to get to your destination; just be wary of pickpockets that utilize the crammed conditions for their own personal gain.
Good to Know
|Xian Xianyang International Airport
||March – May; September - November
||December - January
||Chinese Yuan, also known as the Renminbi (rmb)
||Xian is on China Standard Time, and does not follow Daylight Saving Time. Depending on the time of year, it is 13-14 hours ahead of Central Standard Time.
|Proof of Citizenship:
||Government legislation requires all people traveling via air to and from the United States and Canada to have a valid passport. For details on passports, visas, and health requirements, see Entry Requirements.
||No tipping in restaurants or taxis, but tipping is expected on guided tours.
||Though the dress code is more relaxed in China than it is in other parts of Asia, it is still considered appropriate to wear modest, conservative clothes. Collarless shirts are not recommended, but Polo shirts are fine; shorts scream "tourist," but are generally okay from April to early October. Shorts and sleeveless tops are okay in temples for both men and women. Aim for an overall "neat" or "smart" look, and remember that air conditioning is sometimes overly cold in restaurants and buses. Plan accordingly for rain.
If you're planning to attend shows or formal nights, dress in a formal manner, with a nice coat if the weather requires one. For festivals, bright colors, especially red, are considered good luck, so bring plenty with you.