Xi'an Things to Do Tips by lindyz
Xi'an Things to Do: 556 reviews and 1,250 photos
One my all time fave China pics
In the heart of the Muslim Quarters is the Great Mosque, which is a blend of traditional Chinese and Islamic architecture. China has a very small percentage of Muslims living there, with the Great Mosque being a place they can worship and lead their religious life. The Great Mosque's construction began in 742 and it is indeed an impressive place to visit. It is very serene and picturesque with many photo opportunities, consisting of Pavillions, gardens, gateways and a Worship Hall. I really enjoyed the short time we spent here. Im sorry but I dont know the exact address of the Great Mosque.
One of my favourite China pictures was taken here. Simply, a barrel filled with water and water lillies and a small insect on a flower. Please have a look!
Something quite funny happened here, Tracy and I will forever laugh at this! There was a room filled with old broken furniture and we could hear a cat meowing in the room. We looked closer and could see the cat, and I said to George "why doesnt he get out of there?" and his reply was (very seriously) "I don't know, Im not a cat!" You probably had to be there to appreciate the humour in this, because George was NOT trying to be funny, he was dead serious.
Roundabout near South Gate entrance
Only a short walk from our Hotel was the entrance to the City Wall. East gate entrance was closer, but more people had recommended getting onto the Wall at the South Gate Entrance - Im not sure why!!?? Because we found it extremely difficult finding a way to cross the very very very busy roundabout to gain entry to the wall - nearly got killed several times that day!
Entrance to the Wall was 40rmb = about $7AUD which is a small price to pay to escape the chaos of Xian and to walk above it in a completely different world. The day we were there, the weather was perfect, sunny and warm and we walked about 1km in one direction and then back. Im told the Wall is an in tact 14km walkable wall all around inner Xian, so if you have time on your sleeves, I would recommend walking the entire distance. You can also catch a small minimus or hire a bicycle to ride on the wall, but we just walked.
Funnily enough, we came across an Australian guy who was by himself and he asked us to take a pic of him on his bike, we got talking and it ended up that he worked with a guy at Qantas in Sydney who was best friends with Tracy's brother!!! What a small world we live in.
Small Wild Goose Pagoda
This was our last stop on our BIG DAY OUT with George, and unfortunately, by the time we got here, we were tired and all "templed-out"! So, we didnt take in too much information about the history of the small and large wild goose pagodas!
Entrance fee to the Small Wild Goose Pagoda was 50rmb = about $8AUD, which also included entry to a museum, the Jianfu Temple and huge area of landscaping.
We did find the actual building to be quite impressive and we climbed up a few flights of stairs in it, then we gave up - just too tired! And once again Im sorry, but I dont know the address either.
Goats feet for sale - mmmm yummy!?
After our lunch with George and our driver, he took us to the Muslim Quarters and the Great Mosque. Our itinery originally was to go to the Shanxxi Museum but apparently it was closed on a Monday. So, we went here instead, and I would thoroughly recommend spending a few hours here. The shopping was great, very cheap and some unusual items we did not see anywhere else in China. Im not too sure about the food, we saw some very unusual delicasies which, every time I asked what they were, I got the answer "you dont want to know!" One I did take a pic of was goats feet!!!
Muslim Quarters is very close to the Great Mosque, but not too sure of the exact address. Im sure your Hotel staff will be able to advise taxi drivers of where to go.
Directions: Near Bell and Drum Towers in the centre of the city
Tracy and I at the entrance to Pit No. 1
As previously said, this was basically the only reason for our short stop-over in Xian, to spend some time visiting this amazing archaeological discovery, the Terracotta Army. I had hired a guide who came highly recommended to me by Victoria (sugarpuff) called Mr. Liu. On the day we were given the services of his assistant, George, and we were both very impressed with him, his punctuality, politeness, knowledge and humour. If anyone would like details of hiring either Mr. Liu or George and their prices, please email me. Their Email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Our day was a long one starting at 8am and concluding at 6pm, combining a visit to the Terracotta Army, Chinese lunch, Muslim Quarters, Great Mosque and the Small Wild Goose Pagoda. The drive was about one hour, so we were at the Terracotta Army early, at about 9am, and were lucky to have missed the big crowds. By the time we left at about 12noon there were a lot more people there, making it harder to take good pictures. So, I would advise you to get there as early as you can, but I am pretty sure it only opens at 9am. Entrance to the Museum cost 90rmb = about $16AUD, and it is well worth the price you pay.
There are 3 Pits here, the largest and most impressive being Pit No. 1. Also on site is an Exhibition Hall, a room where you watch a short re-enactment video (you MUST watch this!). Also in the same building as the video there is memorabilia for sale, including an impressive information book, which you can get the original farmer who discovered the Army to sign the inside cover FOR FREE! Its a funny story as to when the Farmer started signing books. When President Clinton visited the Army in 1998 he had met the Farmer and asked him to sign his book - only one problem??? The Farmer did not know how to read or write! So, he was then taught to read and write, and well, I guess the rest is history! I bought the book and a set of postcards and the cost was 150rmb = about $26AUD, which I thought was reasonable. I also bought 2 Terracotta Soldier replicas medium sized for 300rmb = about $52AUD. You will see these soldiers for sale all across China, but I was adamant I wanted to buy mine from the actual site, so I probably paid a bit more for them, although I did bargain them down quite a bit!
George even told us where there was a nicer block of toilets, as the first ones we went into were so putrid and smelling, that we simply could not use them. The nicer block is just a little bit further out the back way.
The story of the Terracotta Army is a very amazing and unbelievable one. I will try and sum it up very quickly, for those who do not know. Emperor Qin was the first Emperor of China and he basically wanted the world to forever know how great he was and how powerful his Army was. And so the Terracotta Army was constructed, each soldier being different, no 2 soldiers are the same. The Army was buried 2,200 years ago, subsequently destroyed by rebels, and discovered by Farmers in March 1974, while digging several wells in search of water. And thus began the lengthy series of excavations and restorations, as the majority of the Terracotta Army had been destroyed and needed to be restored. That in itself is difficult to fathom - this is one HUGE jigsaw puzzle!!! The short re-enactment film you should view before going into the 3 pits certainly describes this great story in much more detail than I can!
The total 3 Pits are located to the East of the Emperors Mausoleum, determining that the Army was facing east, with its back to the tomb, serving as guardians to protect the entrance to the Emperors burial. The 3 pits cover a toal area of about 22,000 square metres, housing an estimated 8,000 life-sized pottery warriors and horses - AMAZING!
I would urge anyone who plans to visit China, to make sure that they allow for a stop-over to visit the Terracotta Army. It is truly an impressive thing to see face to face.
More pictures will be in my Terracotta Army Travelogue.
Directions: Located on the east side of the Mausoleum of Emperor Qin, about one hours drive from Xian.
Phone: 029-81399174 - information desk
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