Our final stop is Xi’an in Shaanxi province. Shaanxi Province is situated in the central part of the country, in the Guanzhong Plain in northwest China. Shaanxi Province has a rich historical and cultural significance, and Xi’an itself has served as the capital for various Chinese dynasties, including the famous Tang Dynasty.
From Luoyang Longmen to Xi’an North, it takes about an hour and a half. We have gotten our ticket online so it is pretty convenient, just arrive at the high speed train station an hour before.
Xi’an boasts a rich heritage that dates back thousands of years. From the awe-inspiring Terracotta Army to the vibrant Muslim Quarter, this city is a treasure trove of experiences waiting to be uncovered. Join us as we embark on a journey through the top places to visit in Xi’an, where the past and present coalesce in a symphony of sights, sounds, and flavors.
We spend 2 days in Xian and then catch a midnight flight back to Singapore.
Top places to visit in Xi’an
No visit to Xi’an is complete without marveling at the Terracotta Army, one of the most iconic archaeological finds in the world. This vast army of life-sized clay soldiers, horses, and chariots was crafted to accompany China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang, in the afterlife. The meticulous craftsmanship and sheer scale of this ancient masterpiece are nothing short of breathtaking.
It is best if you can get the ticket online before you go as they have certain quota per day. You need to have a local phone number to book the entrance ticket. It took about 1.5 to 2 hours to reach The Terracotta Army site if you stay in Xi’an city.
- The Ancient City Wall (西安城墙):
Step back in time as you stroll along the imposing Ancient City Wall of Xi’an. Built during the Ming Dynasty, this well-preserved structure provides panoramic views of the cityscape. Rent a bicycle and pedal along the wall, immersing yourself in the historical charm while enjoying the modern skyline that contrasts with the ancient architecture.
You can purchase the ticket at the window with cash or Alipay or Wechat.
- The Big Wild Goose Pagoda (大雁塔):
An emblem of Xi’an, the Big Wild Goose Pagoda stands tall in the heart of the city. Originally built to house Buddhist scriptures brought from India, this architectural marvel offers a glimpse into China’s cultural exchange with the world. Explore the surrounding Da Ci’en Temple and its serene gardens, creating a tranquil oasis amidst the urban hustle. Please don’t forget to visit in the evening when the fountain and light shows start.
- Muslim Quarter (回民街):
Indulge your senses in the lively and aromatic ambiance of the Muslim Quarter. Sample delectable street food, from lamb skewers to local pastries, and wander through bustling markets filled with vibrant fabrics and traditional crafts. The Great Mosque, with its unique blend of Chinese and Islamic architecture, is a hidden gem within this dynamic district.
- Shaanxi History Museum (陕西历史博物馆):
For a deeper understanding of Xi’an’s rich history, visit the Shaanxi History Museum. Home to a vast collection of artifacts spanning multiple dynasties, the museum offers a comprehensive overview of the region’s cultural evolution. Engage with exhibits ranging from ancient pottery to intricate Tang Dynasty murals. You may want to hire a guide to explain you the important artifacts in the museum. Outside the museum, there are many guides available.
- Yongxingfang (永兴坊)
Yongxingfang is known for its well-preserved architecture that reflects the style of the Ming and Qing dynasties. Walking through the narrow alleys and lanes, visitors can experience the charm of ancient China. Most importantly, it is paradise for foodies, you get to taste local taste here. We have our lunch here, got to taste a lot of yummy local food. The dessert here usually serve hot and warm instead of cold here.
- Datang Everbright City (大唐不夜城)
In Datang Furong Garden, visitors can experience a recreation of the Tang Dynasty’s vibrant atmosphere, featuring traditional architecture, performances, and cultural displays. Best time to visit is in the evening, walk with your hanfu and go back to the past.
- Live Show- Xi’an Qian Gu Qin (西安千古情)
you should also try watching a live show in Xián. Xi’an Qian Gu Qing is designed to immerse the audience in the rich cultural history of Xi’an, with a particular focus on the Tang Dynasty, which is often considered a golden age in Chinese history. You also get to see camels and horses on stage performing with the people.
Nearby attraction outside Xi’an city
Located near the Terracotta Army site, the Huaqing Hot Springs has a history dating back to the Tang Dynasty. The scenic area includes ancient bathing pools and garden for the empress.
- Qianling Mausoleum (乾陵):
The Qianling Mausoleum, about 85 kilometers from Xi’an, is the final resting place of Emperor Gaozong and Empress Wu Zetian, the only woman in Chinese history to rule as emperor. The site features stone sculptures and horse statues.
Famen Temple, located about 120 kilometers from Xi’an, houses a relic of the Buddha’s finger bone. The temple complex includes pagodas, halls, and cultural artifacts.
The Yellow Emperor is revered as one of the earliest ancestors of the Chinese people. It is located in Yan’an 延安
Top food to eat in Xi’an
Xi’an is renowned for its diverse and flavorful cuisine, influenced by its rich history and location on the ancient Silk Road. Here are some top dishes you must try when visiting Xi’an:
- Xi’an Biang Biang Noodles (西安油泼面):
These wide, hand-pulled noodles are known for their thickness and the unique “biang biang” sound made when the dough is stretched and slapped against the counter. They are often served with a spicy oil and a variety of toppings.
- Rou Jia Mo (肉夹馍):
Often referred to as the “Chinese hamburger,” Rou Jia Mo consists of slow-cooked, seasoned meat (commonly pork) stuffed inside a flatbread. It’s a popular street food and a savory treat.
- Yangrou Paomo (羊肉泡馍):
This traditional dish involves tearing a wheat flour flatbread into small pieces and adding them to a lamb soup. It’s a hearty and flavorful meal, and diners can adjust the thickness of the broth by adding more or fewer bread pieces.
- Liangpi (凉皮):
Liangpi are cold noodles made from wheat or rice flour and served with various toppings like sliced cucumbers, bean sprouts, and a savory sauce. It’s a refreshing dish, perfect for hot weather.
- Guantang Baozi (灌汤包):
Also known as “soup dumplings,” these are steamed dumplings filled with hot, flavorful broth and minced meat. Be careful when biting into them to avoid burning your mouth with the delicious broth inside.
- Shaanxi Cold Noodles (陕西油泼扯面):
Cold noodles are served with a mix of savory and spicy sauces, creating a delicious and refreshing dish. It’s an excellent choice, especially during the warmer months.
- Stuffed Pancakes (韭菜盒子):
These pancakes are stuffed with various fillings, such as chives, vermicelli, and sometimes minced meat. They are pan-fried to perfection, creating a crispy exterior and a flavorful interior.
- Yangroupaomo (羊肉泡馍):
Similar to Yangrou Paomo, this dish features shredded lamb that diners soak with flatbread pieces in a rich, savory broth. It’s a hearty and comforting option, especially in the colder months.
- Guokui (锅盔):
Guokui is a type of baked or pan-fried flatbread often filled with meat, vegetables, or sweet fillings. It’s a versatile and delicious street food option.
- Pomegranate Soup with Osmanthus Flowers (石榴汤):
This unique dessert soup is made with pomegranate and osmanthus flowers, creating a sweet and refreshing way to end your meal.
- Steam Cake 西安甄糕 steam glutinous rice cake with sweet dates, serve hot.
Where to stay in Xi’an: Bell Tower Hotel
The Bell Tower Hotel is located right in front of the the Bell Tower which is a prominent landmark in the city center of Xi’an, located at the intersection of four main streets. The hotel is located in the central location and convenient access to various attractions.
The hotel is surrounded by a vibrant area with shopping streets, restaurants, and historical sites. The Drum Tower, Muslim Quarter, and the Ancient City Wall are often within walking distance from this central location. Very ideal location and it also has a subway station nearby.
This is some of the things we had in Xi’an:
This is my second time visiting Xian, so I only spend 2 days here. If you are first timer, you can spend 4 to 5 days here, there are many other attractions that is outside Xian. Within Xi’an, you need a good 3 day 2 nights to explore.