Xian is a city with time-honored history and profound culture. The sightworthy tourist attractions, convenient transportation, inclusive culture, and hospitable people all form a pleasant traveling experience. To help you better plan a Xian tour, here we have gathered 12 frequently asked questions in terms of tour plans, attractions, visa, transportation, accommodation, food, etc. so that you can have a basic understanding about Xian.
1. Where should I go to visit in Xian? What are the top attractions?
The over 2200-year-old Terracotta Warriors is a must-see in Xian. It is about 1.5 hours' drive from downtown. Other attractions like the Ancient City Wall (biking or walking on the wall is very popular), Bell Tower & Drum Tower (center of Xian), Muslim Quarter (snack street), the Great Mosque are near to each other and in city center area. Shaanxi History Museum is most recommended for history lovers and Giant Wild Goose Pagoda will show you something about Buddhism.
2. How many days should I stay in Xian, one, two or three days?
3 days Xian tour is strongly recommended. Within 3 days, you can explore the best things to do in Xian in a relaxing and comfortable way. 2 days’ trip is also ok, but we advise you to get to Xian by an early morning flight and depart from Xian by a flight in late afternoon.
3. Am I allowed to take photos of the Terracotta Warriors?
Yes, you are allowed to take pictures but not to touch them.
4. Can I take public bus to the Terracotta Warriors?
Yes, from Xian downtown, Tourist Bus Line 5 (Bus 306), Bus 307, 914, 915, and Lintong 826 will take you there and you need to get off at Bingmayong Station (兵马俑站). If you start from Xian Xianyang International Airport, you can take airport intercity bus to Lintong first and then transfer to Bus 914 (about 2h in total).
5.Can I go to Mount Hua from Xianyang Airport?
Yes, you can take airport intercity bus to Mount Hua. But there are only three buses which depart at 10:30, 13:00, and 17:00. The bus will take you directly to the tourist center of Huashan Scenic Spot in about 2 hours. If your flight doesn’t fit the schedule, you can take a taxi there (about 2h) but and the cost will be about CNY 400 (higher at night). Or you can get to Xian downtown first and then take high speed trains to Huashan.
6. How far is Xianyang Airport away from the central area of Xian?
It is about 40km away from the Airport to the central area of Xian city (1 hour of driving). You can take Airport Shuttle Bus to get to downtown (CNY 25 per person, about 80min) or take a taxi there (about CNY 150).
7. Do I need a visa to Xian?
Normally, to make a trip to Xian, foreign travelers have to apply for and obtain a Chinese Tourist Visa (L Visa) from Chinese Embassy or consulate abroad. But Xian is one of the cities which are available for the 72-Hour Visa Free Transit policy. Under the policy, foreigners holding valid passport or international travel document of certain 51 countries, and connecting flight tickets with confirmed seat and departure date to a third country (region) can apply transit visa exemption at Xian Airport and stay in Xian and Xianyang, two cities no more than 72 hours. Better yet, the policy will be upgraded to 144-hour transit free from December 1, 2019.
8. What is the best time to visit Xian?
Generally speaking, Xian is suitable to visit all year round as long as it doesn't rain heavily. The best time to go there is spring and autumn, which is from March to May and mid-September to early November. As one of the most popular tourist cities in China, another factor you need to put into consideration is the peak season. So you are recommended to avoid July and August (summer break of the schools in China), and the statutory holidays such as Labor Day Holiday (3 days around 1st May) and National Day Holiday (1 - 7, October).
9. What are the recommended hotels in Xian?
Xian has lots of hotels at different levels and areas. The most recommended are the ones near Bell Tower in downtown Xian such as Sofitel Xian on Renmin Square, Bell Tower Hotel, Chenggong International Hotel, etc. because it is convenient to get to other areas from there. The airport and Terracotta Warriors are relatively far from city center, but you can also find some decent hotels like Regal Airport Hotel and Huaqing Aegean International Hot Springs Resort & Spa.
10. Where can I get local Xian food and snacks?
Xian is a representative city for cooked wheaten food. Muslim Quarter is the most touristy snack street in Xian. It is in city center next to the Drum Tower. It is a good place to visit if you want to try various Xian snacks such as Flatbread in Mutton Soup, Meat Burger, Cold Noodles, Pepper Beef Ball Soup, Biangbiang Noodles, etc. in one go.
11. Where else can I go apart from Xian?
If you have 3 days or more, it is totally practicable to travel to some other attractions apart from Xian (2 days are usually enough to cover the main highlights in Xian). With one extra day, you can travel to the steep Mount Hua or spectacular Hukou Waterfall. If you have 2 more days, you can take a leisure side-trip to Luoyang Longmen Grottoes or spend a night at Pingyao Ancient City. If you have 5 days or more, you can get Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Zhangjiajie... in your tour plan or take a Silk Road trip from Xian.
12. Where can I get a money exchanging service?
The Branch Banks of China offer money exchanging service during working hours. You can also make cash withdrawals (RMB only) in China through an ATM machine with your Visa card or Master Card.