Xi'an travel guide

Xi'an Tourism | Xi'an Guide

You're Going to Love Xi'an

Xian is a popular Chinese destination due to its historical significance as the former capital for 13 different dynasties. Thousands of visitors come to explore Xian's many museums, palaces and cultural celebrations each year.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Xi'an

1. Terracotta Army

These 8,000 lifelike terracotta warriors were made in 300 BC in honor of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China

2. Xi'an City Wall

This fortress walls in what was once the ancient capital of China and continues to be one of the best preserved and largest walls in the country.

3. Wild Goose Pagoda

These two Buddhist pagodas were built during the Tang dynasty and became UNESCO World Heritage sites in 2014.

4. Great Mosque of Xi'an

Visit the largest mosque in China, that was built during the Ming dynasty.

5. Huaqing Pool

Here on the mountainside you can relax in the natural hot springs, walk in the gardens and take in many scenic views of Xian.

What to do in Xi'an

1. From Guarding Graves, To Transfixing Touris

Far and away the most famous attraction in Xi'an, this museum hosts one of the world's greatest archaeological discoveries: the Terracotta Army of Qin Shi Huang, who founded the Qin Dynasty in the 3rd century BC. The 8,000 soldier army was buried with the emperor when he died, only to be discovered by local farmers in 1974. These days, the warriors are on display in three separate pits for history lovers to see (or at least some of them are), and they remain an incredible, utterly unique attraction.

2. A Leaning Symbol Of Xi'An's Past

Constructed in 652 under the Tang dynasty, this elegant square based pagoda played an important role in transmitting Buddhist art and texts from India to China, as it held the collection of famous traveler Xuanzuang. Once ten stories high, a few fell off in the 16th century after a serious earthquake, and the tower has developed a visible lean, but it's still a formidable sight. And the square below is quite a sight too, especially when locals engage in painting and calligraphy below the graceful pagoda, and its musical fountain is in full song.

3. The Place To Munch On Muslim Delicacies

For centuries, Xi'an was one of the most important nodes on the Silk Road from China to the Middle East and Europe. This economic role drew a community of muslin traders from Central Asia, who settled in the Muslim Quarter, or Huimin Jie, as it came to be known. 500 meters long, Huimin Jie is clustered along a single street, and has become one of Xi'an's foodie hotspots - serving up Hui treats like Rou Jia Mo (meat buns). And it's still very much an Islamic center, with 10 mosques along the road, which pulses with life every night of the week.

4. Fearsome Fortifications

Under the Tang dynasty, Xi'an was the largest city in the world, and an imperial powerhouse. It's no surprise that the rulers constructed some imposing walls to communicate their power and keep out aggressors. Around 15 meters wide for most of their length, the city walls are the most complete of their kind in China and can be traversed on foot or by bike, which is an excellent way to see them. The square plan includes 98 towers that are an arrow shot away, providing total coverage for the defenders that manned them.

5. A Fabulous Historical Showcase

It would be criminal for a city with Xi'an's history to lack a first-class history museum, and Xi'an is not guilty in this respect. The Shaanxi History Museum can be found close to the Giant Goose Pagoda, and houses a vast collection of 370,000 items. Built in a creative Tang dynasty style, its highlights include the remains of Lantian Man (actually two female hominids who lived a million years ago), and captivating Tang-era images of polo matches.

1. From Guarding Graves, To Transfixing Touris

Far and away the most famous attraction in Xi'an, this museum hosts one of the world's greatest archaeological discoveries: the Terracotta Army of Qin Shi Huang, who founded the Qin Dynasty in the 3rd century BC. The 8,000 soldier army was buried with the emperor when he died, only to be discovered by local farmers in 1974. These days, the warriors are on display in three separate pits for history lovers to see (or at least some of them are), and they remain an incredible, utterly unique attraction.

2. A Leaning Symbol Of Xi'An's Past

Constructed in 652 under the Tang dynasty, this elegant square based pagoda played an important role in transmitting Buddhist art and texts from India to China, as it held the collection of famous traveler Xuanzuang. Once ten stories high, a few fell off in the 16th century after a serious earthquake, and the tower has developed a visible lean, but it's still a formidable sight. And the square below is quite a sight too, especially when locals engage in painting and calligraphy below the graceful pagoda, and its musical fountain is in full song.

3. The Place To Munch On Muslim Delicacies

For centuries, Xi'an was one of the most important nodes on the Silk Road from China to the Middle East and Europe. This economic role drew a community of muslin traders from Central Asia, who settled in the Muslim Quarter, or Huimin Jie, as it came to be known. 500 meters long, Huimin Jie is clustered along a single street, and has become one of Xi'an's foodie hotspots - serving up Hui treats like Rou Jia Mo (meat buns). And it's still very much an Islamic center, with 10 mosques along the road, which pulses with life every night of the week.

4. Fearsome Fortifications

Under the Tang dynasty, Xi'an was the largest city in the world, and an imperial powerhouse. It's no surprise that the rulers constructed some imposing walls to communicate their power and keep out aggressors. Around 15 meters wide for most of their length, the city walls are the most complete of their kind in China and can be traversed on foot or by bike, which is an excellent way to see them. The square plan includes 98 towers that are an arrow shot away, providing total coverage for the defenders that manned them.

5. A Fabulous Historical Showcase

It would be criminal for a city with Xi'an's history to lack a first-class history museum, and Xi'an is not guilty in this respect. The Shaanxi History Museum can be found close to the Giant Goose Pagoda, and houses a vast collection of 370,000 items. Built in a creative Tang dynasty style, its highlights include the remains of Lantian Man (actually two female hominids who lived a million years ago), and captivating Tang-era images of polo matches.

Where to Eat in Xi'an

Tong Sheng Xiang Restaurant serves traditional local mutton soup with bread or Yang Rou Pao Mo. Prices start at CNY20.

When to visit Xi'an

Xi'an in September
Estimated hotel price
$26
1 night at 3-star hotel
Xi'an in September
Estimated hotel price
$26
1 night at 3-star hotel

The best time to visit is in the spring between March and June, with pleasant temperatures and a beautifully colored landscape complete with cherry blossoms.

Data provided by weatherbase
Temperatures
Temperatures
Average
Fahrenheit (°F)
Data provided by weatherbase

How to Get to Xi'an

Plane

Xi'an Xianyang International Airport is located 25 miles outside of the city center. From London, one way tickets to Xian cost CNY4,100.

Train

Xi'an and Xi'an North Station offer many high-speed train connections to other major Chinese cities. A trip from Beijing to Xian takes between 5-12 hours and costs CNY515.

Car

The G5 and G040 will take you from Beijing to Xian in just under 11 hours.

Bus

There are several bus companies making the 745-mile journey to Xian from Beijing. The trip takes 15 hours and costs roughly CNY300.

Airports near Xi'an

Airlines serving Xi'an

United Airlines
Good (2,986 reviews)
Lufthansa
Good (2,408 reviews)
KLM
Good (364 reviews)
Air France
Good (447 reviews)
Turkish Airlines
Good (1,409 reviews)
Delta
Excellent (3,199 reviews)
Air Canada
Good (1,719 reviews)
Emirates
Excellent (1,114 reviews)
Finnair
Good (743 reviews)
Cathay Pacific
Good (86 reviews)
Japan Airlines
Good (536 reviews)
Korean Air
Excellent (292 reviews)
Asiana Airlines
Excellent (99 reviews)
China Airlines
Excellent (100 reviews)
Qantas Airways
Good (199 reviews)
Air New Zealand
Good (107 reviews)
China Southern
Excellent (9 reviews)
China Eastern
Excellent (10 reviews)
Hong Kong Airlines
Good (5 reviews)
Jin Air
Excellent (1 reviews)
Show more

Where to stay in Xi'an

Shaanxi - Here you will find the terracotta warriors and Qin ShiHuang Mausoleum.

Popular Neighborhoods in Xian

Huaqing - This neighborhood boasts an ancient Tang-era palace and natural hot springs.

Lianhu - This area is considered the Muslim corner and is great for shopping and worshiping.

Most popular hotel in Xi'an by neighborhood

Where to stay in popular areas of Xi'an

Most booked hotels in Xi'an

Grand Hyatt Xi'an
Excellent (9.1, 17 reviews)
$132+
Hilton Xi'an
Excellent (8.4, 43 reviews)
$101+
Crowne Plaza XI'an
Excellent (8.6, 22 reviews)
$87+
Grand Park Xian
Good (7.6, 63 reviews)
$49+
Holiday Inn XI'an Greenland Century City
Good (7.6, 11 reviews)
$76+
Grand Metropark Hotel
Poor (0, 0 reviews)
$182+
See all hotels

How to Get Around Xi'an

Public Transportation

There are many buses in Xian which you can pay upon boarding, with a single ride costing CNY1. The line 610 is popular for tourists, as it hits a majority of major attractions.

Taxi

There are many taxis, however fares are not as regulated as in other cities. Trips in the city center cost roughly CNY10.

Car

Daily rental prices start at CNY100 and can be picked up from the airport, train station or downtown locations.

The Cost of Living in Xi'an

Shopping Streets

The bazaar area in the Muslim quarter is a great place to haggle prices over souvenirs such as folk art, bags and watches.

Groceries and Other

Xianfa Supermarket and Chezhan Supermarket are the two main grocery stores. A dozen eggs costs CNY10.