Xi’an Travel FAQs & Tips 2022/2023
Q: What are the must-visit attractions in Xian?
Generally speaking, the most welcomed attractions in and nearby Xi’an are Terracotta Army, City Wall, Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Bell and Drum Tower, Muslim Quarter, Shaanxi History Museum, Mt. Huashan, Small Wild Goose Pagoda, Tang Paradise, Huaqing Hot Spring, Banpo Museum, Hanyangling Museum, Famen Temple and Great Mosque.
- Recommended spots for 1-day Xi’an tour: Terracotta Army + Muslim Quarter (Or other downtown attractions like Xi’an City Wall, Shaanxi History Museum, etc.)
- Recommended spots for 2-day Xi’an tour: Mt. Huashan + Xi’an downtown exploration day tour
- Recommended spots for 3-day to 5-day Xi’an tour: The suggested sites above + Famen Temple, Qianling Mausoleum, Hanyangling Mausoleum
Terracotta Warriors and Horses
Q: What is the best time to visit Xian?
The best time to visit Xi’an is spring and autumn from March to May and late September to early November when the weather is relatively gentle and comfortable, suffering little heat or coldness. During the periods, travelers can enjoy the brilliant natural scenery of blossoms and golden leaves.
Q: How long to stay in Xi’an? How many days to cover highlights of Xi’an?
A three-day two-night stay in Xi’an is highly recommended.
- Day 1: Terracotta Warriors and Horses + Shaanxi History Museum + City Wall + Muslim Quarter + Tang Paradise
- Day 2: Big Wild Goose Pagoda + Bell and Drum Tower + Hanyangling Museum + Famen Temple
- Day 3: Huashan Mountain
Q: Where to stay in Xi’an?
Areas around Bell Tower and Drum Tower are the first choice to stay overnight in Xi’an, for being surrounded by many iconic attractions of Xi’an and shopping malls.
The hotels around the Big Wild Goose Pagoda are also popular among tourists.
In addition, the area near the Daming Palace Site of the Tang Dynasty is one of the best places to stay in Xi’an because of super-convenient transportation and relatively low hotel prices.
Q: What to pack for a Xi’an tour?
Essential documents: original passport, valid visa
Necessary items: wallet, credit card, a small amount of cash, moisturizers, cleansing cream, razors
Clothes to pack in different seasons:
- Spring: thin sweaters, long trousers, jackets, T-shirts, blouses
- Summer: short sleeves, shorts, dresses, sandals, sunglasses, sunscreen cream
- Autumn: thin coats, sweaters, hoodies, sweatpants, hiking shoes, umbrellas
- Winter: down-filled coats, padded jackets, woollen sweaters, long sleeved bottoming shirts
Q: What to eat and where to eat in Xi’an?
Top must-try dishes and snacks in Xi’an are: Pita Bread in Lamb Soup, Roujiamo, Liangpi, Qishan’s Saozi Noodles, Guang Tang Bao, Biangbiang Noodles, Dumplings in Sour Soup, Xi’an grilled meat skewers, Gourd-shaped Chicken, Persimmon Doughnut
Recommended places to sample authentic Xi’an food:
- Muslim Quarter: Halal Food, Pepper Soup with Beef Balls, Mutton and Bread Pieces in Soup, Honey Cold Zongzi, Lamb & Beef Kebabs…
Address: No. 125 Beiyuan Gate, Lianhu District, Xian City
- Nanshaomen Night Market: Spicy Lobsters, Grilled Fishes, Mala Tang, Special cuisines from all over the country
Address: near Nanshaomen Subway Station
- Yongxingfang: Hundreds of traditional foods from all over Shaanxi Province, such as Sticky Corn-flour Jelly, Cold Skin Noodles, Jello Stew with Rice Noodles
Address: Intersection of Dongxin Street and Shuncheng East Road, Xincheng District
Q: Do I need a guide and driver if I can speak Chinese?
It depends on where you want to go. For downtown sightseeing, you could do it on your own without any difficulty.
For an in-depth exploration of Xi’an City including attractions like Terracotta Warriors and Horses, Mt. Huashan, Hanyangling Museum, Famen Temple, a guide and a driver are necessary to allow you to reach the destination more conveniently and to learn more background information.
Q: How to get around Xi’an? Transport options in Xi’an.
Buses are definitely the most common way to get around Xi’an. Most attractions can be reached by bus and it only costs CNY 1.
Xi’an’s subway system is quite complete now. Visitors can spend around CNY 2-7 to quickly get to most places you want to.
Taking a taxi or chartered car is the most convenient and fastest way to travel, but it is the most expensive. This is the most recommended for visiting some of the sights further away from the city center.
Q: How far is it from Xi’an Xianyang Airport to downtown Xi’an?
Xi’an Xianyang International Airport is about 47 km (29.2 miles) to the northwest of Xi’an downtown area. It usually takes 45 minutes to 1 hour for a single trip, depending on the transportation situation by car.
There are regular shuttle buses available from the airport to the city center with a duration of 1-1.5 hours.
Or you can take the Metro Line 14 directly from Airport West (T1/T2/T3) to North Railway Station, and then transfer to the Line 4 to downtown Xi’an.
Xian Train Station
Q: How far is it from downtown Xian to Terracotta Warriors and Horses?
Terracotta Warriors and Horses is located in Lintong Distrct, 45 km (28 miles) northeast of Xi’an city center. You can take Metro Line 1 to Fangzhicheng Station and then transfer to Line 9 to Huaqing Pool Station. After arrival, take Bus No. 306 (12 min) to Terracotta Army.
Or take Metro Line 4 to Big Wild Goose Pagoda Station and then take Bus No. 307 (2 h) from the North Square of Big Wild Goose Pagoda to TTerracotta Warriors and Horses.
Q: How far is it from downtown Xian to Mt. Huashan?
Mt. Huashan, located in Huayin County, is approximately 125 km (77.7 miles) from northeast of Xi’an downtown area. Take the high-speed rail from Xi’an North Railway Station to Huashan North Station in 30-40 minutes. And then take the free bus No. 1 or 2 to the Huashan Tourist Center.
Or take Metro Line 1 to Fangzhicheng Station. From there, take a regular tourist bus directly to Huashan Scenic Area. The single journey take around 2 hours.
Renting a car is the most convenient way to Huashan, taking you 1.5 hours.
Q: Do I need a Visa to Xi’an?
Xi’an Xianyang International Airport implements a 144-hour transit visa-free policy, which means that international passengers can have a layover in Xi’an without a visa as long as they meet the requirements. Visitors can leave the airport to visit the city and nearby attractions. The duration of stay is up to 144 hours (six days).
Q: Where can I exchange currency in Xian?
USD can be exchanged at most bank branches in Xi’an, such as Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), Agricultural Bank of China (BC), China Construction Bank (CCB), Bank of Communications (BC), Bank of China, etc. If you hold currencies of other countries, the Bank of China is the most recommended.
Additionally, many 4- or 5-star hotels offer exchange services. Ask the reception staff and they will help you exchange.