Xian is only 12 hours by train from Beijing and with the famous UNESCO Terracotta army being found there, just jump on a night sleeper train and you’ll be there in the morning. Equally, there are Beijing tours to terracotta warriors available too, so either way it’s really accessible from China’s bustling capital.
Xi’an is a really cool city, one in which I’m currently considering living and studying Chinese in actually (that’s another story!), but initially the sole reason I came here was to finally see the Terracotta Warriors, something I’ve wanted to see since I was a little kid.
There are so many places to stay, you can check hotels.com discount codes, look at your guide book or get walking and find somewhere yourself. I found a hotel, sorted out a tour to the warriors the next day and I was off. The tour cost me 250RMB ($40), so it certainly wasn’t cheap, although you can do it much cheaper so read on.
The Terracotta Warriors were only discovered in 1974, when 3 farmers were digging a well! Now those 3 guys take it in turns to sit at the entrance and have their photo taken. The story behind the army is that basically, the Terracotta army was built for Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China, in 210BC so when he died, he was buried with the army to protect him in his afterlife.
Now the Army is housed in 3 huge vaults, showing 8, 000 lifesize warriors all with individual faces and expressions, 300, 000 weapons, 100 chariots etc. The actual site disappointed me a little actually, I think I was too excited about seeing something I dreamt about for years, I was left a little underwhelmed. That being said, it’s still awesome but temper your expectations a little so you’re not left disenchanted.
Also guys, don’t go on a tour (like me). Take the bus 306 from the city, the Terracotta army is the last stop., 30km from the city It only costs around 10RMB ($1.60), and then the ticket is 150RMB($24) or 75RMB ($12) for students. Or you can share a taxi for 120RMB. If you’re smart about your money, places like Xi’an can be so cheap, with good bartering skills, deals on hotels.com voucher codes, street food, and local transport, China doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg to travel around. Enjoy and happy travels!