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How to Plan a Trip to Xian

Plan a tour to Xian? As exciting as that sounds, it also can be incredibly daunting with a lot of planning and research involved. Here are some know-how tips we worked out to help you venture into the unknown or delve even deeper into the fascinatingly intriguing city. Hope you find them useful for a better trip planning.

Best Time to Go

Xian is practically an all-year-round destination as visitor can enjoy very much its historical monuments which Xian takes pride in on all seasons. So you can just plan your time of visiting based on your schedule, travel budget, personal preference, etc.

While with four distinct seasons, Xian is best visited in spring and autumn. These temperate seasons boast comfy temperatures and colorful scenery, which is ideal for outings and excursions. In contrast, summer ushers in scorching heat, frequent shower and domestic peak tourism season. Winter is cold and sometimes snows.

To have a better plan for your trip, see more about Xian Weather.

Xian City Wall
Xian City Wall
Highlights to See

Xian is blessed with countless historical and cultural relics showcasing the ancient magnificence of Chinese civilization. The following attractions are most frequented by travellers and highly recommended to add on your list.

Terracotta Warriors and Horses

A world-shaking archaeological discovery in the 20th century, the Terracotta Warriors and Horses, silently guarding over the afterlife of First Emperor Qin for over two millennia, never fail to impress. More than 8,000 life-sized terracotta figures are lined up in battle formation, each differing in facial expressions, armours and hairstyle. Equally extraordinary is a pair of bronze chariots displayed in the exhibition room along with thousands of bronze weapons and precious relics. The sheer splendor and marvelous craftsmanship will fill you with a feeling of immense awe.

Terracotta Warriors
Terracotta Warriors

Xian City Wall

Extending 13.7km around the rectangle inner city, the ancient City Wall dating back to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) is the most complete city fortification in China. Ramparts, watchtowers and crenels are still kept in good shape. It’s nice to take a leisurely walking on top to see its historical splendor and get a great bird’s view of the city. The most exciting part is to rent a bike and go around the wall (approx. 2 hours to make a loop), a delightful experience highly recommended to do at twilight when the wall is lit up by red lanterns.

Muslim Street

A century-old community for more than 20,000 local Muslim Hui people, the Muslim Street is notable for its ancient style buildings, time-honored restaurants, eye-catching handicrafts and all kinds of authentic local eats like yangrou paomo, roujiamo and liangpi. It also offers you a good insight into the real life of local people there as you roam around the crisscrossing narrow lanes.

A tranquil oasis tucked in the bustling area is the 600-year-old Great Mosque, which is well worth a visit for the classic architectures, traditional courtyards and Islamic culture.

Muslim Street
Muslim Street

Xian Museum & Small Wild Goose Pagoda

Combining museum, historic relics and a landscaped garden, Xian Museum is a great place for tourists to appreciate ancient Chinese culture while relaxing in extremely beautiful surroundings.

Besides 130,000 pieces of fine artifacts kept in a three-storied building, you can also approach the ancient architectural complex of Jianfu Temple and the Small Wild Goose Pagoda all set in a peaceful garden. Admire historic and natural elements, and watch locals enjoy leisure fun in the open space. You will return with a deeper insight into the rich culture and history of the city.

How to Arrive in and get around

Xian Xianyang International Airport has airlines linked with 48 international destinations, including Pairs, Melbourne and San Francisco. It’s also easy to fly into Xian from most domestic major cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Hangzhou, Guilin, Hong Kong, etc.

Bullet trains or high-speed rail trains are increasingly becoming an easy and quick option to travel to Xian. For example, there are 12 high-speed trains departing daily from Xian to Beijing, taking about 5 hours.

Getting around in the city is also very convenient, with the well-developed public transportation of bus and metro which offers easy access to popular scenic spots in the city.

Find more information about Xian Transportation.

How Many Days to Stay

Xian has lots to offer to its visitors. Generally 3 days are enough to travel the most iconic attractions in Xian at a relaxed pace. Arrive in Xian on the first day, then one day is for a trip to the Terracotta Warriors and Horses and Xian Museum, the other day dedicated to in-city attractions like the Xian City Wall, Great Mosque, etc.

Please see our 3 days Xian Essential Tour.

Quite a few business travellers can set aside only one day for sightseeing in Xian. In this case, you may enjoy a half day tour of Terracotta Warriors, a full day Xian trip from Beijing (including return flights) or one-day Xian Tour from Shanghai with return flights included. You also can explore the highlights of Xian by tailor-making a day trip from other cities.

If you want to take an excursion to the natural beauties near Xian, it’s recommended you spend an extra day exploring the Mount Hua or seeing giant pandas in Foping Nature Reserve.

See our well-designed Xian Tour or contact our travel experts to customize your own Xian tour.

Best places/hotels recommended

As one of the hottest tourist cities in China, Xian offers an ever-increasing accommodation options, from famous international hotels, homey apartments and youth hostels to boutique resort of Tang Dynasty style. So where to stay in Xian is really up to your personal preference and budget.

Most of our clients prefer to stay at the downtown Bell & Drum Tower area where you can easily get to Xian’s shopping areas, gourmet streets as well as major attractions like the ancient City Wall, Great Mosque, Muslim Street, etc. on foot.

Hotel Room
Hotel Room
What and Where to Eat

Food in Xian features rich northwest flavors, such as array of noodles, pancakes and dumplings characterized in many of its culinary offerings.

One of the best places to try Xian snacks is in the Muslim Street, with a lineup of Muslim restaurants and food stalls meandering along. Yangrou Paomo, with shredded flatbread soaked in mutton broth, is the most celebrated dish. Other must-try includes meat hamburger (rou jia mo), spicy lamb kebabs, Biangbiang noodles, etc.

Street Food
Street Food

Xian is a well-renowned gourmet city and therefore dining out here means lots of choices from distinctive local flavor, regional cuisine to international favorites. Read more about Xian Food and Restaurants.

Shopping in Xian

Xian offers its tourists a plethora of traditional local crafts as well as modern and fashionable international items. With a good combination of high profile maga malls, commercial centers and century-old shopping streets, it is a beloved shopping place for both Chinese and foreigners alike.

Luxury lovers will love hanging out in the commercial hub near the Bell Tower, in particular the South Street. Ancient streets, like the Muslim Quarter, are a delight to explore for souvenirs and Xian snacks.

Find more information about Xian Shopping

Nightlife in Xian

When daytime outings come to an end, Xian’s nightlife is greeting you with a whole range of entertainment options.

Watch a Tang Dynasty Music and Dance Show, gobble down delicacies at Muslim Quarter, or just have a leisure stroll to soak up Xian night scenes such as striking Bell & Drum Tower. If you are a party person, Defu Lane is your best bet to unwind with great food, drinks and live music. There are also teahouses, dram clubs and Asia’s largest music fountain to enjoy. Whatever the type of the nightlife you are looking for, you are sure to find it in Xian.

Bell Tower
Bell Tower
Travel Tips

Travel with a Guide

Tourists are recommended to take a guided tour to cities like Xian that is exceptionally rich in historical and cultural significance. A good guide will shed new light on the destination of your choice with wit and storytelling, and take all the hassle out of the way. The only thing you can concentrate on is exploring, learning and having fun.

Pack Appropriately

  • Pack according to the weather, for example, light jacket, long sleeves or thin sweater for spring and autumn, heavy coat, gloves, scarves and masks for cold winter.
  • Essentials for the summer include hat, sunglasses, sun scream and rain gear.
  • Comfortable shoes and warm clothing are recommended for hiking on the Mount Hua.

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