A Weekend in Xi’an Travel Guide

Location: Xi'an

5 Must Do’s You Can’t Miss at Xi’an

Xian Travel Guide

The spotless sky casts a single shade of grey, spread out like a blanket that embraces you; not in a sad way, but in a cold way.

See Tang Hostel turns out to be beyond our expectations. It has a biergarten at the rooftop where a glass house populated with cozy pillows awaits. On the left is a darling cafe linked to an attic with inviting bookshelves; each compartment houses books that are worn in and soft. I am a sucker for anything rustic, so we spend a healthy amount of time here reading. But it’s time to go out and explore.

‘A Weekend in Xi’an’ Travel Guide (3D 2N – fly out on a Friday with AirAsia, back late Sunday evening)

Army of Terracotta Warriors & Horses

Xi’an in A Glance:

  • Army of Terracotta Warriors and Horses
  • Xi’an Ancient City Wall
  • Xi’an Muslim Quarter
  • Xi’an Great Mosque
  • Beilin District (Recommended area to stay)
  • Shaanxi History Musuem
  • Big Wild Goose Pagoda
  • Huashan Mountain


1. Army of Terracotta Warriors and Horses.

Army of Terracotta Warriors & Horses

Why you need to go:

This funerary art is the 8th Wonder of the World and a UNESCO World Heritage Site boasting 8000+ warriors to protect Emperor Qin in his afterlife.

What you need to know:

  • Emperor Qin’s Mausoleum is 2 km east from the attraction, NOT at the same vacinity. However, admission is FREE with your purchase of ticket to see the terracotta armies.
  • Use the toilet inside, after entering through the first gate. It’s more bearable.

Xian Hand stretched noodles


  • No worries about lunch – there are stalls at the entrance selling bowls of steaming hand-stretched noodles, which are lovely.
  • Bring your swimsuits because you might want to go for a dip at Huaqing hot springs close by! I sure as hell wish we knew this earlier.

Army of Terracotta Warriors & HorsesArmy of Terracotta Warriors & Horses

Fun facts:

  • Each and every terracotta army is unique. (An inside joke:)

Me: Did you know that each terracotta army has different hairstyle?

É: Did you know that each terracotta army has different ‘….’ size?

  • All armies have single eyelids because the emperor had them, so he wanted to impose his idea of ‘beauty’ to the citizens of mainland China.

Army of Terracotta Warriors & Horses
Army of Terracotta Warriors & Horses

Getting there: 

This attraction is 20 km east of town1 hour by bus. Why bus? A taxi costs RMB 300 – 400 (RM236). At this point it is not about what one can afford anymore, but whether it is worth it. After a quick contemplation, É and I decided that we’d much prefer treating ourselves to a better meal with that cost.

If you and I have the same mindset, then you may take Tourism Bus 5 (306) from Xi’an Railway Station. Alternatively, ask someone / your hotel reception of the nearest spot to take an available bus. Jump on it and pay RMB 7 later (in contrast to ~ RMB 350)!

Take the same bus to return. The last trip is at 7 p.m., so don’t miss it!



2. Cycle along the perimeters of Xi’an Ancient City Wall.

Xian Ancient City Wall

Why you need to go:

You have to see the fortifications of Xi’an to consider your trip complete. Nonetheless, whether you want to or not, it is a magnificent sight you won’t miss as it surrounds the old city handsomely.

Xian Ancient City Wall

Fun fact:

  • The city wall is 14 km in length and 12 meters tall.
  • You can rent bikes and cycle along the perimeters – another tip I wish someone had told me earlier so I would’ve worn pants and carried a smaller bag!

Xian Ancient City WallXian Ancient City WallXian Ancient City Wall


3. Eat your heart out at Xi’an Street Food + Muslim Quarter.

Muslim Quarter XianMuslim Quarter Xian

Everything you need to know about Xi’an food scene and 17 Xi’an street foods you’d be crazy not to try here.


4. Forget what you think a mosque should look like when you see the Great Mosque of Xi’an.

Xian Great Mosque

Located at Beiyuanmen Snacks Street (you can tell that it’s near the food street at Muslim Quarters), drop this unique mosque-without-a-dome a worthy visit.

Unlike any other mosques, this great one is built using the structure of Chinese architecture. Plus, anyone can enter – men, women, gay or straight!


5. Shop, browse and snack along the alleys of Beilin District.

Xian Beilin District

See Tang Hostel is located within Beilin District (very close to the city wall), which I highly recommend.

From early mornings to evenings, peaceful alleys bustle with life, conducted mostly by elder generations selling traditional foods, fox tail paint brushes and delicate trinkets actually worth buying (unlike the very touristic stuff i.e. magnets or bottle openers).

Xian Beilin District


If you have more time / days to spare:

Shaanxi History Museum

What you need to know:

  • Only 2k visitors are allowed a day.
  • Opens from 8.30 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Tuesday – Sunday. Last entry at 4.30 p.m.
  • Recommended time: 2 hours.

Huashan Mountain

What you need to know:

  • To get there is a 2-hour ride by car (120 km).
  • What you do when you get there is take a cable car 1614m to the top. I’m sure the view must be worth the journey!

Xian Beilin District


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