Xi’an is a historically significant city in central China. It is known as the beginning of the Silk Road as well as one of the first capitals of unified China during the Qin Dynasty. The main reason to visit Xi’an is for the Terracotta Warriors of Emperor Qin Shi Huang.
How to Get There
Several Chinese airlines allow for affordable access of Xi’an from Manila. Once in Xi’an it is easy to either find tours and guides through the hotel concierge or to find means to make your own way to the various sites.
Discovered in 1974 by farmers, the Terracotta army was created to protect Emperor Qin Shi Huang in the afterlife. There are over 8,000 soldiers and hundreds of horses in the army. The army is housed in multiple large buildings that looks similar to aircraft hangars. The location of the army is around 40 kms away from the city of Xi’an. While it is entirely possible to make your way here via public transport or car rental, it is quite cheap to hire an English-speaking guide from Xi’an to come with you.
The soldiers are intricately modeled with no two faces alike. They held real weapons and were painted to look life-like. Unfortunately the paint and weapons deteriorated quickly once they were unearthed and much has also been looted.
The chariots below gives some idea on how the whole army originally looked like with its paint still intact.
Wild Goose Pagoda
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the pagoda is located in a temple complex with beautiful, lush gardens even in winter. Originally built in the 7th century it was renovated extensively during the Ming Dynasty in the 14th-17th centuries after earthquakes severely damaged it. The Pagoda is an easy taxi or train ride within the city of Xi’an.
Xi’an City Walls
The city walls of Xi’an are one of the best preserved city walls in China. The walls are very wide with imposing towers every few hundred meters. Smaller buildings and even temples can be found along the walls as well.
Tips and Tricks
- Taxis, car rentals and private tour guides are all quite affordable. Getting an English-speaking guide can be very useful as barely anyone speaks English in this city.
- Ordering in restaurants can be challenging and you might need to resort to pointing to the orders of other people.
- Some tourist sites are actually recreations or straight up brand new. Do your research beforehand.
- Here as in most of China, water is served hot. You will need to request for water with ice specifically if you want cold water.
- While communicating is definitely challenging, the Chinese are quite friendly and any small effort to speak in Chinese will be appreciated. Google-translate is your friend.