Xian Travel Guide

" Everything you need to know before traveling to Xian "

Xian is the capital of Shaanxi Province in the north-central of China. The city is one of the four ancient capitals of China with over 3,000 years of history preserving many historical sites including 72 imperial tombs and over 700 ancient relics. Among these attractions, 6 sites are classified as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Besides the attraction, food lovers would spend a great time in Xi’an because of the fantastic specialties of the city.

Visiting China is like a trip to a magical land that is rich with culture and history, as well as many legends that go back thousands of years. Among the many destinations to choose from, Xi’an is one of the richest places in terms of historical values because it used to be the ancient capital of several dynasties. This magnificent city is the starting point of the Silk Road, the most important element of commercial affairs in old China. 

  • Local Name 西安 (/ˌʃiːˈæn/ shee-AN)
  • Country China
  • Population (2018) 12,000,600
  • Time Zone UTC+8 (China Standard)
  • Area Code 29
  • Website XA.gov.cn

Why Visiting Xi'an?

Xi’an is known as the birthplace of Chinese civilization as it used to be the capital city of 13 imperial dynasties. The rich and ancient culture of Xi’an will be fantastic for any visitor and tourist. The significance of this city is that most of the ancient and historical sites in Xi’an are very well-preserved and visiting them helps you to have an amazing trip to ancient China.

Terracotta Warriors, also known as the Terracotta Army of Xi’an, is the most famous historical site of the city, which is a massive collection of outstanding life-size terracotta sculptures. This site is considered the most noteworthy and substantial archaeological excavation of the 20th century and it’s classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The sculptures were made for the historical funerary project of Emperor Qin Shi Huang.

As Xi’an is located in the central section of China, it is where you can find different kinds of local cuisines from the city itself and other cities of the country. Dumplings, lamb, noodles, kabobs, etc. are the best dishes you can find in Xi’an.

Besides the historic and cultural aspects of this ancient city, traveling to Xi’an is very convenient for tourists as they can find different kinds of accommodations, which can fit any budget. Besides, there is an advanced public transportation system in Xi’an; from a great metro network to city buses, taxis, etc.

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What to See in Xian

  • Banpo Museum
  • Bell Tower
  • Botanical Garden
  • Chongyang Palace
  • City God Temple
  • City Wall
  • Cool Cave Site Park
  • Cuihua Mountain
  • Daming Palace Site
  • Daxingshan Temple
  • Defu Lane
  • Drum Tower
  • Famen Temple Scenic Area
  • Farmers’ Caves
  • Gaoguan Waterfall
  • Gao’s Grand Courtyard
  • Giant Wild Goose Pagoda
  • Great Buddha Temple
  • Great Mosque
  • Great Tang All Day Mall
  • Guangren Temple
  • Guanzhong Folk Art Museum
  • Han Yang Ling
  • Hancheng
  • Hancheng Lake Park
  • Heihe National Forest Park
  • Hongmen Banquet Site Museum
  • Huaqing Pool
  • Huxian Peasant Painting
  • Jianfu Temple
  • Lewa Adventure
  • Local Courtyard Visit
  • Louguantai
  • Maoling Mausoleum
  • Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor
  • Mt. Huashan
  • Muslim Quarter
  • Qianling Mausoleum
  • Qinglong Temple
  • Qinling Mountains
  • Qinling National Botanical Garden
  • Qinling Wildlife Park
  • Qujiang Polar Ocean Park
  • Qujiang Pool Park
  • Sanyuan City God Temple
  • Shaanxi Grand Opera House
  • Shaanxi History Museum
  • Shaanxi Nature Museum
  • Shuilu Temple
  • Shuyuanmen Cultural Street
  • Small Wild Goose Pagoda
  • South Wutai Mountain
  • Stele Forest
  • Straw Hut Temple
  • Taibai Mountain
  • Taiping National Forest Park
  • Tang Dynasty Palace
  • Tang Paradise
  • Tang West Market
  • Tangyu Hot Springs
  • Temple of Eight Immortals
  • Terra Cotta Army
  • The Site of Weiyang Palace
  • Tomb of Huo Qubing
  • Wangshun Mountain
  • Western Zhou Chariot Burial Pit
  • White Deer Plain
  • Xi’an Museum
  • Xiangji Temple
  • Xianyang Museum
  • Xianyou Temple Museum
  • Xingjiao Temple
  • Xingqinggong Park
  • Zhaoling Mausoleum
  • Zhongnan Mountains
  • Zhuque National Forest Park

Best Time to Visit Xian

Xian, like other spots of China, has four distinct seasons. Spring and autumn are the best seasons to visit this ancient city due to the mild and pleasant weather.

Spring (April – May)

  • Temperature: 3°C  (37°F ) – 13°C (55°F)
  • Features: Spring is one of the best times to visit Xi’an. You should expect warm sunshine and a gentle breeze
  • Recommendation: Mt. Huashan and Qinglong Temple are highly recommended in the spring
 

What to wear?

Sweatshirts and thick coats are probably good choices for March. Long-sleeved shirts and t-shirts as well as light jackets are suitable for April. Besides, bring your summer clothes in May

Summer (June - August)

  • Temperature: 19 Xian Travel Guide 2C (66 Xian Travel Guide 2F) – 31 Xian Travel Guide 2C (87 Xian Travel Guide 2F)
  • Features: Summer in Xi’an is hot with notable sunshine! Summer is also the rainy season of this area.
  • Recommendation: make sure to bring sunscreen as well as enough water and fruit. In summer, you should avoid outdoor activities in noon

 

What to wear?

Summer clothes such as light t-shirts and shorts are suitable for summer in Xi’an.

Autumn (September-October)

  • Temperature: 12°C (53°F) – 16°C (61°F)
  • Features: It’s one of the best seasons for visiting Xi’an
  • Recommendation: City Wall Marathon is held early November annually and it’s highly recommended 

What to wear?

long-sleeved shirts, as well as sweatshirts and light coats, are suitable for autumn

Winter (November - March)

  • Temperature: 0 °C (32°F) – -5°C (23°F)
  • Features: Cold and dry, but you may see a little snow as well.
  • Recommendation: Drinking enough water is necessary for avoiding dehydration. Lantern Festival and Chinese New Year are the best parts of winter traveling

What to wear?

Overcoats and other warm clothes are necessary for winter in Xi’an

How Long To Stay?

2 full days is ideal for visiting Xian; however, the city is full of fantastic attractions and you can stretch your stay to three or even four days.

DaysAttractions
First DayShaanxi Provincial – History Museum – Xian City Wall – Bell Tower – Forest of Stone Steles Museum – Great Mosque – Muslim Market
Second DayTerra-cotta Warriors – Banpo Museum – Huaqing Hot Spring
Third and Fourth Day (If you had more times)Famen Temple – Qianling Tomb – Huangdi Mausoleum – Mt.Huashan

Things to do in Xi'an

There are a lot of things to do in the city and many places to visit. No matter how long you stay in Xian, you cannot see it all in just one trip! Because of this, we have prepared a list of the top 10 places you can go and things you can do while you are in town.

Marvel at the Sight of Terracotta Warriors

Number one in many lists, Terracotta Warriors, is one of the best places to visit the ancient heritage of Xi’an and China. It is quite popular since it is among the greatest archaeological sites on the planet. The life-sized army is put to guard the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, in the afterlife. It is now an amazing site to visit located about 30 km away from the city of Xian. This heritage site was discovered in 1974 and has three pits to visit.

Opening Hours
Every Day8:30 – 17:30
Prices
Entrance Fee150 RMB (The fee will be lowered to 120 RMB during low seasons.)

Visit Xi’an Ancient City Wall

Another site to explore is the Xi’an Ancient City Wall that was originally built during the reign of the Ming Dynasty. The walls were expanded years later by the Tang Dynasty. These walls are about 12 meters high and they are approximately 14 km long. You can see them now near the central areas of Xi’an and witness these well-preserved elements of the past. They were once impenetrable defenses of the city, and now an amazing experience. You should visit the Xian Ancient City Wall to learn its history, and if possible, walk or ride around to enjoy the visit further.

Opening Hours
Every Day08:00 – 20:00 
Prices
Entrance Fee40 RMB (You can purchase your ticket near the gates.)

Learn a little about the History of China at the Shaanxi History Museum

If you love history or not, the visit to Shaanxi History Museum is a must! It was opened in 1991 as the first national museum of China in Xi’an. It is also one of the top museums of China, housing pieces of art, culture, and history of China with a total area of 65,000 square meters. This “fantastic trip down history lane” will take several hours therefore, you have to be ready to spend several hours here.

Opening Hours
Summer08:00  – 17:30 
Winter08:00  – 17:00
Prices
Entrance FeeFree

Notes

  • The museum is open every day except for Monday
  • The Shaanxi History Museum only issues 4000 free tickets on each day.

Behold the Big Wild Goose Pagoda

In the 7th century, after Emperor Gaozong of the Tang Dynasty had returned from his journey to India, the Big Wild Goose Pagoda or Giant Wild Goose Pagoda was built. The purpose of this temple was to house the texts and artifacts of the Buddhist religion that the Emperor had brought back with him. It is a heritage site with unique architecture with beautiful items housed inside. Apart from the building and the items, you can also ascend the tower. Ever since it was constructed in 652 by Emperor Gaozong, it has seen a major reconstruction in 704. The temple was damaged by many earthquakes but was always repaired and preserved.

Opening Hours
Summer08:00  – 17:30 
Winter08:00  – 17:00
Prices
Ascending The Temple50 RMB (You can purchase your ticket near the gates.)
The Pagoda30 RMB

Visit Small Wild Goose Pagoda

Named after its older and larger construction, The Small Wild Goose Pagoda was built for the same reason of holding Buddhist artifacts. This temple was constructed in 707 with a different architecture. The construction is curved that had 15 stories (it has more stories than its counterpart but it is shorter),13 of which are still preserved. You may think that visiting one of them is enough, but each of them is a different experience than you must try.

Opening Hours
Every Day (Except Tuesday)09:00 – 17:30
Prices
Ordinary DaysFree
During the Temple Fair25 RMB
Ascending the Small Wild Goose Pagoda30 RMB

Try the Famous Food at Muslim Quarter

The starting point of the Silk Road has brought about numerous Muslims and Arab Traders to reside in the Muslim Quarter. Ever since their arrival, they have brought elements of their food and culture to these streets. Their delicious cuisine is one of the things you have to try while in Xi’an. The restaurants and street vendors in this neighborhood have a large variety of foods, even some Chines Cuisine, except for pork. To get the best experience of their foods, you should try visiting at night and for dinner but not too late into the night. It can be very crowded as a lot of people have the same idea and want to have a taste of these delicious dishes.

Learn About Islam in The Extraordinary Great Mosque of Xi’an

While inside the Muslim Quarters, be sure to visit the Great Mosque of Xi’an. This place of worship was built in 742 during the Tang Dynasty, using Chinese architecture and Arabic Writings and decorations. The building faces Mecca and has a large garden filled with pagodas. This building, with its unique appearance, is not something you can see in a lot. Make sure to visit and explore around and get the spiritual feeling of the place. Like many of the ancient pagodas that are still used for worship, this building is also still a valuable building for the Muslims.

Opening Hours
Every Day08:00 – 19:00
Prices
Ordinary DaysFree

Visit Drum & Bell Towers

Before or after a visit to Muslim Quarters, you need to visit the nearby Drum and Bell Towers of Xian. The two towers sit on opposite sides of the Zhonggulou Square, one holding an enormous bell, the other, a huge drum. From street level, you can see the cars passing through the Bell Tower’s four gates facing north, south, east, and west. What you should do is getting inside and climb each of the towers and catch the view over Xian and the Muslim Streets. They look very beautiful in the evening and during the night because of the many lights that are lit after sundown. The huge drum is beaten to mark the sundown, and the bell to tell the time. Do not miss these buildings that were constructed during the Ming Dynasty.

Opening Hours
Spring and Summer08:30 – 21:30
Autumn and Winter08:30 – 18:00
Prices
Bell Tower35 RMB
Drum Tower50 RMB

Ascend Mount Huashan

Three things make Mount Huashan one of the top places that you must visit when you visit Xian. First, it is stunning; Second, it is a challenging but fun trip; And Third, it is one of the Taoist mountains that dates back to about five centuries BCE. You can go hiking all the way up the beautiful mountain or get on a cable car and ascend quickly. Mount Huashan is about 2 hours ride away from Xian but do not let that keep you from going there!

Opening Hours
The MountainAll-day long
Xiyue Temple09:00 – 17:30
Jade Spring Temple09:00 – 17:00
Cable CarMar – Nov: 07:00 a.m. – 07:00 p.m. Dec – Feb: 08:00 a.m. – 06:00 p.m.
Prices
Entrance Fee160 RMB
Cable CarUp to 280 RMB

Notes

  • The mountain is always open, but you should only during daylight hours for more safety.
  • The prices can change from time to time with discounts at low-season.
  • The price for the Cable Car varies depending on the destination. The highest price for a round trip is 280 RMB, but not all trips cost that much.

Try the Famous Dumplings of Xian

Aside from the tasty food of the Muslim Quarter, you need to try the Famous Dumplings of Xian. Food tours or not, you should probably try Dumplings in Xian. In this city, they can come in many varieties, offering different shapes and tastes. You can even try them on Muslim Street and get two birds with one stone. After trying them, you can even ask about how to make them back home.

Xian Travel Guide 7

Photo By © momo via Flickr

The List Goes on…

Xi’an is one of the places that can take days to explore. It has many places to see and a lot of things to do. If time is a problem, make sure to try our top ten recommendations. If you have tried them and still have time, some of the items on the list below are also worth a try:

  • Visiting the Huaqing Palace and its Pool
  • Going to the Hanyangling Museum
  • Exploring the Beautiful Tang Paradise
  • Discovering the Yangling Mausoleum + Museum
  • Walking Around the Ancient and Calm Village of Yuanjia
  • Short Trip to Calligraphy Market and Even Learning Chinese Calligraphy

Where to Stay in Xi'an

City center

For first time travelers, the best area to stay is the city center located in Beilin District. Many attractions of China such as Bell Tower, the ancient city wall of Xi’an, Muslim Street, and the Drum Tower are located in this neighborhood.

Lianhu District

Lianhu District is located in the western area of Xian and it’s the commercial district of the city. However, some attractions such as the Catholic church in Wuxing Street and the Drum Tower are located here.

Xincheng District

Xincheng District is rather a residential area located near many shopping centers of the city such as Wanda Plaza, Xincheng Plaza, and Yitian Holiday World shopping mall. Also, Daming Palace National Heritage Park is situated in this area, which used to be known as the most magnificent palace complex in the Tang Dynasty (618–907).

Yanta District

Yanta District is located 20 minutes from the city center in the south and it’s the best option for budget travelers. From attractions in this area, Big Wild Goose Pagoda and Shaanxi History Museum are notable.

Weiyang District

Weiyang District is located in the north of Xian near the Xi’an North Railway Station (the high-speed train station) and the airport. Weiyang Palace, Weiyang Lake Amusement Park, Chanba National Wetland Park, etc. are among the famous attractions in this area.

Lintong District

Lintong District is located 35 km from the city center and it’s ideal for vacations and escaping from the busy districts of the city. However, this district is home to many attractions of the city such as the Terracotta Army, Huaqing Palace, and the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor.

How to Get to Xi'an

By Plane

Xian is one of the 8 air travel hubs in china operating over 350 domestic and international flights. Xi’an Xianyang International Airport (XIY) has flights to these domestic and international destinations.

Major Destinations
DomesticBeijing – Shanghai – Guangzhou – Guilin – Lijiang – Shenzhen – Nanjing – Hangzhou – Yiwu – Anqing – Tangshan – Yichun
InternationalHong Kong – Taipei – Seoul – Phuket – Osaka – Chiengmai – Okinawa – Singapore –  Kuala Lumpur – Maldives – Helsinki – Moscow – Paris

By Train

Xian has three main train stations; Xi’an Railway Station, North Railway Station and Xi’an South Railway Station.

Xi’an Railway Station

Xi’an Railway Station is one of the four largest stations in China offering train services to these destinations:

  • Baotou
  • Beijing
  • Changchun
  • Changsha
  • Chengdu
  • Chongqing
  • Datong
  • Dongguan
  • Dunhuang
  • Fuzhou
  • Guangzhou
  • Guilin
  • Guiyang
  • Guangyuan
  • Hanzhong
  • Hangzhou
  • Harbin
  • Hefei
  • Hong Kong
  • Hohhot
  • Huashan
  • Huizhou
  • Jinan
  • Jiayuguan
  • Kunming
  • Kunshan
  • Lhasa
  • Luoyang
  • Nanchang
  • Nanjing
  • Nanning
  • Ningbo
  • Pingyao
  • Qingdao
  • Shanghai
  • Shaoguan
  • Shaoxing
  • Shenyang
  • Shenzhen
  • Shijiazhuang
  • Suzhou
  • Taiyuan
  • Taian
  • Tianjin
  • Tianshui
  • Urumqi
  • Wenzhou
  • Wudangshan
  • Wuhan
  • Wuxi
  • Wuyishan
  • Xiamen
  • Xining
  • Xuzhou
  • Yan’an
  • Yangzhou
  • Yantai
  • Yinchuan
  • Yichang
  • Yiwu
  • Yuncheng
  • Zhangjiajie
  • Zhangye
  • Zhengzhou
  • Zibo

Xi’an north railway station

Xian north railway station is one of the main high speed railway stations of China.

  • Beijing
  • Changsha
  • Chengdu
  • Dalian
  • Fuzhou
  • Guangzhou
  • Guiyang
  • Guangyuan
  • Hangzhou
  • Hanzhong
  • Hefei
  • Hong Kong
  • Huangshan
  • Huashan
  • Jinan
  • Jiayuguan
  • Kunming
  • Kunshan
  • Lanzhou
  • Luoyang
  • Nanning
  • Nanchang
  • Nanjing
  • Ningbo
  • Pingyao
  • Qingdao
  • Qufu
  • Shanghai
  • Shaoguan
  • Shaoxing
  • Shenyang
  • Shenzhen
  • Shijiazhuang
  • Suzhou
  • Taiyuan
  • Tianjin
  • Tianshui
  • Taian
  • Wenzhou
  • Weihai
  • Wuhan
  • Wuxi
  • Wuyishan
  • Xining
  • Xuzhou
  • Yan’an
  • Yantai
  • Yuncheng
  • Yiwu
  • Zhangye
  • Zhengzhou
  • Zibo

Xi’an south railway station

Xi’an South Railway Station usually offers ordinary train services to these dstinations

  • Ankang
  • Baotou
  • Chengdu
  • Chongqing
  • Dazhou
  • Hohhot
  • Huashan
  • Jiexiu
  • Kunming
  • Lingshi
  • Ordos
  • Pingyao
  • Qiqihar
  • Taiyuan
  • Weinan
  • Yan’an
  • Yulin

By Long-Distance Buses

Over 2800 km of highway exist in Xian and it’s enough to show you the importance of road travel in this ancient city. 

Major coach stations in Xian are:

Xi’an Coach Station
Address No. 13, Fengqing Road, Lianhu District
Sanfuwan Long-Distance Bus Station
Address No. 353, West Changying Road
Fangzhicheng Bus Station
Address No. 283, East Changle Road
West Xi’an Bus Station
Address No.92, Zaoyuan Road
Xi’an South Coach Station
Address Southwest corner of the crossroad between Zhuque Street and South Third Ring Road
North Xi’an Bus Station
Address No.9, West of the 2nd North Ring Road

Get Around In Xian

Xian Metro

There are 5 metro lines in Xian and it will be increased to 10 lines in the following years.

Lines in operation
Line 1 Fenghe Forest Park – Fangzhicheng
Line 2 Beikezhan – Weiqunan
Line 3 Yuhuazhai – Bonded Zone
Line 4 Beikezhan — Hangtian Xincheng
Airport Line (Northwest-Southeast) Beikezhan — Dong Hangzhanlou
Lines to be opened
Line 5 (East-West) Fangzhicheng Railway Station — Innovation Harbour of Xi’an Jiaotong University
Line 6 (Southwest–Northeast) South Railway Station — Fangzhicheng
Line 9 Fangzhicheng – Qinhan Avenue
Line 7 Xianyang City – Qujiang (Xi’an City)
 Line 8 Fengcheng 2nd Road – Fengcheng 2nd Road (a circle line)
 Line 10 International Trade & Logistics Park – Weibei Industrial Park East
 Line 11 Qujiang – Lintong District
 Line 12 Expanded High-Tech Industrial Park – Airport New City in Xixian New Area
 Line 14 Fengxi New City – Yanliang District
 Line 15 Huxian County – Outsou

City bus

There are over 8,000 city buses in Xian helping passengers to reach any corner of the city. They are in operation from 6:00 – 6:30 to 19:30 to 23:00. Air-conditioned buses cost 2 RMB and others cost 1 RMB per person.

Taxi

Over 1,200 taxis are working in Xian. You can simply flag down taxis in the streets. They cost 3 RMB for the first 3 km and 2 RMB for each additional km. If your travel goes beyond 12 km, the fee rises 50% per km because of the empty return of taxis.

Bicycle

Renting public bicycles is possible in Xian from special sites located in almost every district of Xian. The service available from 06:30 to 21:00 and after that, you can only return the bike.

Flight to Xian (XIY)

Xian Food & Drink

Suantang Shuijiao (Hot and Sour Dumplings)

China is famous for its Dumplings, and you can probably try Suantang Shuijiao in any of the cities. These Spicy Hot and Sour Dumplings are a must-try in several of the regions because of the local ingredients. Xi’an is along the best places to try them in. The Dumplings are stuffed with beef and garlic, resting in a plate of a sour soup that will melt in your mouth and release the flavors! If you do not eat spicy food, be careful as you eat them since they are maybe a little too hot.

Kabob

Meat, chili, and spice is the simplest combination you see in the street stalls, which tastes amazing. Different kinds of meat can be seen on skewers, which come with all kinds of herbs or vegetables that make it difficult to say where you can find the best Kabob. If you have tried Kebab on your travels and liked them, you will love the Kabobs since they are almost the same. They are served in a different way by each person, but all the same, every stall is worth a try. Have them with a cold beer at night while you explore the cities to get the same amazing experience of delicious street food as the other travelers.

Liang Pi (Cold Noodles)

If you see a traditional restaurant that has Liang Pi or Cold Noodles, you have to go inside and try it. It is a unique experience to have some smooth, cold, and tasty noodles made of rice or wheat, with bean sprouts and vegetables on top. It can be served with sesame oil, pepper, MSG, or vinegar to make it tastier. It is a vegetarian-friendly dish, but you can ask for some beef or perhaps an egg or two to be added in some places. If you are looking for something healthy, this is the food you are looking for, although it can be a little spicy for some people.

Biangbiang Noodles

Biangbiang Noodles have an odd and exotic name with a very special taste. This food is a unique dish that originated in the same area. These noodles are mostly made of wheat and are so long that sometimes a single noodle can fill your plate. Celery, cilantro, beans, tomatoes, and eggs are among the popular toppings that can be seen in this dish right next to big chunks of meat. Xian may have several noodle dishes, but Biangbiang Noodles or Biangbiang Main is perhaps the richest in terms of flavors. You should not leave Xian before trying this amazing food.

Photo by Guilhem Vellut via Flickr

Photo by Gary Stevens via Flickr

ZengGao (Sticky Rice with Jujube)

Another Xian special is Zenggao, which is a local and traditional breakfast. You can go for it as a breakfast like the locals or give it a try as a snack. It looks like a sticky rice cake with jujubes and beans mixed inside. It has a sweet taste but has no sugar. The process to make this snack is a bit difficult, so they can be a little hard to find in the evenings.

 Roujiamo

Known as Chinese Hamburger, the Roujiamo is the best street snack you can have in Xian. It is not seen in most cities, which all the more reason to try it while in Xian. The Roujiamo is wrapped in a crispy bread called pita that looks like pancakes. It looks very simple, but it has many different ingredients that give it a unique taste and an amazing aroma. It is originally filled with pork, but it also has a Halal version you can try in the streets of the Muslim Quarter. Do not miss out on this part of the Xian traveling experience, because the Roujiamo is one of the most popular things you can find in China, which is also hard to find in most places.

Photo by Gary Stevens via Flickr

Photo by Gary Stevens via Flickr

Must-Try in The Muslim Quarter

One of the things that make Xian a great place to go on a food tour is the Muslim Quarter. The Arab Merchants were famous for their spice in ancient times. Being on the starting point of the Silk Road has brought their ancestors which brought their spice and hot foods along with their culture and religion to the region. Muslim Street is one of the best places in Xian to find great restaurants and get some quality food, but that is not the only place in the city. In any case, be sure to pay a visit and try their cuisine.

Rou Wan Zi Hu La Tang (Spicy Vegetable Stew with Beef Ball)

Rou Wan Zi Hu La Tang, also known as just Hula Tang is a hot Vegetable Stew served with Beef or Lamb Ball is a must-try in Xian. This food is absolutely Halal (something that Muslims can eat as well), but it is not limited to just Muslim Quarter. This local dish usually has a numbing taste if you do not want it too spicy, ask the chef to go easy on the chili and chili oil. The locals add flatbread chunks as well, which is an optional part of this spicy stew.

Fenzhengrou (Steamed Beef with Rice\Wheat Flour)

You can have a dish of Fenzhengrou in just about anywhere in China. The best places for this type of Steamed Beef are the traditional restaurants and local food stalls. Our recommendation is to try it in the Muslim street. Both the locals and the Arabs in this area use the best kind of spice with the Steamed Beef that comes with chunks of rice or wheat flour. Since it can be too spicy, you better be used to hot food or have a cold drink to make it even more enjoyable.

Yangrou Paomo (Crumbled Flatbread in Mutton Stew)

Yangrou Paomo is a local dish and a must-try in several provinces, such as Xian. The food is so tasty that you usually find it on the top of recommendation lists, but we kept it for when you go to the Muslim Quarter. It is rich with flavors and has a great smell that makes your mouth water. Beef or lamb is cooked in the ingredients long enough to create the irresistible and spicy taste. Yangrou Paomo has two methods of preparing. First, the Flatbread, also known as ‘mo’ is crumbled into small pieces and cooked with the meat and vegetables. Second, the Flatbread can be served separately, so you tear it down yourself.

Jinggao

Jinggao is on the bottom of the list, but that does not mean it is any less. It is one of the cheapest things you can buy from the vendors. The Jianggao is a sticky rice stick with jam and sometimes nuts. It is not a meal, it is not even considered as a dessert by some, but it is not something you can pass. It can be found in many places, but it tastes a little better in Muslim Quarters. In any case and any place, give them a try, you will not regret having a Jianggao stick.

No Pork but Good Vegetarian Food

As mentioned earlier, in the Muslim Quarters, you will not see any pork. As part of their religion, they have to avoid certain types of meat, which has led them to change several of the dishes in Chinese Cuisine. This change has partly led to more vegetarian food in these streets. If the spicy food or the meat in your dish is a bother to you, the safest options you can try are located in these neighborhoods

Shopping in Xian

The best shopping districts in Xian

East Street (东大街)

Xian Dong Da Jie, aka East Street, is one of the most famous shopping districts in Xian offering a wide range of shops and shopping malls. Tangcheng Department Store and Kaiyuan Shopping Mall are among the best shopping centers in this street. East Street is where you can find a wide range of clothes, antiques, shoes, perfumes, etc.

Address: East side of the Bell Tower, Xian

Xian Jiefang Road Commercial District (西安解放路商圈)

Xian Jiefang Road Commercial District has a huge reputation among locals and international visitors. This area is the best place to buy souvenirs and cultural items in Xian.

Address: Jiefang Road, Xian

Xiangzi Temple Street (湘子庙街)

If you are interested in Chinese tea and you want to bring some at home, make sure to visit Xiangzi Temple Street. This area is also full of cafes and teahouses, so you can spend an enjoyable afternoon in this area.

Address:  West side of South Street, facing to Shu Yuan Men, and close to Coffee and Bar Street of Defu Lane in its north

Bei Yuan Men Street (北院门)

Bei Yuan Men Street is where you can buy various kinds of handicrafts and local artworks, which are the main souvenirs of Xian. Shadow puppet, paper cutting, cloisonne, cloth, metal accessories, etc. are some of the goods and handicrafts sold in this area.

Address: In the back of the Drum Tower

Photo by Mitch Altman via Flickr

Photo by Mitch Altman via Flickr

Shu Yuan Men Street (书院门)

Address: Around Bell Tower and Drum Tower, Xian

Shu Yuan Men Street is dedicated to artworks and handicrafts. The shops in this area are in Ming and Qing styles offering a wide range of paintings, calligraphic works, antiques, jewels, etc.

Xian Wenbaozhai Shopping Center (文宝斋)

In Xian Wenbaozhai Shopping Center, you mainly find antiques, artworks, silk cloths, woolen blankets, jewelry, jade, calligraphies, paintings, vases, etc. In fact, Xian Wenbaozhai Shopping Center offers high-quality products and this feature has attracted thousands of foreign visitors annually.

Address: 25 Yanta Road with the Big Wild Goose Pagoda in the south

Luomashi Street (骡马市)

Luomashi Street is the first shopping area in Xian specializing in selling clothes and fashion products. In other words, Luomashi street is a paradise for shopaholic locals and tourists. The street is filled with shops, a central plaza, a rockery waterfall, etc. Over 7,000 stalls are working in this area.

Address: East Street (next to Minsheng Department Store), Beilin District

Century Ginwa Shopping Mall (世纪金花购物中心)

Century Ginwa Shopping Mall is located in between the Bell Tower and the Drum Tower offering over 60 world-class brand stores such as Bally, Burberry, Dior, Givenchy, Lancome, Estee Lauder, etc.  

Address: No.1, West Avenue, Beilin District, Xi’an (西安碑林区西大街1号钟鼓楼广场世纪金花购物中心 )

Photo by Gary Todd via Flickr

Photo by Mitch Altman via Flickr

Minsheng Department Store (民生购物广场)

Minsheng Department Store is dedicated to food and clothes. You can find many local and famous restaurants as well as fashion stores.

Kai Yuan Shopping Mall (开元商城)

Kai Yuan Shopping Mall is one of the best shopping malls in Xian, which offers a variety of goods with high-quality products at very reasonable prices

Address: No.6, Jiefang Market, East Avenue, Beilin District, Xi’an (碑林区东大街解放市场6号)

What to buy in Xi'an

Terracotta Warriors Replicas

Terracotta Warriors Replicas are the most famous souvenirs of Xian. You can buy them in different sizes and different characters. They are exact copies of what you can see in Terracotta Warriors Museum. They are amazing representatives of Chinese culture and art value as well as the rich history of the country.

Folk Paper-cuts

Folk Paper-cuts are simple and beautiful ancient artworks of China, especially Xian. Some of them are exquisite and some of them are simple, but beautiful. However, all of them carry different meanings. Interestingly, locals put these artworks in their window during the New Year Holidays as a decorative item.

Tri-color Porcelain Replicas

Some of the famous objects left from Tang dynasty era in Xi’an are Tri-color Porcelain Replicas, which are color-glazed pottery of Tang dynasty era. Yellow, green, brown, blue, black and white are the colors you can see in these replicas. Tri-color Porcelain Replicas

Leather Shadow Play

Leather Shadow Play, aka light shadow or shadow puppetry, is one of the ancient and beautiful Chinese opera art. These plays are easy to perform even in large fields. They can be great gift for your loved ones.

Photo by J B via Flickr

Photo by Gary Todd via Flickr

Photo by Mitch Altman via Flickr 

Calligraphy Rubbings

Calligraphy Rubbings show the long history of China. These characters can tell you about the rich history of the country. If you are calligraphy lover, make sure to buy them in Xian. Steles from different dynasties especially Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties can be bought here.

Peasant Painting

Peasant Paintings are exquisite artworks showing the daily life of locals, especially in ancient times. Festival, parade, harvest, music, village traditions, animals, kitchen work, and the life of children are among especial things you can buy in Xian.

Lintong Persimmons Pancake

Xian, especially in Lintong District, is one of the hubs of persimmons in the world. The pancakes made of these Persimmons are fantastic and tasty. These pancakes are popular in Xian filled with Persimmons as well as rose, peach kernel, white sugar, crystal sugar, etc.

Chili Oil

If you are spicy food lover, Chili Oil is great for you. It is a delicious seasoning made of vegetables infused with chili peppers. Chili Oil is usually used in Shaanxi cuisine.

Xian Travel Tips

Fake Bus Tourism No.5 (306) to Terracotta Army

This fake bus brings a lot of tourists to souvenir stores. The original bus is on the east square of Xi’an Railway Station. The original one’s conductor doesn’t stay for the passenger ride.

Hailing taxi is not easy

Taxis, especially during peak hours at 07:00-09:00 and 17:00-19:00, may reject you due to the high requests of passengers.

Public Toilets are Squat

Most public toilets in Xian are squat toilets, especially in shopping malls, airport, railway stations, etc. Make sure to bring toilet paper as most public toilets don’t provide it. However, most of the hotels have western toilets.

Be Aware of Pickpockets

Take care of your wallet and gadgets because pick-pockets are active in tourist areas.

Use public transportation

Public transportation is the best method of exploring the city, especially the metro. Public transportation in Xi’an is fine and it covers almost all parts of the city. This method also helps you to save more money.

Don’t drink tap water

Tap waters in China may not be potable. Drink bottled waters or boil the tap water.

Foreign Consulates in Xi'an

South Korean Consulate General in Xian
Address19F, HIBC, 33 # Keji Road, GaoXin Hi-Tech Industries Development Zone, Xian, Shaanxi, 710075, China
Telephone(+86) (29) 8835-1001
Fax(+86) (29) 8835-1002
Emailxian@mofa.go.kr
Websitechn-xian.mofa.go.kr
Malaysian Consulate General in Xian
AddressUnit 3 & 4. 6th floors, East Tower of Capital Land Office, Xian, China
Telephone (+86) (29) 8956 8478
Fax(+86) (29) 8956 8478
Emailmwxian@kln.gov.my
Thai Consulate General in Xian
Address1st-2nd floors, 11 East, Diamond Peninsula QuJiang New District, YanNan 3rd Road, Xi’an, China
Telephone(+86) 29-8931 2831
Fax(+86) 29-8931 2935
Emailthaixian@outlook.com
Websitewww.thaiembassy.org/xian

Exchanging Money

You can exchange your money in the branch of the Bank of China in Xian. Also, most of 4 and 5-star hotels as well as the airport provide exchanging service. The branch of the Bank Of China is:

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