For over 1000 years the capital of China, it took farmers discovery of a Terracotta Army to put this city on the tourism trail. The city is fantastic for families as the sights are so big people of all ages will be able to understand the awesomeness of this 1974 discovery. Xi’an is more than the terracotta warriors though it is a city of 8 million people that was the capital of the Chinese region for 1000 years! With the recent increase in tourism the city has renovated the ancient city walls creating a park by the moat and opening up a 14 Kilometer biking trail circling the old city. Two nights is enough in this city making it a great stopover while visiting other regions in China and trust me you will not regret it!
- Terracotta Warrior Museum – The first stop of your day should be this museum it is about an hour out of town and it gets crowded it the afternoon. We hired a tour guide who picked us up at the hotel and dropped us off at the old city. As long as transportation was figured out I think it would be doable with or without a guide as the museum is so well signed. There are three main buildings each showcasing the pits where the warriors were found. In the first pit you can even watch archeologists continuing to excavate!!! We read the book “The Emperors Silent Army” by Jane O’Connor before we went and with that little knowledge were able to make up lots of stories about the warriors and pretend wars as we walked around. The museum is beautifully done, clean, well signed and there is a big park to run around surrounding it. We spent about two and a half hours here and at the end met one of the farmers who discovered the Warriors!
- Defachang Dumpling Restaurant – After the ride and the museum we headed back into the old town for lunch. This dumpling restaurant located cattycorner from the Bell Tower is great for trying new foods. They are very patient with children even with their limited English and our limited Chinese. They have a series of set meals and we had about fifteen different typed of dumplings to taste and then ordered more of two of our favorites. It costs about $10 US dollars per person but the kids shared our servings. It is nice to have an opportunity to have small bites of the local foods.
- City Wall walk/bike ride, South Gate: After lunch and needing a bit of a walk we headed to the South Gate to walk along the city wall. We were too full to bike ride but the rental stand was right next to the gate. It takes about two or three hours to do the whole loop on bike and the rental stops if there is any rain due to the slipperiness of the wall. Even walking up for a stroll is quite beautiful. The modern city can be viewed against the backdrop of the wall, which was built during the Ming Dynasty, A.D. 1368 – A.D. 1644.
- Muslim Street shopping: There is a street market on Muslim Street where the kids bought all their Warrior replicas, headphones, t-shirts and anything else they could bargain down to within their budget. The market is fun moderately sized and people are kind not aggressive making it an enjoyable way to end the day. There are also foods along the outside perfect for a snack or dinner.
Accommodation: There are many hotels in Xi’an at different budgets. I did not see a perfect one for families, all are fine, and none are great!
Details: Museum of Qin Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses, 150 Yuan per adult, 75 Yuan students over 10 years old, Open Daily, 8:30am – 5:00pm. Defachang Dumpling Restaurant, No. 3 Zhonggulou Plaza West Street, Lianhu District, 029-8721 – 4073. City Wall South Gate and Muslim Street are both sights in the old city, the city is well signed and if asked people can point you in the right direction.