Xi'an is served by the Xianyang Airport, which is located around 45 kilometers from the city, about one hour's drive. As the fourth largest airport in China, there are several flights to and from Xi'an to the major tourist stops such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Urumuqi and other cities. There are also a few flights to Lhasa and international flights to Hong kong, Macau and Japan.
Xi'an Xianyang Airport is located in the outskirts of Xi'an City, Shanxi and was opened in 1991. The rapid growth in air traffic in north western China has led it to require further investment. Xi'an Xianyang airport will see its airport terminal building expanded with new investment buying boarding bridges, air conditioning equipment, and other passenger terminal building equipment. Visitors can take a taxi to the airport for about 80 yuan/10 USD.
Xi'an Airport Shuttle Bus
The Xi'an Xianyang International Airport (西安咸阳国际机场) is 47 kilometers northwest of central Xian and about 13 kilometers from Xianyang. For quick travel between the Xi'an International Airport and the Xi'an Train Station or the Bell Tower or many other places, it might be best just to take the shuttle buses that run regularly and frequently and are a lot less expensive. There are 7 shuttle bus routes. Airport taxis might be a little unreliable. Drivers may issue fake money, drive too far or try to pull other scams. By taking a bus, you can avoid this. For the shuttle buses, be aware that the schedules can change. The 7 shuttle bus routes run frequently and go to important places.
Shuttle Bus Line 1 Airport ↔ Bell Tower
Operates between Stop T1 at the airport and the Xi'an Melody Hotel between about 6 am to 8 pm. The ticket fare is 25 RMB. The travel time is about an hour. The buses leave about every half hour, but they usually leave when they fill up. If there is an incoming flight, a bus is scheduled to meet it.
Shuttle Bus Line 2 Airport ↔ Xi'an Railway Station
Operates hourly between Stop T2 at the airport between 7 am to 7 pm going from the railway station to the airport; and about 10 am to 7 pm going from the airport to the railway station. The ticket fare is 25 RMB. The Xi'an Railway Station is close to the Bell Tower. The travel time is about an hour.
Shuttle Bus Line 3 Airport ↔ Xishaomen ↔ Xian High Technology Industries Development Zone
Operates hourly between Stop T2 at the airport and the Ziction Liberal Hotel from 9:40 to 7:40 pm going from the airport to the hotel; and about 7:15 and 6:15 pm going from the hotel to the airport. The ticket fare is 25 RMB.
Shuttle Bus Line 4 Airport ↔ Tangcheng Hotel ↔ Oriental Hotel ↔ Big Wild Goose Pagoda
Operates hourly between Stop T2 at the airport and the Big Wild Goose Pagoda from about 10 am to 4 pm. The ticket fare is 25 RMB. At the pagoda, the bus stops at the north square at the Tang Dynasty Art Garden Hotel.
Shuttle Bus Line 5 Airport ↔ Xishaomen
Operates hourly between Stop T2 at the airport and Xishaomen between about 6 am and 6:30 pm. The ticket fare is 25 RMB. In Xishaomen, the bus stops at the airline ticket hall.
Shuttle Bus Line 6 Airport ↔ Changba Ecological District
Operates more or less every two hours unless there are a lot of passengers. For the 2011 International Horticultural Exposition in Xi'an, there will probably be a lot more buses. The buses go between Stop T2 at the airport and the Kempinski Hotel between about 8:30 am and 4:30 pm. They go the other direction between 8 am and 6 pm. The ticket fare is 25 RMB. In Xishaomen, the bus stops at the airline ticket hall.
Shuttle Bus Line 7 Airport ↔ Xianyang City
For going to Xianyang City, the buses begin operation when a flight arrives and stop operating about 8:30 pm. For going from Xianyang City, the buses operate from between about 7 am and 6 pm. The stops are Minsheng Department Store, People's Government of Xianyang City, Renmin Lu, and the Xianyang Railway Station The fare is 15 RMB.
Taxi from the Airport to Xi'an
The Xian Xianyang International Airport (西安咸阳国际机场) is about 47 kilometers or 30 miles northwest of the center of the city. The center of the city is where the Xi'an Train Station and the Xi'an Bus Station are. Most of the travel highlights in Xi'an City itself are located close to the train station. At the airport, you'll find two kinds of taxis. There are green taxis that start at 6 RMB or 90 US cents( 7 RMB after 11 pm) for the first two kilometers and add 1.5 RMB for each additional kilometer. There are also more expensive luxury black taxis that start at 8 RMB and add 2.4 RMB for each additional kilometer. To take a taxi to the Xi'an Train Station or the Bell Tower costs about 100 RMB or about 15 USD. There is an additional 10 RMB toll for the toll highway that isn’t reflected in the meter’s price and is added on. To take a taxi to the Terracotta Warriors, the metered fee is about 85 RMB or 12.80 USD, and the toll fee is about 15 RMB. Here is some additional information about taking taxis in Xi'an. Taxis in Xi'an are not as well regulated as in other big cities, and the drivers may try to scam tourists who generally don’t know what the money looks like, the travel routes, and the ways of being tricked. If you do take taxis in Xi'an, here are some tips:
1) Have your destination written on paper in Chinese. Drivers might not speak any English.
2) Carry change with you. Because tourists often don’t know what Chinese money looks like, they often get counterfeit coins and bills. A typical scam is for a taxi driver to take a large bill such as a 100 RMB bill and switch it for a fake bill, and he then gives the fake 100 RMB back saying that the bill is fake. He might then ask you for another 100.
3) If you have a problem, write down the driver’s license number and his license plate number. Tell him that you will call the Taxi Management Bureau of Xi'an City. This may cause the taxi driver to stop his scam.
Xi'an Airport Intercity Bus
The Xi'an Xianyang International Airport (西安咸阳国际机场) is 47 kilometers northwest of central Xi'an and about 13 kilometers from Xianyang. There are intercity buses that leave the city for cities around Shaanxi Province. To go to Xi'an sites or to sites in nearby Xianyang, you can take the airport shuttle buses. There are 7 routes for these shuttle buses. But to go longer distances, you can take the intercity buses. For long-distance travel, it might be best to forgo taking taxis because they sometimes run scams on tourists. However, the bus schedule often changes. The long distance buses go to important places in the region.
Airport ↔ Baoji City (about 56 RMB; 2.5 hours)
Operates between Lot T2 and Baoji City between 9 am and 7:30 pm (9:00, 10:30, 12:00, 13:00, 14:30, 16:30, 18:00, 19:30). Operates between Baoji City and the airport at 6:00, 8:00, 9:30, 11:00, 12:30, 13:30, 15:00, 16:30, 17:30).
Airport ↔ Hanzhong City (about 104 RMB; 4 hours)
Operates between Lot T2 and Hanyunsi Bus Station between 12:00 am and 8:00 pm (12:00, 14:00, 16:00, 18:00, 20:00). Operates between Hanyunsi Bus Station and the airport at 6:00, 8:00, 10:00, 12:00, 14:00).
Airport ↔ Lingtong District (about 30 RMB; 1 hour)
Operates between Lot T2 and Lingtong Bus Station between 10:30 am and 16:30 pm (10:30, 13:00, 16:30). Operates between Lingtong Bus Station and the airport at 7:00, 13:00, 16:30).
Airport ↔ Yanliang District (about 35 RMB; 1 hour)
Operates between Lot T2 and Yangliang Bus Station between 10:30 am and 16:30 pm (10:30, 13:00, 16:30). Operates between Yangliang Bus Station and the airport at 7:00, 13:00, 16:30).
Airport ↔ Yanan District (about 90 RMB; 4 hours)
Operates between Lot T2 and Yanan South Bus Station once at 11:30. Leaves Yanan South Bus Station once at 10:30.
Airport ↔ Weinan District (about 41 RMB; 1.5 hours)
Operates between Lot T2 and the Weinan Railway Station between 10:30 am and 8 pm (10:30, 12:00, 14:00, 16:00, 18:00, 20:00). Operates between Weinan Railway Station and the airport at 6:00, 9:00, 11:00, 13:00, 15:00, and 17:00
Xi'an serves as an important train network hub for Central China, the Northwest and Southwest regions. There are daily trains from and to major cities around China. The train station is located in the northeast of the city, outside of the city wall. The foreigners tickets office is on the south side of the station on the second floor, and is open daily from 8:30 to 11:30 am and from 2:30 - 5:30 pm.
There are public buses or tourism buses to every attraction in and around the city with pick up points throughout the city.
Bicycles are a common way of travel for locals. You can easily rent bikes at the major tourist areas such as in central Xi'an where the Drum Tower and Bell Tower, and the Xi'an City Wall are. However, traffic and sidewalk conditions are different in China. The streets are more likely to have obstructions and open holes than in your country. The traffic may be more hectic and chaotic than you are used to. People will often ride on and off the sidewalks and down alleys, so be careful. It might be better to stay off the busy streets and stick to traveling in the tourist areas.
Here are some tips for renting and riding bikes in Xi'an.
Central Xi'an: Most of the attractions in Xian are bunched together south of the Xi'an Train Station. So to see the sights, renting a bike is economical, and if you are careful, it may be fun. In the area around the Bell Tower, bike lanes are available. Try to stay on these and out of the way of automobiles.
Xi'an City Walls: The old city walls of Xi'an have been restored, and you can ride all the way around on the top of it. Bikes can be rented on top of the South Gate and East Gate. The distance around is about 13.7 kilometers. Taking a bike to do the circuit takes about 2 hours, but walking it takes about 4 or 5 hours. The walls are lit up at night, but if there are rainy or slick conditions, bikes are not rented because the top of walls is slippery when wet.
Xi'an 2011 International Horticultural Exposition (April 28, 2011 – October 22, 2011): This big event is expected to draw 12 million visitors to the expo park, and the main mode of transportation is planned to be electric bicycles. There are two parking lots for electric bicycles. One is located at the entrance for tour group visitors, and the other lot is located at the secondary entrance in the southeast. The main route for electric bicycles is the area around the main attractions of the exposition site.
Carry Change: Counterfeit money is common in tourist cities. Since tourists generally aren't familiar with how Chinese money looks, they often get fake coins and fake bills. To avoid these problems, carry small bills and coins.
There are about six taxi cab companies in Xi'an. The less expensive ones are green colored. These charge 6 RMB for the first two kilometers and 1.5 RMB for each additional kilometer. At night after 11 PM, the flag-down price is 7 RMB for these green cabs. There are also black colored cabs that often line up at the airport. These charge 8 RMB for the first two kilometers and 2.4 RMB for each additional kilometer. Here are some tips for taking taxis in Xi'an.
Write down directions: Unlike other cities in China, the taxis in Xi'an aren't regulated, so there is a greater chance that you might be taken for a long ride or go around in circles. To avoid this, try to have your directions written in Chinese on a piece of paper.
Within city walls: If you travel within city the old city walls from place to place, the charge should be less than about 10 RMB.
Airport: The Xi'an International Airport is about 50 kilometers or 30 miles northwest of central Xi'an. It should cost about 100 RMB to take a taxi to the Bell Tower or the Xi'an Train Station and the Xi'an Bus Station in central Xi'an.
Airport Toll: If you travel to the airport, the toll fee for the airport expressway is 10 RMB. This charge isn't reflected in the meter's tally.
3-5 PM: During these two hours, there is a driver's shift change. A driver might not pick you up because he or she needs to get off work. Since this happens during rush hours, you might have a more difficult time to find a taxi.
Use the meter: To avoid problems with taxi drivers, make sure they use the meter. Locals often negotiate about prices and don't use a meter, but taxi drivers may try to charge tourists a lot more.
Carry change: Counterfeit money is common in tourist cities. Since tourists generally aren't familiar with how Chinese money looks, they often get fake coins and fake bills. In one kind of scam, a taxi driver will take a bill from a customer and secretly switch the bill for a counterfeit bill of the same denomination. He hands the bill over saying that the bill is fake and asks for different money. To avoid these problems, carry small bills and coins.
Problems: If there is a problem, write down the driver's ID number, the license plate number and other information. Tell him you'll call the Taxi Management Bureau or the police. Just doing these actions will often get them to change their behavior. However, the industry isn't as well regulated as in other cities.
There are three long distance bus stations in Xi'an and buses run to central China area and beyond. The Xi'an Bus Station is located just to the northwest of the railway station square. There are daily buses to Yan'an, Lanzhou in Gansu province, Hanzhong and many other places. The other two bus stations are, Nanguan Bus Station and East City Bus Station. There are buses from the East City Bus station to Huashan Mountain.
Xi'an Metro System
The Xi'an Metro System is under construction. The first subway line for Xi'an is a main north-south line called Metro Line 2 that is scheduled to be open at the end of 2011. Its northernmost station is the Beikezhan Train Station that is also under construction. Line 2 runs under Chang'an Street and attractions such as the Bell and Drum Tower in central Xi'an. It runs close to the Xi'an Train Station and the Xi'an Bus Station in Central Xi'an also. It southernmost station is called Weiqu South Station.
Line 1 and Line 2 are the main lines. Line 1 is scheduled to be completed at the end of 2013. The total length of Line 1 and Line 2 is about 59 kilometers. The lines intersect near the Bell Tower. The total investment for the two lines alone is about 2.5 billion USD. Other lines are planned as well.
Questions and Answers About Xi'an Transportaton
Hi Awen, the last bus leaves Xi'an Airport for Zhonglou at 20:00.Whitney Liao replied on 2013-01-08
Hi Prof, you can take flight MU203, departs at 11:05 and arrives at 13:35 on 23 Nov. The price is CNY 1,670 for economy class. Please check details here: http://www.chinahighlights.com/china-flights/flight-list.asp?QueryID=4558704&fcook=2012103119532996&star=XIY&dest=HKG&rDate=2012-11-23
http://www.chinahighlights.com/china-flights/Whitney Liao replied on 2012-10-31
- Send your inquiry January 1 – February 28, 2014, and we will email you a US$30 coupon.
- The coupon is valid till December 31, 2014, for paying tour packages worth US$300 or up.
- The coupon cannot be used for paying flight tickets, train tickets, hotel rooms and day trips.
- The coupon cannot be combined with any other coupons, promotions or discounts.
I updated this article on February 27, 2014
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