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How to Plan a Tour of Xi'an

Xi'an Ancient City WallXi'an Ancient City Wall

This analogy describes the importance of Xi'an in Chinese history: Beijing is the top of the historical tree, but Xi'an is the root.

The foundational parts of Chinese history are buried in Xi'an, with a collection of precious heritage sites, such as the world-famous Terracotta Army, Big Wild Goose Pagoda, and the world's grandest ancient city wall. Take a trip to discover the history of Xi'an.

If you are planning a tour of Xi'an, read on to get the best from your time and some tips on planning the itinerary.

Getting a Visa…or No Need to Get a Visa?

Since 2014, Xi’an has implemented a 72-hour visa-free transit policy for passengers from 51 countries or regions including the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

Foreigners can enjoy 3-day visa-free access to Xi’an when taking an international transfer via Xi’an Xianyang International Airport.

Choosing the Best Time to Go

The Terracotta ArmyThe Terracotta Army

The best time to visit Xi’an is in spring and autumn. The temperature is generally more comfortable for outdoor activities then.

The prices for hotels and flight tickets are higher in the peak season from May to mid-October (and for Chinese New Year).

Xi'an is generally dry, but there may be moderate downpours in summer. Summer is very hot and winter is freezing.

We would like to remind you not to go out during dust and sand storms in the spring.

See Xi'an weather all the year round.

How to Get to Xi'an?

Xi'an has an international airport: Xianyang Airport. It is easy to get to Xi’an from Hong Kong, Macau, Seoul, Singapore, San Francisco, and Bangkok as well as Tokyo.

As Xi'an is located in the heart of China, it takes no more than 3 hours to fly to Xi’an from most major Chinese cities, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Guilin, and Lhasa.

Bullet trains are increasingly becoming a viable, quick option to get to Xi’an from Beijing and Shanghai. See more information about Xi'an transportation.

How to get to Xian

Travel Individually or with a Travel Company?

You will be taken care of by our guides.You will be taken care of by our guides.

Transportation in Xi’an is very convenient, and you can travel like most locals do by taking the subway, buses, taxis, biking, etc., but you may encounter many unforeseen difficulties, like the language barrier and getting lost.

If you don’t want any hassles, we recommend you travel with a professional travel company, who will take care of getting you where you want to go. Then you can enjoy a comfortable and relaxing tour.

China Highlights has been specializing in tailor-making China tours since 1998. Contact us, and our travel experts will be glad to help you arrange your tour based on your requirements. Your local guide will show you the real Xi’an and lead you to experience the lives of local people.

Highlights You Should Not Miss

BigBig Wild Goose Pagoda

Xi’an is rich in historical and cultural attractions. The following sites are the most famous and should not be missed:

  • The Terracotta Army: It is one of the greatest archaeological sites in the world, and one of the greatest discoveries of the 20th century. Time needed: 3 hours
  • The Ancient City Wall: A landmark dividing Xi'an into the inner part and the outer part, it boasts one of the earliest walls that ever existed in China. Time needed: 2½ hours
  • Big Wild Goose Pagoda: Xian’s most famous landmark, it is one of China’s best examples of a Tang-style pagoda. Time needed: 2½ hours
  • Muslim Quarter: A hub of the Muslim community in Xi’an City, it is a great place to taste Muslim food and buy souvenirs. Time needed: 1–2 hours
  • Shaanxi History Museum: Regarded as “the pearl of ancient dynasties and house of Chinese treasures”, it is one of the four largest museums in China. Time needed: 2–3 hours

How Many Days to Stay in Xi'an?

TheThe Terracotta Warriors and Horses

Most people spend two days visiting the most famous sites in Xi’an, including the Terracotta Warriors, the Ancient City Wall, Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Shaanxi History Museum, and Muslim Quarter.

Here is a sample tour for your reference: 2-Day Essence of Xi'an Tour — taking you to visit all the must-see attractions of Xi’an.

If you want to have a deeper understanding of China’s history and culture, you can stay for extra days and add Qianling Tomb, Maoling Mausoleum, and Famen Temple into your itinerary. Check our 4-Day Xi’an Ancient Relics Tour for some inspiration.

To make your tour interesting and colorful, you can consider Mount Hua, one of the Five Great Mountains in China. It is about 2½ hours' drive from the city of Xi’an. Here is a suggested tour for your reference: Mt Hua Adventure and Xi'an Essence Tour.

Where to Stay in Xi'an

There are all levels of hotels in this large city to meet your different requirements. However, the standard and condition is generally significantly lower at local hotels outside the city, e.g. near Mount Hua.

Some popular hotels in the urban area or near the attractions need a reservation during peak travel seasons (like China's National Day holiday).

China Highlights has selected a collection of hotels in Xi'an with good service and convenient access. We can also help to book hotels at a considerable discount.

Our recommended hotels:

  • 5-star hotel: Wyndham Grand Xi’an South (ranked #1 on TripAdvisor)
  • 4-star hotel: Grand Noble Hotel (ranked #13 on TripAdvisor)
  • 3-star hotel: Grand New World Hotel Xi’an (ranked #17 on TripAdvisor)

Enjoy the Local Snacks and Food

EnjoyEnjoy some local snacks in Muslim Street. 

The food in Xi'an is unmissable. The famous "two banquets and two soups of Xi'an" are the Shaanxi snacks banquet, the dumpling banquet, lamb soup with pita bread, and pig colon soup with bread. You must have a try!

Muslim Street is a great Muslim food hub, where you can find various kinds of Muslim food and souvenirs. It is one of the must-visit places in Xi'an, not only for food but also for shopping and culture.

Beilin District (碑林区) in Xi'an is a food paradise, where the majority of local restaurants are located.

Tour Xi'an with China Highlights

Based on years of experience and customer feedback, we have developed many Xi’an tours. Here are some popular tours for inspiration:

Travel Xi'an with China HighlightsTour Xi'an with China Highlights.

China Highlights specializes in creating memorable China tours with well-trained guides, exquisite hotels, and delicious food.

If one of the options above does not suit you, you can ask us to customize it, or use our tailor-made form to design your own tour of Xi'an! We will continue to be at your service during your trip to China.