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How to Plan a Beijing and Xi’an Trip (Itinerary, Cost, Transportation)

How to Plan a Beijing and Xi’an Trip (Itinerary, Cost, Transportation)

Written by Chris QuanUpdated Jan. 29, 2024

Beijing and Xi'an, both being ancient capitals of China, are must-visit cities for those who are interested in learning about Chinese history and culture.

Keep reading for Beijing and Xi'an travel planning tips, including popular itineraries, travel costs, hotel options, and additional insights.

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How Long to Spend in Beijing and Xi'an

A classic itinerary for Beijing and Xi'an usually lasts around a week, with 4-5 days allocated for Beijing and 2-3 days for Xi'an.

Beijing boasts a larger array of historical and cultural landmarks to discover, along with more chances to participate in experiential activities. Therefore, we suggest spending more time in Beijing.

How Long to Spend in Beijing

To experience Beijing as authentically as possible and maintain a comfortable travel pace, we recommend spending around 4 to 5 days in the city.

Allocate 2 or 3 days to explore iconic landmarks such as the Forbidden City and the Great Wall.

Dedicate an additional one or two days to discovering the hutongs, traditional residences of Beijing. You may also want to consider arranging some food tours during your explorations.

For those interested in the culture of Beijing, we recommend attending a Peking Opera performance. You could visit their backstage and dress up in their costumes.

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How Long to Spend in Xi'an

For a trip to Xi'an, we recommend a duration of 2 to 3 days.

The Terracotta Warriors is undeniably the main attraction in Xi'an, and we recommend spending a day for a visit and trying to make a mini clay warrior yourself!

For the remaining time, you could arrange visits to the Shaanxi History Museum and the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, go on a food tour around the Muslim Quarter, and take a leisurely stroll along the Ancient City Wall.

A Classic Beijing and Xi'an Itinerary

  • Day 1: Arrive in Beijing and spend the rest of the day exploring at your leisure.
  • Day 2: Tour the Forbidden City, followed by a walk through the hutongs that provides an intimate glimpse into what old Beijing was like.
  • Day 3: Visit the Temple of Heaven, which used to be a royal sacrificial site, and then take a trip to the Great Wall.
  • Day 4: Head to the Summer Palace, which was once a royal garden, and then depart for Xi'an.
  • Day 5: Visit the Terracotta Warriors, along with taking a stroll along the Ancient City Wall.
  • Day 6: Explore the Shaanxi History Museum and the Big Wild Goose Pagoda to get an overview of Chinese history and culture.

This itinerary covers the must-see attractions within a week's span while also allowing time for special experiences and personal exploration. The pace is well-balanced to ensure it's not too rushed.

Our tours are highly personalized, and we are happy to tailor them to fit your interests and requirements. Please feel free to contact us.

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How to Travel Between Beijing and Xi'an

Taking a bullet train between Beijing and Xi'an lasting 4½ to 6 hours is a highly recommended option, providing a more flexible and convenient travel experience. There's no need to worry about the long waiting time at the airport, and ticket changes in emergency situations are easier.

Alternatively, there are direct flights available that can transport you between Beijing and Xi'an in 2 to 2½ hours. However, please note that airports are located quite far from the city center, taking around 1½ to 2 hours by car.

Taking into account the additional travel and transportation time, the entire journey by air is roughly comparable to that of a high-speed train, or only slightly faster. It's essential to consider possible traffic delays on the road, which could increase travel times even further.


For a private tour in Beijing and Xi'an, the average cost per day is about US$220–350 per person.

This price typically includes the costs for flights or trains within China, 4-or-5-star accommodations, lunch, entrance fees for attractions, private transportation, and personal tour guides.

During peak times such as May 1-5, October 1-7, and the summer holidays, the prices for hotels and airfares can go up by 50 to 100%.

When you book with us, you'll receive a 100% refund of any payments made to China Highlights if you cancel up to 3 weeks before departure (more details here⇒).

Accommodation Choices in Beijing and Xi'an

For those who prefer a central location for entertainment and shopping in Beijing, Wangfujing is the more popular area to stay. However, for a more unique lodging experience, we recommend opting for a hutong-style hotel.

In Xi'an, the area around the Bell Tower is the more popular choice for those looking for a convenient central location. Alternatively, staying near the Big Wild Goose Pagoda is also a great option. The area is quieter and the prices for accommodation are generally more affordable.

Best Times to Visit Beijing and Xi'an

Autumn is considered the best season to visit Beijing and Xi'an if you're looking for comfortable weather conditions. Summer, particularly during July and August, has a higher chance of experiencing rainfall.

However, since the majority of attractions in Beijing and Xi'an are cultural sites, they are not significantly affected by the weather.

We will create a suitable itinerary of activities based on your preferences or your family's preferences for all seasons.

The first weeks of May and October are peak tourist seasons, closely followed by the summer holidays. If you're planning a trip during these periods, we highly recommend booking at least 6 months to a year in advance to ensure the availability of desired accommodations and attractions.

Tour China with Us!

We offer a personalized tour service. We would create a unique itinerary according to your flight times, interests, and any other requirements you have.

Just contact us, and we'll create your ideal China trip. Our consultants will listen to and answer your inquiries carefully and promptly and prepare the best tour plan for you.

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