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Ultimate Xi'an Itineraries: Top 3 Options with Side Trip Ideas

Written by Chris Quan Updated May. 30, 2023

Xi'an is an essential stop for first-time China travelers as it showcases China's history and civilization. But how long do you need for a trip to Xi'an? This article will provide you with some of the best itinerary ideas for planning your Xi'an trip.

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How Long to Spend in Xi'an

In general, spending 3 to 4 days is ideal for a trip in Xi'an with a comfortable pace without missing all the highlights.

If you only have two days, you could focus on the main highlights — the Terracotta Warriors and some city sightseeing.

We do not recommend a one-day trip, as it gives only a hurried and cursory glance at scenic spots.

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Xi'an in 4 Days (Rich Experience)

If you want a full and rich experience in Xi'an, spending four days is recommended.

Without missing the highlights, you'll have the opportunity to have some special experiences like making your own terracotta warrior, trying on Chinese traditional costumes, and a food tour.

You could also visit Mount Hua, Taoism's sacred mountain, and admire its breathtaking peaks. If you're more adventurous, you can also challenge its famous trestles. Here is the itinerary:

  • Day 1: Arrival and free exploration
  • Day 2: One day trip to the Terracotta Warriors with a hands-on experience of making clay warriors
  • Day 3: A full day in Mount Hua
  • Day 4: City highlight touring (museums, pagodas, Ancient City Wall, and a food tour) and departure

See 4-Day Xi'an and Huashan Mountain Tour

All our tours can be adjusted based on your interests and needs. Our private trips are hassle-free and flexible.

Xi'an in 3 Days (Essence of Xi'an)

With three days in Xi'an, you could still enjoy a full and rich experience. The difference with the four-day itinerary is that you won't visit Mount Hua. Here is the itinerary:

  • Day 1: Arrival + museum visiting
  • Day 2: A trip to Terracotta Warriors with a food tour
  • Day 3: City sightseeing (Ancient City Wall, museums, pagodas, etc) with a hanfu experience and departure

The Terracotta Warrior is a big attraction. It is the mausoleum and burial pits of the first emperor of China and the largest one in China.

In order to get a good understanding of the history and stories behind it, we will arrange a hands-on experience of making your own clay warrior.

Thus, you're going to spend most of your second day there. If you are particularly interested in this attraction, it is worth spending a day on it.

Our schedule is flexible. Just contact us if you want to make some adjustments or have any needs.

Xi'an in 2 Days (Focus on the Terracotta Warriors)

If you have two days, you could focus on the Terracotta Warriors with some city sightseeing. Here is the itinerary:

  • Day 1: Arrival + city sightseeing (Ancient City Wall, museums, and pagodas)
  • Day 2: Visit Terracotta Warriors + departure

Two days' visiting is a little tight. If you want to have a better experience when visiting the Terracotta Warriors, we suggest a full day's visiting and leave in the third day's morning.

Our private transfer and local guide's accompany will make the most of your time and maximize your travel experience.

Side Trip Itineraries from Xi'an

There are also some worthwhile destinations close to Xi'an that you might consider visiting:

1. Luoyang and Shaolin Temple

Luoyang, an ancient capital like Xi'an, and its nearby Shaolin Temple are the most popular choices, especially if you are interested in Chinese history and Chinese kung fu.

A trip to Luoyang and Shaolin Temple takes about one day. Luoyang is about a 1-hour bullet train travel from Xi'an.

In Luoyang, the main attraction is its spectacular Longmen Grottoes where you could marvel at the exquisite carvings and Buddha statues.

Then head to Shaolin Temple, which takes about 1½ hours by car. Walk around the temple and learn about Chinese Buddhism and martial arts. You could also enjoy a wonderful Kung Fu show. See One Day Longmen Grottoes and Shaolin Temple Tour.

2. Pingyao Ancient Town

In Pingyao, you could get a glimpse of the ordinary life of a merchant in ancient times. Pingyao is about a 3-hour journey from Xi'an by the bullet train. Spending about two days touring the highlights of Pingyao Ancient Town is recommended.

There you could explore the original site of the first draft bank in China, visit an interesting museum — Armed Escort Company Museum, watch the sunset from the city wall, and pay a visit to Wang's Family Compound (the Forbidden City in Folk). Check out the 2-Day Pingyao Highlights Tour.

If you have more time, you could explore further north to Datong, which is famous for its Yungang Grottoes and the Hanging Temple. See the 4-Day Datong and Pingyao Tour.

Tour China with Us

All our tours can be adjusted as much as you like. We aim to create an ideal itinerary based on your interests, group size, travel length, and other requirements. Feel free to contact us.

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