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 ways of being tricked. Nevertheless taxis are very useful if you can avoid the pitfalls. Here is how to best use Xi'an's cabs.
There are green taxis that start at 8.5 RMB or 1.25 USD for the first 3 kilometers and add 2 RMB for each additional kilometer. After 12 kilometers (around 7.5 miles), an additional 50% is charged automatically for empty return. After 11 PM, the initial fare is 9.5 RMB for the first 2 kilometers, and it increases to 2.4 RMB thereafter.
More luxurious taxis painted black start at 8.5 RMB for the first 2 kilometers and add 2.4 RMB for each additional kilometer. After 8 kilometers, there is a 50% charge added for empty return.
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Point to Point Information
If you intend to hire a taxi to scenic spots out of town (such as the Terracotta Army Museum), it is suggested that you first negotiate a price with the driver. Also, it is better that you hire the taxi for a round trip because most drivers are reluctant to go one way for a long distance.
For the International Airport
Xi'an Xianyang International Airport (西安咸阳国际机场) is about 47 km (30 miles) northwest of the center of the city where Xi'an Train Station and attractions are. Most of the travel highlights in Xi'an City itself are within 5 km (3 miles) south the of Xi'an Station.
For central Xi'an from the airport: To take a taxi from the airport to the Xi'an Train Station costs about 64 RMB, and to the Bell Tower, it costs about 85 RMB. There is an additional 10 RMB toll for the toll highway that isn't reflected in the meter's price and is added on, so the total to the Bell Tower is about 95 RMB or 14 USD.
If you are going to the center of Xi'an and many other places serviced by the airport shuttle buses, it might be best just to take a shuttle bus, which costs about 25 RMB.
For the Terracotta Warriors
To go from Xi'an center or the Xi'an Train Station to the Terracotta Warriors, the fare is about 70 RMB. To go from the airport to the Terracotta Army costs about 105 RMB.
For some additional information on taxis and other transport to the Terracotta Army, see How to Visit the Terracotta Army — an Insider's Guide.
Taxi drivers sometimes try to scam tourists by giving fake money, going a long way around, and in other ways. If you do take taxis in Xi'an, here are some tips:
- Have your destination in written in Chinese or on your device. Drivers might not speak any English.
- Carry change with you if you aren't confident in recognizing fake Chinese cash. Taxi drivers (etc.) often try giving counterfeit coins and bills to foreigners. A typical scam is for a taxi driver to take a large bill from you, usually a 100 RMB bill and switch it for a fake, and then claim that your bill was fake. He might then ask you for another 100!
- 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.
More tips about Top 10 Most Common Xi'an Scams>>
Our Private Transport Alternative to Xi'an Taxis
Our private transport (with a guide for all your questions and translation needs) offers a far more reliable and fulfilling alternative to taxis. Contact us to make arrangements.
Our Xi'an Tours Come with Private Transport:
- Our Beijing to Xi'an Day Tour is an efficient way to maximize a short holiday in China.
- Our 2-Day Xi'an Essence Tour takes you to the major attractions: the Terracotta Army, Shaanxi History Museum, the City Wall, etc.
- Our 11-day CLASSIC WONDERS private tour will take you to major attractions in Beijing, Xi'an, Guilin, and Shanghai.