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How to Visit the Terracotta Army Hassle Free

Written by Chris QuanUpdated Nov. 29, 2023

The Terracotta Warriors in Xi'an are one of the must-visit attractions for all travelers to China. The dramatic exhibition reveals the secrets behind the 2,000-year-old army of clay statues that guarded the tomb of China's first emperor until a chance discovery in 1974.

  • Location: 42 kilometers (26 miles) east of Xi'an in Lintong District
  • Area: 16,300 square meters (175,000 sq. ft.)
  • Duration: 4–6 hours

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Tips for Visiting the Terracotta Army

1. Consider walking from the parking lot to the entrance.

The parking lot is about 1 km from the entrance. There are shared golf carts running from the parking lot to the entrance.

As you need to queue for them (in the busy travel season from May to October), we recommend you walk the 15 minutes or so there if you are able. Our guide will accompany you on the walk.

2. The Terracotta Warriors are wheelchair-friendly.

It is equipped with barrier-free access and shared golf carts running from the parking lot to the entrance.

China Highlights guide and customers Travel with us, and you will be taken care of well by your private guide.

3. The Terracotta Warriors offer free luggage storage service

It is on the east side of the ticket office. If you are planning to visit the Terracotta Warriors directly after getting off the train or plane, you could also leave your luggage in our private car.

4. Avoid scams.

For example, don't buy the book signed by the farmer who claims to be one of the discoveries of the Terracotta Army. They are all fake. Many play that role to rip off travelers. The book is over-priced at 180–200 yuan: (29–32 USD). Museum guides may recommend it to you!

5. And avoid the souvenir shops.

When you finish your visit, you have to pass an area with a lot of souvenir shops. We don't recommend you buy gifts there, as they may be overpriced. A better place to buy souvenirs is the market in Xi'an.

6. The restaurants around the museum aren't the best.

There are many tourist restaurants around the museum, but lower your expectations on taste and quality. Some even may rip you off. Our guides choose the best available restaurant for our customers.

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Things to See in the Terracotta Warriors

Map of the Terracotta ArmyMap of the Terracotta Army Museum

The highlights of the Terracotta Warriors include two parts. One is the the Terracotta Army Museum. It is also the most popular visiting area. The other part is the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor.

The usual order of a Terracotta Warrior tour is to visit the museum first and then go to the Mausoleum of the First Emperor of Qin. However, during peak times like the summer season or Chinese holidays, the museum tends to get extremely crowded. In such cases, you could consider visiting the mausoleum first.

Region 1: Terracotta Army Museum

In the museum, you would see the three pits where the warriors are on display:

  • Pit 1: This is the largest and most impressive, where about 2,000 terracotta warriors are displayed.
  • Pit 2: This middle-sized pit has the most army units with archers, chariots, mixed forces, and cavalry.
  • Pit 3: It is the smallest pit and represents the command post.

Our recommended visiting sequence is Pit 1 – Pit 3 – Pit 2, as this way you will follow the Terracotta Army story from overall to detailed information (the Exhibition of Bronze Chariots has now been moved next to the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor).

There are also many exhibits showing thousands of life-size clay figures, ancient weapons, jade and gold ornaments, bronze chariot replicas...

Region 2: Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor

The best thing to see there is the Exhibition of Bronze Chariots and two pits displaying figurines in different shapes. Compared with the museum, there will be fewer tourists around, especially during the bustling holiday season, making the experience more enjoyable.

A Hand-Made Experience (Spotlight Experience Offered by Us)

the Terracotta WarriorsOur family guests are making mini clay warriors.

To enhance your experience and a better understanding of the Terracotta Warriors, we could arrange the hands-on experience of making your own clay warriors. You could learn how these terracotta warriors were made and preserved. Your hand-made mini warriors are good souvenirs to take home.

Guide or Self-Guided?

There is very little (good English) signage, so a guide is definitely needed to explain the exhibits and help you get the most out of a visit.

You have three choices: rent an audio guide, hire a guide at the museum; or have a private guide included in your private tour (as we do).

The Terracotta ArmyOur guide can lead you to learn how to make warriors from a local shokunin family.

1) Rent an audio guide (recorded guide). The cost is 40 yuan (deposit 200 yuan). The audio guide only provides limited and stilted introductions to certain parts of the museum.

2) Hire a guide at the museum. At the entrance, you'll be approached by English-speaking guides and asked if you want their services. The cost is around 150 yuan, and the quality of guidance you get varies. Try to avoid the commission shopping sites the guide may take you to.

3) Have a private guide (our recommendation). Our private Xi'an guides are picked to be the best. They will give you an expert appraisal of the Terracotta Warriors, answer your questions, navigate the crowds, and lead you to the best spots for photos.

The Best Time to See and How to Avoid Crowds

The Terracotta Army is an indoor attraction, which is not likely to be affected by weather, so it can be visited all year round.

As the Terracotta Army Museum is one of the must-visit attractions in China, it is crowded most of the time, especially during weekends and Chinese public holidays such as National Day Holiday (October 1–7) and Labor Day Holiday (May 1–3).

The Terracotta Army

To avoid crowds, we suggest that you:

  • Start your day early and try to arrive before the large bus-tour groups arrive at around 10 am. You may get extra bonus by arriving early in the morning, such as the opportunity to observe archaeologists working.
  • Or visit around noon when other visitors leave for lunch if you do not mind having a late lunch.
  • Visiting during the winter low season means fewer crowds, but the dry and cold weather is not so pleasant for Xi'an's outside attractions.

How to Get Your Entry Tickets for the Terracotta Warriors

The Terracotta Warriors Museum currently doesn't sell tickets on-site. Tickets must be bought in advance online. You can buy tickets via the Terracotta Army Museum WeChat account (秦始皇帝陵博物院) in Chinese or its official website in English by logging in.

  March 16th to November 15th (Peak Season) November 16th to March 15th
Opening Hours 08:30-18:30 08:30-18:00
Entry Times 08:30-17:00 08:30-16:30

During the off-peak season, we recommend booking tickets one week in advance. For peak seasons, please book 1 to 3 months ahead (especially during summer holidays, ensure reservations are made 3 months in advance).

Location and How to Get There

The Terracotta Army is 45 km (28 mi) east of Xi'an city, taking about 1 hour by car. The most convenient way is to take a private tour. Your guide and driver will pick you up at your hotel and accompany you to the Terracotta Army. Taking a taxi or public transportation is also available.

The location of the Terracotta Army

How to Get to the Terracotta Army from Beijing

Many people wonder whether it is possible to take a day tour from Beijing to the Terracotta Army. The answer is yes, but it is very rushed.

We suggest leaving 3 days in Xi'an for a relaxing travel pace. Taking a high-speed train is recommended to travel from Beijing to Xi'an. The journey is about 4-6 hours.

  • Day 1: Arrival and a food tour
  • Day 2: Visit the Terracotta Warriors
  • Day 3: Visit the Ancient City Wall and departure

See our How to Plan a Beijing and Xi'an Trip

Explore the Terracotta Warriors with Us

If you don't want to waste time finding a (non-con) taxi or public bus to the attraction, lining up for tickets, reading maps, making sense of Chinese signs, etc., a private tour is a great option.

It means that you will be well taken care of by a private guide and driver, and enjoy a lot of flexibility. Your guide will help you unravel the mysteries of the Terracotta Warriors, escape the crowds, and show you the best spots for photos.

Tell us your requirements and one of our specialists will be in touch to plan a unique trip for you.

Start planning your tailor-made tour with 1-1 help from our travel advisors. Create Your Trip

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