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 How to Plan a Xi’an Trip, Get Expert Advice There! (2024)

How to Plan a Xi’an Trip, Get Expert Advice There! (2024)

Written by Chris QuanUpdated Nov. 27, 2023

Xi'an, home to the Terracotta Warriors, enjoys the laudatory title of 'Living History Museum', because of its abundant historical and cultural relics.

Xi'an is about 2 hours by air from Beijing and 2½ hours from Shanghai. It was the eastern terminus of the Silk Road and one of the four Chinese capitals of the world's ancient civilizations, with a history of over 3,000 years.

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.

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The Best Things to Do in Xi'an

The main attractions of Xi'an are its historical sites, delicious food, and Muslim culture. Some of the activities that we would recommend include:

Witness the Terracotta Warriors and Horses (the most significant archeological excavation of the 20th century) and learn how to make Terracotta Warrior at a Cave Dwelling.

Terracotta WarriorsFollow our knowledgeable guides to learn how the vivid Terracotta Warriors were made.

Cycle or walk atop the ancient City Wall: Pedaling along these very old battlements provides a great view of Xi'an.

Cycle or walk atop the ancient City Wall in Xi'anCycle or walk atop the ancient City Wall in Xi'an

Admire an ancient Buddhist pagoda: Big Wild Goose Pagoda is indeed a place of peace, tranquility, and meditation in the middle of a bustling metropolis.

Big Wild Goose PagodaBig Wild Goose Pagoda

Learn about China's history at Shaanxi History Museum: Regarded as "the pearl of ancient dynasties and the house of Chinese treasures", the museum is one of the four largest museums in China, with over 370,000 historical items.

Shaanxi History MuseumShaanxi History Museum

Have a pleasant stroll to taste local snacks and buy souvenirs at the Muslim Quarter.

Muslim QuarterMuslim Quarter

Night activities: Enjoy the night scenery around the Bell Tower, take part in a Tang Dynasty Dinner Show, stroll on the ancient Big Wild Goose Pagoda Square, and watch the music fountain performance…

Music fountain performance on the Big Wild Goose Pagoda SquareWatch the music fountain performance on the Big Wild Goose Pagoda Square

How Long to Stay in Xi'an: 2–4 Days

It depends on your schedule and your interests. Usually, people spend 2–4 days there.

Days Most Recommended Attractions Xi'an Tour for Inspiration
1 full day Terracotta Warriors, the Ancient City Wall Xi'an Highlights Tour
2 full days Terracotta Warriors, the Ancient City Wall, Shaanxi History Museum, Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Muslim Quarter Essence of Xi'an Tour
3 full days The above plus a Mount Hua adventure OR more historical sites like Qianling Mausoleum, Maoling Mausoleum, and Famen Temple Xi'an Highlights and Mount Hua
4 full days Extend to Luoyang for the Longmen Grottoes and Shaolin Temple OR extend to Pingyao Ancient Town Tailor-made according to your interests

If you have your own travel ideas, just contact us and our travel advisors will tailor-make a Xi'an tour for you. See more on Ultimate Xi'an Itineraries: How Long to Spend in Xi'an

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The Best Time to Visit Xi'an

Xi'an has four distinct seasons; summer is very hot and winter is freezing.

The best times to visit Xi'an are spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November), which boast comfortable temperatures and relative freedom from the crowds and rain showers of summer.

The peak season is from May to mid-October when the prices for hotels and flight tickets are higher. You should prepare to spend significant time waiting in lines and hear the noise of big tour groups of Chinese visitors.

The rainy season occurs from July to September, although there isn't much rain.

We recommend that you at least 3 months in advance if you plan to visit during these Chinese holidays:

  • China's summer holiday season (July and August)
  • Labor Day (May 1–3)
  • National Day (October 1–7)
  • Spring Festival (late January or early to mid-February)

How to Get to Xi'an: Bullet Trains or Flights

How to Get to Xian

Xi'an has an international airport: Xianyang Airport. It has flights from Hong Kong, Macau, Seoul, Singapore, San Francisco, Bangkok, and 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.

Many visitors travel to Xi'an after their trips to Beijing or Shanghai. See the 6-Day Beijing and Xi'an Tour. Bullet trains are increasingly becoming a viable, quick option. It takes 4-6 hours from Beijing and 6-7 hours from Shanghai.

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

You may enjoy 6-day visa-free access to Xi'an if you take an international transfer via Xi'an Xianyang International Airport. Read more on Xi'an's 144-hour visa-free policy.

If you plan to visit other destinations in China, you need to apply for a China visa.

Famous Local Food You Should Try in Xi'an

Xi'an Food

Praised as 'the capital of table delicacies', Xi'an is rich in delicious local and foreign food.

The most famous local food is the "two banquets and two soups of Xi'an"- Shaanxi snacks banquet, the dumpling banquet, lamb soup with pita bread, and pig colon soup with bread.

Muslim Snack Street is a great Muslim food hub, where you can find various kinds of Muslim food, such as skewers of lamb, chicken wings, quail eggs, bowls of noodles, mutton soup, and green bean custards. We specially design a food tour to hunt for Xi'an's local food in Muslim Quarter.

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

Read The Top 10 Dishes You Should Try in Xi'an.

Discover Authentic Xi'an with Us

Our specialists have journeyed to every corner of the city and uncovered the best things to see and do. They can use their first-hand knowledge to help plan your trip to Xi'an.

Take a minute to fill in a form, and we will begin to create your own trip, or you can find some inspiration from our following popular itineraries.

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