Built initially by the Tang Emperor to honor his mother, the Da Ci'en is the place where millions of historical rarities are housed. According to legend, all the Buddhist holy books were stored and translated after eminent monk Xuanzang returned from the journey to seek the scriptures. In the neighborhood of Da Ci'en Temple is the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, constructed in the 7th century by China's first woman leader, Empress Wu Zetian.
This is the one attraction that has captured the imagination of visitors both from inside and outside the country. China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang, whose greater-than-life ambition also gave birth to the creation of the Great Wall. He amassed battalions of life-sized warriors fashioned out of clay, complete with chariots and horses. Each soldier has different and unique expression. Making this undertaking also an artistic one that required the labor of 720,000 men. Even after more than 2,200 years (it was finished in 210 BC), the warriors remain in impeccable condition, watching over their long deceased ruler.
This Xiaoyan or Small Wild Goose Pagoda is lower than the Dayan (Big Wild Goose) Pagoda, but it contains more floors. Like its larger counterpart, it was built around 700 AD and its primary purpose was to hold the holy Buddhist scriptures carried to China. In the neighborhood of the pagoda, the Shaanxi Museum is home to many treasures in the province.
One of the five famous mountains in China at 2,160 meters' height, Hua Mountain is considered sacred to the Taoist religion. It is a strenuous climb, but there is a rope way that gives visitors headed to the mountain as an easier option. The breathtaking views at the top with clouds floating on the mountains worth your effort.
The well-preserved city wall, which is almost 12 km long, may stand for more than 600 years but they are still a great way to navigate around the city. You can cycle or take a walk around the city wall built in traditional style. Locals like to say that they can still hear the sounds of wars and soldiers' cries lingering around, reminding them of those past glories.
This is an ancient drum tower which holds a total of 24 drums, corresponding to the 24 solar terms that the Chinese used back then to mark time. Not a single iron nail had been used in the erection of this grand structure while first built in the 14th century and reconstructed 300 years later. At the top of tower, you can enjoy both a panorama of the entire city and drum shows every other hour.
Located adjacent to Mausoleum of The First Qin Emperor and Lishan National Forest Park, the water of this hot spring contains many minerals that are said to be good for the skin. It is said that the most famous imperial concubine of the Tang Dynasty, Yang Yu Huan, one of the four famous beauties of ancient China, chose this as her bathing ground.
If you enjoy exploring museum, this is the right place to fulfill knowledge about the ancient Chinese empire which had situated in this region. Take a trip through the region's and city's ancient history at this huge museum, which demonstrates four original terracotta soldiers.
Xi'an's largest Taoist temple dates back to the Song dynasty and is still an active place of worship. Supposedly built on the site of an ancient wine shop, it was constructed to protect against subterranean divine thunder. Scenes from Taoist mythology are painted around the courtyard. Empress Cixi, the mother of the last emperor, stayed here in 1901 after fleeing Beijing during the Boxer Rebellion.
China's Muslim population has been firmly established in Xi'an for centuries, and the Muslim Quarter of the city extends north from the Drum Tower over small alleys and backstreets, which feature halal butcher shops, small mosques, food markets and shops selling typical wares.
This historic house was belonged to an affluent family back in the day so you can see how they lived and how they used each section of the house. You can also enjoy varied artistic experience here including shadow play, paper cutting and painting. During shadow play talks, you can learn more about traditional Chinese tale.
Seasonal Tastes offers a buffet with dishes ranging from Italian to traditional Chinese cuisine. They can charge up your day with nutritious breakfast selection with specialities such as eggs Benedict with salmon. At dinner, you can explore a world of options from the classic Italian dish vitello tonnato to Cantonese beef ho fun: rice noodles stir-fried with sliced beef. Seasonal Tastes also offers a kid-friendly menu and kids discounts at every meal.
First Noodle Under The Sun is famous for the wide selection of noodles and vegetarian options such as spinach noodles and mushroom noodles, and you can also savour the flavor of a variety of traditional dishes of Chinese cuisine, including sweet and sour pork. Prices are very reasonable.
Five Zen5es offers you extensive options of Chinese and Japanese dishes so you can enjoy a wide variety of food including liang pi, steamed flounder fish and dim sum. You may also try traditional hot soup with BBQ eel and chicken: the flavour and portion size will never let you down.
Redfort Cultural Restaurant serves you a wide range of authentic dishes of the Indian cuisine in a magnificent ambience of live Indian dance performances in a historic fort decor. It is a great place to spend time with family and friends, as the range of beverages and popular Asian dishes can always satisfy different cravings.
After serving Beijing city for over 9 years, Ganges Indian Restaurant comes to Xi'an and is now based very close to the city's iconic landmark: the Wild Goose Pagoda. You will be served a range of traditional dishes of Indian cuisine, including vegetable karahi and aloo matar. Voted the best Indian Restaurant in Beijing for over 6 years, it entices with affordable prices and delicious food.
Would you love to have some Italian and European food after staying in Xi'an for a while? Cyclist Restaurant offers you a range of Italian and European dining choices from salad to steak, as well as great beer and wine selections, including fruit beer. You will be served by English speaking staff with a warm and welcoming attitude.
Have you ever thought of having a Chinese burger? Fan Ji La Zhi RouJiaMo is your ideal destination serving delicious and filling buns with pulled pork, which are very affordable. Don't forget that you have other options including ramen, cold rice, fermented glutinous rice and other traditional snacks.
This restaurant started in 1898 and is renowned at home and abroad. It is one of the best places to try Xi’an's famous dish yangrou paomo, and it also serves beef and mutton steamed bread, local snacks, as well as Western halal cuisine. The honorary chairman of the Chinese Kuomintang, Lien Chan once inscribed it as "hundred years delicious".
The location makes this store special as it situated in a ancient building on a old street and surrounded by artificial ponds so you can enjoy drinks with traditional Chinese ambience. The service and food of this Starbucks is not much different from other locations however, and offers free WiFi.
With traditional Chinese decoration and atmosphere, this restaurant brings you the experience of tea preparation, followed by a tasting. Here you can try an assortment of Chinese teas, from Ginseng Oolong Tea to Ku Ding Tea. Would love to share the unique taste with friends? You can buy them all after the ceremony.
Would like to refresh yourself in a well-designed coffee shop? Maan Coffee brings you a cosy atmosphere with Turkish interior decor elements, all while you're being served with a wide range of drinks and food ranging from brewed black coffee and cappuccino to fresh sandwiches.
Located near the Zhongshan Gate, Northwest Antique Market sells Chinese antiques, jade figures, Mao memorabilia and other curiosities. You will find street sellers displaying their wares along the street, however, be aware and examine products critically to ensure authenticity.
In the vicinity of Temple of the Eight Immortals, this Antique Market sells many handicrafts, souvenirs, sketches, sculptures, paintings and photographic works on Sundays and Wednesdays. Reserve time for exploring this market, you will likely find unexpected gems.
Xian Book Building, said to be the largest bookstore in northwest China, provides a vast collection of books on education, literature, science, art, politics, history and more. The majority of books are in Chinese, but you can also find a selection of foreign language books, as well as audio and video records on the second floor.
Xian is one of the Chinese cities that supports the 72-hour transit visa on arrival program, which means that selected nationalities (all citizens of the European Union, as well as several other countries including Albania, Argentina, Australia, Belarus, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Iceland, Japan, Macedonia, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro, New Zealand, Qatar, Russia, South Korea, Switzerland, Ukraine, and United States) are eligible for a transit visa on arrival via the Xi'an Xianyang International Airport. For longer stays, a visa must be pre-arranged in advance, so consult your local embassy for details. You must have bring your passport at all times and all hotels will insist on seeing it for check-in. It is now mandatory to present your passport when buying train tickets; you will also need it for using internet cafes that accept foreigners. The Chinese government requires that your passport must be valid for at least six months after the expiry date of your visa when entering the country. You will need at least one entire blank page in your passport for the visa. Take an ID card with your photo in case you lose your passport and make photocopies of your passport: your embassy may need these before issuing a new one in case of loss. You must report the loss to the local Public Security Bureau (PSB), who will issue you with a 'Statement of Loss of Passport'. Long-stay visitors should register their passport with their nation's embassy.
The Xi'an Railway Station is located in the Northeast of the urban area, the starting place of the Silk Road. It takes 30 minutes from the station to downtown by taxi. The most popular way to tour the city is by bus. A city map would be handy, though it may be a hassle for non-Mandarin speakers.