Finally made it to Xi’an during my recent quick trip to Hong Kong. I had planned to be there in October 2018 when I was in Beijing but had to cancel due to work commitments. But I am not complaining because being there in March saw Sakura trees in full bloom! If you are also short on time in Xi’an then read on.
Xi’an is an ancient town in China, the capital of important dynasties through Chinese history. I took the China Eastern flight from Hong Kong which takes 3.5 hours to reach. We landed at around 6pm so traffic was a bit annoying. However, when we arrived at our super cute guest house we felt great. Located in the calligraphy street right in front of university, the location is very convenient and that lane is bustling with energy all the time!
We went out for dinner and it was cold. So naturally, we ordered a big bowl of steaming noodle soup.
Post that we went to the terrace of our guest house to enjoy some hot chocolate and figure out how to reach Terracotta Army. Google maps don’t work on China wifi so we used data roaming on our Singapore phones.
Next morning, we first exchanged some Singapore dollars for renminbi (not easy because only Bank of China can do this, so better get your currencies from airports)! We then took a bus to Xi’an railway station where you can find many buses to the Terracotta Army Museum. Doing this is much cheaper than booking a tour and I thought pretty convenient as well.
The museum consists of 3 pits located close to each other: pit 1 is well restored, at pit 2 you can see ongoing excavation works while pit 3 (commanding centre) is the smallest. The sheer concept of emperor Qin Shi Huang’s mausoleum is mind-boggling! The first emperor of China is not only buried with his entire army to protect him in afterlife but his war/army strategies are replicated with intricate details against potential attacks from the east! The museum itself felt a bit underwhelming to me– its the concept and the fact that this was built in 210 BC as funerary art is definitely more impressive that the restored stuff. I enjoyed the landscape surrounding the area- pretty mountains and cherry blossom trees in full bloom. Regular shuttles run between the pits and the emperor’s mausoleum. The latter is surrounded by lush greenery and gardens.
After coming back from the museum, we got off near the bell tower for some Muslim food. Xi’an had a settlement of Arab Traders in the past (the end point of Silk Road for travellers and Traders) and is home to muslims since then. The food is a unique blend of Chinese and Islamic flavours.
We then went to the city wall– Xi’an is one of the few cities in China with an intact city wall, initially built to protect the city. I loved the city wall- the weather was lovely and the views were pretty. Thoroughly enjoyed the leisurely walk! The south entrance to the city wall was open untill 12 am at that time (the gates close early).
Next morning, we left for our flight back to Hong Kong. My verdict on Xi’an- nice for a short trip, especially in March due to Sakura and lovely weather.