Famous for being the home of the Terracotta Warriors, this Xi’an Travel Guide covers everything you need to know to visit this historic city.
This is a great place to experience Chinese culture and food at cheap prices.
A trip to see the Terracotta Warriors is a must whilst in Xi’an, as is the Tomb of Emperor Jingdi and the Muslim quarter. Find some time to visit the Pagodas and museums of the city and taste the delicious street food.
Budget:¥30 – ¥60 for dorm beds, ¥70 – ¥100 for private rooms.
Midrange: ¥100 – ¥250 for private rooms in a nice hotel.
Luxury: ¥750 + for luxury and spacious rooms that go the extra mile.
Transport: Trains cost ¥2 – ¥4 depending on distance, whilst taxis start at ¥6 and air-conditioned buses charge ¥2.
Average cost of food:
Street food snacks start around ¥2.
A lunchtime menu in the business district will set you back ¥40 whilst a basic dinner out for two will cost around ¥85.
Nicer restaurants with wine and dessert will cost around ¥250+
Cost of Travel in China full guide
Best time to visit Xi'an
The best time to visit Xi’an is from March to September. March to May is warm but there are occasionally dust storms so bring a pollution mask just incase. It is also not too busy during this time too.
Summer is a good time to visit too but plan to spend longer in the city than you may think. It can be very hot so you will want to take extra time visiting indoor attractions and taking advantage of the air-con inside local coffee shops.
Visiting in October and November offers a much colder experience of Xi’an but you can also expect less crowds and lower prices.
Whilst planning your trip, you also need to avoid the Chinese national holidays – Golden Week runs during the first week of October and Chinese New Year lands around February, with a handful of long weekends throughout the year.
Where to stay in Xi'an
HanTang Inn Hostel can be found in a great location with a warm friendly atmosphere, we really enjoyed staying here whilst in Xi’an. Dorms start at ¥52 and double private rooms at ¥94.
Another top rated hostel is the Ancient City with dorms starting at ¥46 and private rooms at ¥90. This hostel is close to a subway and offers traditional Chinese decor.
Offering Deluxe apartments at ¥230, Mr Vinegar Service Apartment is a great choice for those wishing for the extra comfort and space.
Some prefer the modern and colourful decor of the Atour Hotel Datang Furong Garden Branch, with rooms starting at ¥250.
Those looking for luxury and a hot tub in their room should check out the Wyndham Grand Xian South with rooms starting at ¥1000.
Created on the grandest of scales, The Sofitel Legend People’S Grand Hotel is a great choice for those wanting to splash the cash. You may forget you are even in China with this resort and I may have to spend a night here on my next visit. Rooms start at ¥1900.
Save money in Xi'an
China is a relatively cheap place to visit in the world but there are still ways that you can save even more money in the country, allowing you to travel for longer.
- Catch the train – You can catch a train to Xi’an, with high-speed trains getting you to the city in under 5 hours from Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin and Chengdu.
- Eat locally – Stick to the local food and avoid the international restaurants. This is a touristy city so western food is often overpriced and is rarely any good. Head to the Muslim Quarter for some tasty, affordable local food.
- Shop around for tours – Most people head to Xi’an for the Terracotta Warriors and tour companies know that. Compare prices from tour agencies and online but also ask your hostel or hotel. We found it cheaper to hire a driver to take us there and back rather than paying for two people to join a tour.
- Shuttle bus – Instead of booking a tour, you could also take Bus 306 from Xi’an Railway station to the warriors.
- Stroll over cycle – The Xi’an City Wall is the largest city wall in the world. It is a must see in the ancient city but stick to walking it. You can rent a bike to cycle but walking is just as nice and you don’t have to do the whole thing.
- Drink in the hostels or hotels – There are bars in the town centre but drink in the bars and restaurants at the hotels or hostels works out cheaper.
- Stick to Didi – When booking a taxi, use the Didi app. There are black taxis outside the Xi’an Railway Station but these are illegal and will over charge you.
- Use the Metro – You can use the metro to get around the city, with tickets costing 2 – 4 RMB.
How to get to Xi'an
Fly – Flights from all major airports fly into Xi’an Xianyang Airport, with most including a stop-over in Shanghai, Hong Kong or Beijing. Domestic flights are available and regular, with cheap flights available from China Southern airline. From the airport, you can catch a shuttle bus which runs between 6am to 8pm from the airport to Melody hotel, taking an hour to get to this central location. From here you can either walk or get a taxi to your hotel. Taxi’s into the city centre will cost upwards of ¥100 on the meter.
Bus – The long distance bus station can be found opposite the Xi’an Train station, with buses travelling to and from; Luoyang, Pingyao, Zhengzhou, Hancheng, Hua Shan and Yan’an.
Train – From Xi’an North train station you can find a high-speed bullet train to Beijing West, taking just 5 and half hours. You can also catch a speed train to other destinations including Luoyang and Wuhan.
How to get around Xi'an
Public buses will take you to all major sights but be careful of your possessions on busy buses.
Use Didi’s instead of taxis, journeys start at ¥6 whilst the Xi’an metro system currently has 3 lines and costs between ¥2 – ¥4 depending on distance.