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Xi an attractions

Discover Xi an attractions with GPS-Guided City Walks

Are you looking to discover all of the Xi an attractions China has to offer? We are excited to announce that we have recently collaborated with GPSmyCity. We have partnered with them to turn our “What to do in Xi’an China” post into a travel article app for iOS devices. We are very excited!

xi an attractions - Lose yourself without getting lost!

Lose yourself without getting lost!

Now, you may be wondering, what’s the point of downloading something I can just as easily read on your website.

But, oh contraire, my friend! By downloading it, you can:

  • Access highlights for over 700+ cities offline
  • Have GPS directions to those same attractions at your fingertips
  • Reduce those arguments with your travel buddy when you’re walking around aimlessly
Xi an attractions - Get the app for free!

Get the app for free!

You can download any travel article from GPSmyCity free of charge. If you decide you want it to be a GPS-guided tour, just upgrade the article for a mere $1.99.

That’s it! That’s all! How super simple is that & what a bargain!

But, don’t just take my word for it. To introduce you to how great this concept is, here’s a BONUS for you. From today (7-November, 2016) until 13-November, 2016, upgrade our Xi an attractions article for FREE and reap the benefits yourself!

Xi an attractions - Find out What to do in Xi'an for free!

Find out What to do in Xi’an for free!

Here’s how it works.

  1. Download the free GPSmyCity app.
  2. Click on the link below to download the “What to do in Xi’an” article. http://www.gpsmycity.com/dlnk/?view=guide&id=13244&aff
  3. Choose UPGRADE to get the GPS-guided version.
    • If you’re downloading it between 7 & 13 November , you can get this article absolutely free! Otherwise, it’s only $1.99. (For every purchase made we receive a small commission which helps us keep this website running 🙂
  4. From the app, browse by city to see which other articles are available.
    • Remember, you can download any article for free! You only pay if you decide to upgrade to the offline GPS-guided use!
Xi an attractions - Do it offline!

Do it offline!

We hope you enjoy our Xi an attractions article and our collaboration with GPSmyCity. We’d love to hear your feedback if you use this guide in Xi’an.

Check Out These Cool Things About China

Check Out These Cool Things About China

During our recent visit we discovered a number of cool things about China. With over 1.3 billion inhabitants, the most populated country in the world. Whilst it’s sometimes easy to forget, it’s important to remember that Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and Tibet are also technically a part of China.

LIFE BEGINS AT THE END OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE. – NEALE DONALD WALSCH
With the government playing a heavy role in its people’s lives, China has traditionally been a very secular nation. That being said, since the founding of New China in 1949, there has been a heavy emergence of more outward religious practices.
Cool Things About China - Detailed murals show Taoist traditional teachings

Detailed murals show Taoist traditional teachings

CHINESE VISA

A Chinese embassy can be an intimidating site, though with some careful planning you can obtain your Visa with relative ease.

To help you on your way, see our simple 3 step infographic to walk you through it.

Cool Things About China - Trust me, it's worth it to make your way through to see this beautiful country

Trust me, it’s worth it to make your way through to see this beautiful country

 

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT CHINA

Unfortunately the answer is not as straightforward as the question.

China Highlights offers this easy reference to help you decide the best time to visit.

Cool Things About China - Handy overview compliments of China Highlights

Handy overview compliments of China Highlights

Though the weather varies in different parts of the country interesting enough China runs on a single time zone.

  • Peak Season: June – August (summer)
  • Low Season: November – Early March
Due to increased prices and traffic, it is recommended you avoid visiting during holiday periods including:
  • Golden Week: 1-7 October
  • Labour Day: 1-3 May
  • Chinese New Year: dates vary, but typically February time-frame
Cool Things About China - China's architecture is stunning

China’s architecture is stunning

SEE CHINA 

Deciding where to visit in China is challenging, especially if you’re on a limited time-frame or budget. My advice is – don’t try to do it all. Pick a few cities and explore them more in-depth versus trying to cover everything. You will soon realise that there are many cool things about China to discover!

In an 18-day period, we visited Beijing, Xi an & Chengdu.

Once again, China Highlights comes through with the goods, offering this handy map of the Top 10 Attractions.

Cool Things About China - Top China Attractions

Top China Attractions

 

EATING & DRINKING IN CHINA

All of your favourite Chinese dishes are available and are delicious as ever! Dumplings, noodles, and rice dishes are all at your doorstep.
Cool Things About China - Dumplings, dumplings & more dumplings!

Dumplings, dumplings & more dumplings!

 

For a full overview of China’s food culture, check out our recent post on what not to eat in China.

CHINA BUDGET

We budgeted for $79.37 USD/day (for 2 people). Actual was $77.97/day x 18 days = $1,482 total.

Breakdown below:

  • Accommodation – $304
  • Beverages – $48
  • Food – $232
  • Transport – $307 *
  • Entertainment – $512 **
  • Miscellaneous – $78 ***

*excludes Trans-Siberian train from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia to Beijing, China & flight from Chengdu, China to Colombo, Sri Lanka

** includes Forbidden City, Great Wall Overnight Trek, Terracotta Warriors, Xi’an City Wall, Giant Pandas & massages
 

***includes laundry, SIM card ($30), stamps ($11), sunscreen, haircut & ATM fees

Cool Things About China - If you ever get a chance, take the Trans-Mongolia train - so cool! 

If you ever get a chance, take the Trans-Mongolia train – so cool!

  

OUR CHINA HIGHLIGHTS

Cool Things About China - The incredible Great Wall of China

The incredible Great Wall of China

 

  • Camping in a watchtower on the Great Wall
  • Experiencing the gauge change when arriving to China via the Trans-Mongolian train
  • Visiting the Forbidden City
  • The food – all of it! Well mostly 😉
  • Drinking Baiju with Kim’s Uncle and friends
  • Avoiding getting drowned out during the biggest floods in Beijing’s history
  • Seeing the incredible Terracotta Warriors
  • Riding tandem around the Xi’an City Wall
  • Getting up close and personal with Giant Pandas and the babies!
Cool Things About China - He got stuck in the tree after eating too much bamboo

He got stuck in the tree after eating too much bamboo

Cool Things About China - Sooooo cute!

Sooooo cute!

CHINA TIPS

Cool Things About China - Train stations are crazy & packed - be ready for it 

Train stations are crazy & packed – be ready for it

 

  • Book your intercity train tickets ahead of time (1 week or more in advance if possible), use the Ctrip website/app for easy English booking
  • The subways are one of the cool things about China – easy to navigate, cheap and on-time.
  • Organise apps, downloads and VPN prior to arrival
    • Remember China blocks sites such as Google & Facebook, so you will need to utilise VPN to access (we recommend PIA VPN)
  • China is a relatively safe country but do be mindful of pickpockets
  • If traveling by train, be sure to double-check what station you depart from as many cities have multiple stations
  • If visiting the Terracotta Warriors, you do not need to arrange a tour:
    • Buses are straightforward and inexpensive ($4/person return trip)
    • From the bus drop-off point to site entrance, anticipate a 20-minute walk; if you’d rather, you can jump on a shuttle for $1
    • A guide (audio or person) is not required – plenty of English information is available at the Pits themselves
Cool Things About China - The Terracotta Warriors are amazing

The Terracotta Warriors are amazing

What not to eat in China

Wondering What Not to Eat in China?

Wondering What Not to Eat in China?

If you’re wondering what not to eat in China, make sure you are well informed so you can skip on the food you don’t want. Read on below for our suggestions on what to eat and what not to eat in China.

You simply cannot visit China without experiencing the local food culture. Not only do they eat it for the beautiful flavours, but they also see it as medicine. Try it, taste it and enjoy it!

TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODY. IT’S THE ONLY PLACE YOU HAVE TO LIVE. – JIM ROHN

Regionally, China has eight different cuisine varieties. They can be found throughout each province, though most areas are known for a particular style.

  1. Cantonese: The most popular style internationally; examples include dim sum & barbecued pork. Mostly found in Southeast China including Hong Kong & Macau

  2. Sichuan: Considered the most popular cuisine in China characterised by its bold, spicy flavours; examples include hot pot & kung pao chicken. Easily found around the areas of Chengdu & Chongqing.

  3. Jiangsu: Including a lot of fresh seafood, it’s one of the healthier cuisine options; examples include watermelon chicken & fireside broth. Visit the coastal east region of China to try this style.

  4. Zhejiang: There are three types of this cuisine, each revolving around fish and seafood, without the spice; examples include fish balls in clear soup & fried cuttlefish rolls. Mostly found in eastern China provinces.

  5. Fujian: This style has some notable features including the use of exotic regional foods, the focus on soups, the emphasis on seasonings and the beautifully presented meals; examples include fun-named Buddha jumping wall & Tai Chi prawns. This style can be found in southeast China.

  6. Hunan: This type of cuisine is surprisingly hotter than Sichuan cuisine; examples include hot and sour soup & money fish. Try your luck with Hunan spiciness in the southern central areas of China.

  7. Anhui: This cuisine is lesser known, and is sometimes referred to as “a hearty mountain peasant food.” Examples include stewed turtle with ham & honeycomb tofu. Check out these wild dishes in eastern inland China.

  8. Shandong: This style focuses on preserving the cut, colour and taste of the main ingredients; examples include eight treasures chicken & stir-fried scalloped pork kidneys. Find this cuisine in the northern, east-coast of China.

Courtesy of Its All About to Happen 

Courtesy of Its All About to Happen

 

For a more in-depth look at the eight cuisine types of China, be sure to check out this handy guide.

Now, let’s have a gander of what some of this yumminess actually looks like.

Dumplings – Verdict: What to eat in China!

Dumplings are an integral part of the Chinese culture. It is also a common food amongst many cultures, though the look and feel may vary from place to place. While not a comprehensive list, here are a variety of the dumplings on offer throughout China. Eaten morning, noon and night, you’re sure to find a dumpling style you love! And, if you’re really keen, be sure to check out the history of dumplings.

What Not To Eat In China - Steamed buns

Steamed buns

 

What Not To Eat In China - Ahhh, my favourite - traditional dumplings

Ahhh, my favourite – traditional dumplings

 

What Not To Eat In China - Sweet & spicy dumplings

Sweet & spicy dumplings

 

What Not To Eat In China - Kim trying her hand at making dumplings

Kim trying her hand at making dumplings

Fresh Fruit – Verdict: What to eat in China!

It’s a beautiful thing to walk around the streets and see a plethora of stands with fresh fruit and vegetables. The colours are all-natural and the fruit boasts an amazing taste!

What Not To Eat In China - These pears are absolutely delicious

These pears are absolutely delicious

 

What Not To Eat In China - Think of the wine we could make with these

Think of the wine we could make with these

 

Noodles – Verdict: What to eat in China!

Whilst the origin of noodles is actually unknown, China would be more than happy to take credit for them. We lived on noodles during our time in China and the variety and flavor were amazing.

What Not To Eat In China - Feel the burn with some spicy noodles

Feel the burn with some spicy noodles

 

What Not To Eat In China - Fresh spaghetti noodles

Fresh spaghetti noodles

 

Street Food – Verdict: What NOT to eat in China!

This is where things get a bit more interesting. You never know what you’re going to get. But one thing’s for sure – the Chinese do not waste any part of an animal. Bon appetit!

What Not To Eat In China - Glass case filled with pig snouts, chicken feet and more

Glass case filled with pig snouts, chicken feet and more

 

What Not To Eat In China - The rabbit head delicacy

The rabbit head delicacy

 

Chicken Dishes – Verdict: Split Decision!

We often find with travelling chicken has been a safe bet, though we were 50/50 in China. We loved the spice and flavours of the Kung pao chicken and it should definitely added to your list of what to eat in China.

However, we didn’t love the Chicken & chilli dish. We compared it to eating crab; a lot of work for not much meat! Chewing bone and gristle with a side of chilli. It was spicy and flavoursome but a different culinary experience. We suggest adding it to your list of what not to eat in China.

 

What Not To Eat In China - Chicken & chilli

Chicken & chilli – soooo spicy

 

What Not To Eat In China - Kung pao chicken

Kung pao chicken – one of our favourites!

 

Soup – Verdict: What to eat in China!

Chinese love their soups day or night. For breakfast, they’ll often have soup and “youtiaos,” which are literally deep-fried strips of dough. For dinner, spices and meats are generally added.

What Not To Eat In China - Breakfast soup

Breakfast soup

 

What Not To Eat In China - Yummy! Spicy noodle soup

Yummy! Spicy noodle soup

 

Western Fix – Verdict: What to eat in China!

When travelling, we know it’s often common to need a “Western fix.” But let me tell you – don’t waste your meals in China on Western food. With so much variety to choose from, wait to get your Western fix when you get back home. That being said, we did find one exception to the rule: breakfast!

What Not To Eat In China - After all this excitement, it's hard to go past a delicious Western breakfast

After all this excitement, it’s hard to go past a delicious Western breakfast

 

In China, whilst beer and soft drinks are readily available, most people wash their meals down with tea. And, if anyone offers you “baiju,” I’d suggest politely refusing/rejecting.

And if all this talk about food has made you hungry, check out these recipes to cook it yourself, right at home.

PS. Whilst we didn’t see any egg rolls or fortune cookies on our trip, for the most part, the Chinese food we are used to in both Australia and America seem quite authentic.


Time Travel Blonde

What to do in Xian

What to do in Xian China

What to do in Xian China

Xian is a striking city. From the layout to the simple train lines, it’s easy to navigate. The city is surrounded by a large wall which offered protection in years gone by; now it offers tourists a fun way to explore the city. If you are interested in a city guide be sure to check out our colab with GPSMyCity.
 
TRAVEL IS MORE THAN THE SEEING OF SIGHTS; IT IS A CHANGE THAT GOES ON, DEEP AND PERMANENT, IN THE IDEAS OF LIVING. -MIRIAM BEARD
What to do in Xian - Circle Xi'an on top of the City Wall

Circle Xian on top of the City Wall

 
 

BEST TIME TO VISIT XIAN

Xian has four distinct seasons, though weather patterns are somewhat unpredictable which makes deciding what to do in Xian a little tricky. Check average temperatures, humidity and precipitation to find the right time for you.
 
You may also want to plan your trip around some of the annual events in the area:
  • City Wall Marathon: November
  • Lantern Festival: January or February
As with any travel around China, it may be advisable to avoid travelling during their public holidays where possible, to ensure you steer clear of mass chaos. Check out the 2016-2018 schedule.
 

WHAT TO DO IN XIAN

When you think about what to do in Xian, no list should be complete without visiting the below attractions.

What to do in Xian - Your trip would not be complete without a trip to see the Terracotta Warriors

Your trip would not be complete without a trip to see the Terracotta Warriors

  • Terracotta Warriors: $23. Only discovered around 30 years ago, these life-sized replicas of the Terracotta Army are a site not to be missed!
  • City Wall: $22. Head to any of the Gates and cruise around the top of the wall, to get a different perspective on the city. Walk it in about 4-hours, or hire a bicycle ($7/single & $14/tandem) and ride it in approximately 2-hours. Though it is expensive for what it is, it’s definitely a cool experience. All gates open at 8am. Closing time varies by gate – 6pm for East, West & North; 10pm for South
  • Mosque: Free. Not to be confused with the Great Mosque. This is one of the oldest Mosques in China at around 1300 years old, and it’s beautiful. As it’s not a tourist attraction, make sure to wear proper attire (covering your shoulders and knees) or you may be refused entry.
What to do in Xian - Visit the oldest mosque in Xi'an

Visit the oldest mosque in Xian

  • City of God Temple: Free. Visit this temple and view the beautiful work of the Taoist religion. With the yin-yang at the forefront of the beliefs, it’s easy to see the “balance” throughout the temple. Do not take pictures of the Gods, as it’s thought to steal their spirit and leave you with bad luck.
  • Shaanxi History Museum: Free (as long as you’re one of the first 4,000 people for the day). Learn all about the history of the region by visiting this fascinating museum featuring heaps of displays.
  • Mt. Huashan: 180 RMB. A couple hours drive from Xian and you’ll be at one with nature (and a plethora of tourists). For an additional fee, take the cable car up the mountain.
  • Bird MarketFree. You’ll either love it or hate it. You’ll see a host of animals for sale, from birds to puppies and turtles to grasshoppers. You’ll also see a collection of jewellery, sex enhancers and household goods. At one end, experience a local rummage sale with an array of second-hand goods on offer. It’s a site to be seen for sure!
What to do in Xian - Be sure to check out the bird market and let us know what you think

Be sure to check out the bird market and let us know what you think

 

WHERE TO STAY IN XIAN

Staying in central Xian is a great option. In short, stay close to the Bell Tower. While public transport is great, many of the main attractions will also be within walking distance.

What to do in Xian - You'll be close to the beautiful City of God Taoist Temple

You’ll be close to the beautiful City of God Taoist Temple

 
If you’re on a budget, there are a number of great hostels in town.
  • Hang Tang Hostel – Facilities are great and their walking tour is fantastic! PS. It has a sister hostel called “Hang Tang Inn” 2-minutes away.
  • Alley Youth Hostel – Whilst the rooms are a bit average, the common area, location in the middle of Muslim Quarter and complimentary breakfast make up for it.
These are perfect if mid-range is more your style.
  • Bell Tower Hotel – This 3-star hotel is perfect who wants something clean, comfortable and close to all the action.
  • Ramada Xian Bell Tower – Enjoy the sophisticated environment at this 3.5-star hotel, including perks such as free breakfast and an on-site gym.
And, if money is no object, you can’t go past some of the top-named hotels.
  • Hyatt Regency Xian – Relax in luxury as the people at Hyatt do what they do best – making you feel right at home and spooling you along the way!
  • Grand Noble Hotel – Choose from one of three restaurants on-site, or explore the city at your front doorstep.

WHERE TO EAT & DRINK IN XIAN

Choose Traditional Chinese dishes from a wide variety of street vendors and restaurants alike across Xian. You can’t go wrong with dumplings, steamed pork buns and Kung Po Chicken. Be sure to accompany your meals with hot Chinese tea.
 
Muslim Quarter boasts great food (excluding pork of course). Hop off the main street for more authentic flavours and an affordable price. Be sure to check out fresh plum juice and fresh noodles. Watching them make the noodles on the street in passing is fascinating!
 
For a Western fix, be sure to check out the Cyclist restaurant. With a relaxed environment and extensive menu, you’re guaranteed to leave full and happy.
 
And don’t worry, those “fast food” options such as McDonalds and Subway are available for you if you want too 😉
 

XIAN TIPS

What to do in Xian - The amazing Terracotta Warriors

The amazing Terracotta Warriors

  • When visiting the Terracotta Warriors, you do not need to arrange a tour:
    • Buses are straightforward and inexpensive ($4/person return trip)
    • From the bus drop-off point to site entrance, anticipate a 20-minute walk; if you’d rather, you can jump on a shuttle for $1
    • A guide (audio or person) is not required – plenty of English information is available at the Pits themselves
  • Xian is a pretty safe city, but do be mindful of pickpockets
  • If traveling by train, be sure to double check what station you depart from as there are 3 stations operating in the city
 We hope you enjoyed our rundown of what to do in Xian. If you have any suggestions we should include in our wrap please comment below.