On the last weekend, I traveled to Xi’an with my workmates for our annual meeting and also some fun. It was certainly great fun visiting those historic sights with so much history and many stories.
Accommodation: We booked a villa of 5 rooms, two floors at the northeastern part of Xi’an city, a bit far from the downtown, but was very clean and in a good condition. Most of all, very economical and convenient for some group fun games.
Day one: The Banpo Museum, the Terracotta Warriors Museum, the Ancient City Wall, the Muslim Quarter, the Bell Tower and Drum Tower.
Day two: The Shaanxi History Museum, the Big Wild Goose Pagoda square.
Day one: We were working on Friday, so we booked the flight from Chengdu to Xi’an that night. It was quite late when we arrived in the Xi’an City. The airport was in Xian Yang city, a different and neighboring city with Xi’an. It was quite confusing for me at first. I thought they were the same city.
We played some card games that night. I lost a lot of money but the laughs certainly made it worthwhile.
Day two:This is the real beginning of our tour. We set out late for a good sleep. It was eleven in the morning when we got to the Banpo Museum, which is also at the northeastern part of Xi’an. This Museum is actually very interesting. We were told the village was in the matriarchal period, which means one woman could have many husbands and the children normally didn’t know who their father was but only knew their mother.
The site is composed of the living area, the burial area, and the pottery-making area. In their living area, we saw the sites of their houses and the video about how they made their houses back then. The guide told us that their house was quite comfortable and were cool in summer and warm in winter. I thought it was very clever of them to have invented such construction. Here we also saw a kind of pottery pot that had a small opening at the top. It was said that this was for the children who died young and their parents were reluctant to let them go, so they buried their children in the pot nearby their house and the opening was said to let the children’s souls to come out and go into Heaven. This was very moving and meaningful.
In the burial area, we saw different kinds of burial ways of the ancient village. The human bones were actually real. People were quite pious to the nature at that time. In the pottery area, the process of making potteries was on display. There was also an exhibition hall displaying many interesting articles. We had a very primitive time there.
It was one o’clock in the afternoon when we got to the Terracotta Warriors Museum. Our guide suggested that we visit the Pit Two first and then Pit Three, Pit One at last. This way we could see the warriors under earth, some and then in a large scale, which would be more interesting. We agreed.
Pit Two was large and truly letting people down because most of the parts are covered by loess. We were told that China is researching with other countries to find new ways of excavation so that the archaeological team can protect the warriors in their colorful appearance instead of being oxidized and losing its colors. Here are some warriors in the transparent closets. They were quite exquisite and attracted lots of travelers shooting pictures here.
Pit Three was said to be the commander of the whole army group, with only a few soldiers. The warriors were quite real. We finally saw some excavated warriors here.
In Pit One, there were so many warriors in a very solemn style. The scene was grand. I stood here for a very long time, thinking about how fantastic the ancient Chinese people were to have built such a big underground army and what’s more, all the warriors were with different facial expressions and showing different personal characteristics.
This is why travelers from the world come to China! Really should be!
We went out of the museum at about three in the afternoon. Oh, we also saw several exhibition halls displaying the finding of the underground army and its developments and some chariots.
We were so hungry out from the museum. Our guide took us to a local restaurant called Impression of Lintong (A district of Xi’an where the warriors locate), a traditionally decorated Shaanxi style restaurant and ordered us some authentic Shaanxi dishes including the Shaozi Noodle and the Ran Noodle. They were quite delicious. Some of us even stand to try the noodles because the bowl was so deep and big. We were not having enough of the delicious noodles so ordered another bowl at the lunch of the next day. The steamed buns were quite full for us. We didn’t even finish one of them each of us, but they were worth of trying.
We then had a long car ride back to Xi’an downtown. I took a nap in the car, quite warm inside though it was the coldest time of Xi’an. Back in the city, we went directly to the Ancient City Wall at the perfect timing, five o’clock in the afternoon. We walked a bit and saw the bikes for renting. So we got two tandems, one red and one yellow, great color match. We decided to do a bike race with two on each tandem for an agreed distance to see who got there first. It was quite interesting and warming up. The back seat was more difficult to control for the direction shakes all the time. When racing down the wall, its like flying to the far away, a bit painful for the bottoms. We laughed and jumped to have a few nice pictures. Very stunning views when the lights are on. The red lanterns were so beautiful, dotting the wall, very traditional.
We stayed on the wall till all the lights shining up the buildings here, very worthwhile. This is the real Chang’an.
Then it’s time for our snack tour to the Muslim Streets. It took about 15 minutes’ walk from the City Wall to the Muslim Streets. There were so many people. People Moutain People Sea here. Lots of snacks and drinks. I tried the Ma Jiang Liang Pi or Cold Noodle here. It was fine. The Rou Jia Mo was quite tasty. I liked it. We were moving so slowly with many souvenirs and snacks in bags. Some of us bought the Xun, a kind of portable musical instrument in the shape of half of a gourd, with beautiful sculptures on. Some bought the shadow play figurines. Each of us bought some things there and was reluctant to leave at the deep night. We were told earlier by the guide that the souvenirs here were much more cheaper than elsewhere such as at the Terracotta Warriors Museum. You can easily find a proper souvenir at a reasonable price here.
We passed by the Drum Tower and Bell Tower here. The Drum Tower was just in front of the Muslim Quarter main street. The Bell Tower was literally in the city center. They were quite enchanting with those lights on. A far away view of these two is enough, no need for climbing.
Day three: We only had half day for touring today. We chose the Shaanxi History Museum and the Big Wild Goose Pagoda square. The museum was so popular that there were so long a queue in front of us when we got there.
The museum was free for visiting. I think that’s why there were so many people on Sunday. People are getting the free tickets by showing their ID cards and passports.
We got a professional guide for the museum tour. The guide was quite informative and she explained the articles in details and answered our questions one by one. She was quite nice and patient. Guide service is strongly recommended for visiting the Terracotta Warriors and the History Museum. With their support, you will have an extraordinary experience. Otherwise, it will just be seeing those treasure.
We heard from our guide that there was a pink warrior on display free of charge for viewing recently excavated by joint efforts of China and a foreign team with some of its colors protected. Its forehead was a bit pink and the kneel was a bit green, hard to notice but true. Very lucky!
After the museum, we walked to the Big Wild Goose Pagoda square. It took about 15 minutes. The fountains were beautiful with the Pagoda in the background, a perfect combination of ancient and modern. Walking from the north square to the south square, we then saw the statue of the master in the Journey to the West, facing the south, with its back against the Pagoda. The tower was said to be the depository of the sutras he brought back from India in the ancient times.
After a big lunch and a few challenging games, we got quite excited about this tour. In the late afternoon, we left for the airport. It was a memorable journey, short but interesting!
Check out the entrance ticket pictures here: