hotel in Xi'an...
New World Hotel Xi'an is a wonderful hotel,
the rooms are clean and the staff is very helpful.
The best place to get a cheap tour bus to see the
Terracotta Warriors is near the city bus station.
My friends and I accidentally got on a Chinese tour
bus and ended up seeing much more than just the warriors.
It actually ended up being one of the most enjoyed
days of our time in Xi'an. Also enjoyable was wandering
in Muslim areas, eating fresh nan bread, and finding
a beautiful mosque that we were allowed to take pictures
Colleen, Ottawa, Canada
I stayed at the Grand New World Hotel as well
(48 Lian Hu Rd, Xi'an -- Tel: (8629)7216868). Highly
recommended. The staff was extremely helpful in every
way and the hotel served excellent breakfast buffets
-- a mix of Asian and Western foods. It was great
fun to try the dim sum specialties alongside French
toast and omelets. We usually didn't eat lunch because
our morning meal was so bountiful. This hotel is a
Around the corner from the hotel is a neighbourhood
street market -- exploring these streets where merchants
displayed their wares and cooked Xi'an specialties
(not recommended for Westerners' stomachs) was an
incredible treat. It was so interesting to see the
many different faces and to watch how commerce played
itself out in this part of the world. After all, Xi'an
marks the start of the Old Silk Road.
We stayed in Xi'an for five days but most JW readers
suggested a shorter two or three-day timetable to
explore the city and close surroundings. One can be
used to explore the area around the City Wall, the
Muslim area, the Bell Tower, etc., the second day
devoted to seeing the Terracotta Warriors, the third
for the Wild Goose Pagodas, shopping, etc. Ruth Lor
Malloy in her China
Guide says that,"Next to Beijing, Xi'an is
the best city to visit in China, especially if you
are interested in ancient Chinese history, traditional
culture, and archaeology."
If you are shopping for local handicrafts, JW suggests
the ancient rubbings, primitive paintings, local embroidery
and paper cuttings. Also, if there are little kiddies
in your life, bring along a tracing of a shoe that
fits them. In Xi'an's big department store we saw
and bought the cutest baby and toddler shoes priced
from Cdn$7 - $15 per pair (in Beijing they were a
bit more expensive). This department store also sells
well-made traditional Chinese clothing both for adults
and youngsters (however,
if you want lesser-quality Chinese fashion you'll
be able to find cheaper versions at the Silk and Pearl
Markets in Beijing). Remember, except for the department
stores, the rule for shopping is to bargain, bargain,
Especially in the winter months when more coal is
being burned, the air in the center of Xi'an is highly
polluted. I found that just walking the streets immediately
made my eyes and throat burn. Many people in the group
that I was with developed chest infections and colds.
While the polluted air was not the only factor for
theses illnesses, it was certainly part of the cause.
I suggest that you pack lozenges, cough and sinus
medicines, and ask your doctor for an antibiotic to
have with you just in case you develop a serious bacterial
infection with fever. You'll notice that many people
in Xi'an wear cloth masks over their nose and mouths.
If you are susceptible to chest infections you might
want to wear one, too. All the pharmacies there stock
Evelyn, Journeywoman Editor
My advice is to go to see the
Terracotta Warriors in Xi'an early in the morning.
That day of sightseeing, we were up and out by 7:00AM
and boy was it worth it! Talk about packed. We were
the first ones at the site and by the time we got
through the 1st chamber the place was mobbed. Even
if you have to sit out there and wait for the museum
to open, it is well worth trying to be the first ones
Rashida, Philadelphia, USA
Ed. Note: The
"warriors" are not in the city of Xi'an.
According to Ruth Lor Malloy's China
Guide, "The museum is a 40-minute drive northeast
of the city. The entrance fee is Y65-Y80 including
the movie. You can go by a group tour, or a Y80 taxi
(one way). You can negotiate for the taxi to wait
for you, or take public bus 306/307 from the railway
station for about Y10."
and Terracotta Warriors...
When in Xi'an you'll find many,
many hawkers who line the road leading to the museum
housing the Terracotta Soldiers. They will surround
you with clay souvenirs of these soldiers. Even though
they are extremely cheap I was told by the local guide
that they will fall apart as they are not fired properly.
I would, perhaps, buy the little golden chariot from
the hawkers as they are extremely cheap and I don't
think there is a chance of those disintegrating.
Pat, Pickering, Canada
Ed. Note: The
Xi'an hawkers also sell brightly coloured roughly
stitched and embroidered cotton wall hangings and
totebags. These are crafted locally and make affordable
and original gifts. JW bought three creative wallhangings
that are now proudly displayed in friends' children's
rooms ($18 total). Be prepared to bargain -- don't
be shy. The vendors expect you to do it and they certainly
will stop when they feel that their profit is not
high enough. That said, I have a personal rule not
to haggle over smaller amounts. Be kind. These women
work very, very hard to make a living.
coffee shop in Xi'an...
When you're in Xi'an there is
a fantastic coffee shop/restaurant near the international
picture theatre. For 10 RMB you can drink as much
coffee or tea or eat as much ice cream as you like.
The 8 treasure tea is fantastic. I think its called
"Bee in Time Coffee."
Its rather large and is situated behind the main street
going to the city wall.
How to find this place? We stayed at the Mingshen
Hotel which is located near the city wall
(about 200 meters from the Bell Tower Hotel). If you
head towards the city wall from the Mingshen (about
100 metres) and then turn right at the next corner
past two large lion statues, walk about 10 metres
to the next small street and it is there on your right
taking up half the alleyway and only a few steps to
the international picture theatre. They were building
something at the end of the alley way when we were
there in July so perhaps this will not be a thoroughfare
to the cinema when you go.
Jodie, Brisbane, Australia
House in Xi'an....
If you're ever in Xi'an be sure
to visit the Defachang House
Jiaotze Dumpling House in the square by
the Drum Tower. They bring you bamboo racks filled
with steamed dumplings in over 100 kinds of shapes
and sizes. Top floor of the restaurant has the most
choices but is also the most expensive. Bottom floor
has a cheaper menu. Imagine dumplings in the shape
of dragons, pumpkins, bunnies, flowers... Tel: 7269010.
I don't think they accept credit cards.
Katherine, Ontario, Canada