hotel in Xi'an...
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 of.
Colleen, Ottawa, Canada
Ed. note: 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 Marriott brand.
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
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, 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 to arrive.
Rashida, Philadelphia, USA
Ed. Note: The "warriors"
are not in the city of Xi'an. According to Ruth Lor Malloy's
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