We departed Chengdu for an early train to Xi’An – just four hours and we were 741km away. The weather remained in our favour and we had a short walk with our bags up to Cyprus Inn, just within the City Wall up from the south entrance.
Having been wearing some cosy trackie bottoms, I was a litttttttle hot (it was 30 degrees mind), so we redressed in some appropriate summer attire. Stocked up with water and fruit juice we got a ticket for the city walls and headed up for a stroll. Having read in the guide book / online that bikes were a must, we boarded a couple and set to, whizzing around each stretch, which totals 13.7km all the way around.
Tips: It costs CNY 54 to get a ticket for the wall, and if you pay 100 you get the Forest of Stone Steles Museum included too. Bikes are CNY 45 for three hours, which is plenty of time to ride around the full wall. We did it in about 2 hours, with a beer stop half way around (of course, it was bank holiday Monday at home), and we weren’t rushing. My guide book says it takes 4 hours to walk the full stretch but I can imagine it being a bit samey, so would fully recommend renting the bikes!
The museum was chilled, lots of lovely gardens and traditional Chinese style buildings, however it was all in Chinese of course, so we couldn’t learn too much. Nice to have a look around through after the wall.
After a hostel chill for a while we headed West to the Muslim Quarter for a street food dinner. En route, took in the views of the Drum Tower (take the metro to Zhonglou), which was beautifully lit up at night. On said drum tower is the biggest drum in the world, which has made the Guinness Book of Records (CNY 35 to visit inside). To the North of here is the Muslim Quarter, a lively, bustling and exciting food market area full of exciting things to eat.
We were honestly overwhelmed and tried Chinese hamburgers, squid, deserts, rice in a pineapple, sausages, pork & veggie wrap, pastries – you name it, it was there. You can also try pomegranate juice, cold noodles, the potatoes, stinky tofu, meat on sticks and MUCH more…
Following a much needed long sleep, we headed North of Xi’An to the train station to catch a bus to the Terracotta Warriors. Catch the 306, 914 or 915 from the East Square outside the train station – the buses are really obvious when you’re there. It’s about an hour to the destination and costs either CNY 7 or 8 depending which bus you jump on.
Upon arrival you head through a huge car park to the ticket office for the Terracotta Warriors, and it’s CNY 150 for a ticket. The Chinese are really good at crowd control and, once we’d shown our tickets there was a small park for us to wander through before we got the main attraction ha!
We visited three pits; each with their own purpose and with varying levels of surviving warriors. In pit two we saw warriors up close and personal in display cabinets, whereas in pit three there were some high ranking officers and plenty of warriors without their heads haha. Pit one is the most exciting, housing (potentially 6000 in total), 2000 warriors on show. It’s really incredible the details on each of the warriors, and how different their faces are – so impressive.
(Nikon photos to follow)
After our bus journey home and bag collection from the hostel, we embarked on a stressful journey to the airport – the traffic was UNBELIEVABLE. We rushed to check in, and managed to grab hot water for our pot noodles, 5 mins before we boarded eeeeek!
Landed in Beijing and it was like 3 degrees hahah… talk about a weather change!