Xian is one of the oldest cities in China and is the capital of the Shaanxi Province in the north-west of the country. It is the oldest of the Four Great Ancient Capitals and was the capital of many of the most important dynasties including the Qin and Tang. It is best known for the Terracotta Warriors but there are also lots of other things to see around the area and these Xian tours are the best way to enjoy them.
Terracotta warriors tours
The Terracotta Army is often called one of the most significant archaeological excavations of the 20th century. The UNESCO World Heritage site contains a collection of life-sized sculpture made from terracotta that represents the imperial guard of Emperor Qin Shi Huang – the first emperor of a unified Imperial China. Many of the best Xian tours include visiting these stunning life-sized figures.
Terracotta Warriors Museum Ticket
This skip the queue ticket makes it quick and easy to get into the museum and site where the stunning Terracotta Warriors are housed. See the citadel with its gardens and stables, the warriors themselves as well as the many treasures found on the site which include jade jewellery, gold and silver ornaments and bronze ritual vessels.
With the tour, you will see three of the pits where the warriors stand as well as the Bronze Chariot exhibition. And you will also see the most amazing fact about these statues – each one has distinct facial features, their own ‘character’!
Mini Group: Half-Day Xian Terracotta Warriors Tour
This half-day Xian tour allows you to see the highlights of the Terracotta Warriors. This includes Pit 1, believed to contain some 6,000 warriors and their horses, life-sized and lined up in battle formation. You will also see the other two pits where there are high ranking office sculptures and the army headquarters. You will also see the Bronze Chariot pit with its two painted bronze chariots.
After seeing the warriors, you will stop at one of the local restaurants to sample some traditional Chinese food before returning to your hotel in Xian.
Xian: Terracotta Warriors and Banpo Museum Coach Tour
This is a full-day tour that starts with an air-conditioned coach ride to the Mausoleum of Qin Shi Huang, the emperor who commissioned the Terracotta Army. His tomb was started when he was just 13 and he conscripted some 720,000 labourers to work on it. Within it is the stunning Terracotta Warriors, one of the most famous archaeological finds.
After touring the site and seeing these stunning sculptures, you will visit the Banpo Museum. This prehistoric village is an archaeological site and you can see a range of artefacts found there as well as reconstructed Neolithic houses.
Other Xian tours
While the Terracotta Army is definitely one of the must-see things around Xian, there is more to the city than just this one spot. Here are some Xian tours to help you build a complete itinerary for your time in this part of China.
Xian Great Tang Dynasty Show and Dumpling Dinner
Xian came to fame as the capital city for 13 dynasties including the Tang and Chang’an Dynasties – it was the largest city in the world during these times. This show recreates the look and feels of entertainment during this era with a dance and music show. You will be collected from your hotel and taken to the show which covers five scenes including the story of Wu Ze Tian, the only ever Empress of China. You can also choose to have a dumpling dinner before or after the show.
Xian Ancient City Wall Ticket with Panoramic View
Xian is one of only a few Chinese cities that still have their ancient city walls and this tour is the best way to see them. The walls were built during the Ming Dynasty in the 1370s and are some 12 metres high with a dry moat around them. The City Wall of Xian is the only extant city wall in China.
With this tour, you will meet the tour guide and collect your ticket before touring the city wall with its moats, drawbridges, watchtowers and the main tower. You can also see all of the ancient defence systems that were used to protect the former Imperial capital. There is also an option to take a bike ride around the walls.
One Day Xian Highlights Group Tour
This best of Xian tour is an ideal option if you are only in the city for a short time. The tour starts with the Terracotta Warriors museum as well as seeing the nearby factory where replicas are made. At the UNESCO World Heritage site, you will see the terracotta army, their horses and the bronze chariots as well as many of the artefacts and relics that were buried with them.
After lunch in a nearby restaurant, you will return to Xian to see the City Wall, the most complete of its kind in China. It is one of the most complete ancient defence systems you can see anywhere, and you will spend the afternoon looking around.
Big Wild Goose Pagoda: Small Group Buddhism Walking Tour
The Big Wild Goose Pagoda is one of the most famous of China’s Buddhist pagodas and is located in the Da Ci’enTemple. With over 1300 years’ worth of history behind it, the pagoda is a must-see part of a visit to Xian. This tour includes a small group and will let you see the most of the pagoda including the Morning Clock and the North Square fountain. With an English translation from your guide, you will be able to make the most of this special location. There is also the option to climb Sarira and see the views from this spot.
Muslim Quarter: Small Group Night Market Foodie Walking Tour
The Muslim Quarter is one of the older parts of Xian and has been home to the Muslim population since the 7th century. It has changed little since then and there are narrow lanes filled with shops, sesame oil factories and amazing small mosques.
This Xian tour will introduce you to the Muslim Quarter and its amazing food with a night market walking tour. See the stir fry lamb with its many spices and sample roast walnuts or beef dumplings between visiting some of the earliest mosques in China including the Great Mosque which dates from Ming Dynasty times.
If you are spending some time in Xian you might also find this Xian Itinerary helpful.