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melissa Xi'an - A travel report by Melissa
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Xi'an,  China - flag China -  Shaanxi
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melissa's travel reports

The Warriors Of The Old East

  17 votes
I have wanted to see the Terracotta Warriors for as many years as I can remeber. It all started with a book I had bought when I lived in Canada. The book was about archeology of the world. report of the month contest
May 2004

The valley with a tomb in the distance.
The valley with a tomb in the distance.
Well if you ever decide to go to China, one of the best spots to go see in Xi'an, for a few reasons: 1 it is the oldest place in China with 7,000 years of life, 2 it is rich with history and blended culture. I have lived in China for 19 months now and have seen the north and the south so far, but nothing compares to Xi'an. You will hear from the locals that Xi'an is the big kahuna of China. It was the Emperors hot spot where they reined thru many dynasties for at least 2000 years. Until from what the locals say is the reason why the royalty abbandoned Xi'an is because 4 of the 6 local rivers dried up and that was thought as a bad omen. I would think that the living conditions where to dry and unstable. If you travel out to the countryside you will see some parts of the dried up river beds that have turned to lush green valleys. In among these valleys there are ancient mud hut homes that are unique to this area. Back in time people could carve their homes out of the sides of the hills and the ground was like a solid clay, terracotta in color. Another amazing thing you will see are the tombs that are scattered over the land, the land is very flat and at 1st they look like little hills displaced in the fields, but they are tombs of royalty such as the pyramids or the mayan tombs. Most of the sights that you will see are in the outter lying areas which can be traveled to in less then 3 hrs. I can recomned 2 ways of getting around: At the Bell Tower Hotel which is in the middle of the city, on the 2nd floor there is a travel agency called CITS Xi'an Panda Tour: there are 2 tours, the foreigner and the Chinese tour. If you know Chinese even a little and want to save some $ you can take the Chinese tour which is 1/2 the $ but it is just the bus and the admission, but if you want the whole meal deal take the regular one. And if you are on a budget and or you want to be daring, go to the Xi'an train station and catch 1 of the millions of buses to any of the sights!

Favourite spots:
The Warriors!
The Warriors!
The 1st sight we went to was the Army of Terracotta Warriors (of course). We took a bus from the train station with a friend who is from Xi'an: This is what it is called in Chinese: Bing Ma Yong, since we went during the May holiday they raised all the $'s so durring hoilidays the admission is 90 yuan, durring off season it is 55 yuan. Not bad considering the amazing site you will see. I don't want to say to much because I don't want to ruin it for you. There are 3 buildings that have been built to enclose the excavation site. The 1st building is the best and the most famous. 2nd place you can go is on the way back to the city: The Hot Springs: Huaqing Chi. The hot springs pool was made and used by royalty, the springs comes from Li Shan (Black Horse Mountian).The site is magnificant in size and beauty, there are an array of things to see from all the gold fish to the temple that is at the very top of the mountian. Admission is 30 yuan.

What's really great:
The Pagoda at Famen Si.
The Pagoda at Famen Si.
Some more sights that I highly reccomend: The Doorway Temple:Famen Si-Admission 30 yuan. This is where there is a 12 storey pagoda that collapsed and underneath they discovered a cavern where they say Buddha's fingerbones where found. The pagoda was rebuilt and is amazing, there is also alot to see here including a great museum. There are a couple of tombs that you can see, The tomb of Qin Shihuang and Yong Tai Gong Zhu Mu. These you will see if you go on a tour. In the city here are some great places to go: Big Goose Pagoda:Dayan Ta; the admission is 25 yuan and there is alot to see. Shaanxi History Museum: Shaanxi Lishi Bowuguan, the admission is 35 yuan and is one of the best museums in China, here you will see artifacts from Neolithic period 7,000 years ago. The Drum Tower:Gu Lou: Admission is 12 yuan, and The Bell Tower:Zhong Lou: Admission is 15 yuan. You can not miss these they are in the very middle of the city. The City Wall: Cheng qiang:Admission is 10 yuan.

The smoke in the streets of the Muslim quarter at night.
The smoke in the streets of the Muslim quarter at night.
One of the most fun places to go and hang out is the Muslin quarter which is righ beside the Drum Tower and under the wall. Here it feels as though you have entered a diffrent time and place. The streets are piled with stall after stall of crazy foods that are muslim such as Chuar which is a meat on a stick flame cooked with spices. Sesame, halva like goodies and dreis fruits galore. Here there is also a little side street that you can do all you knick knack shopping. There are 100s of stalls, and millions of things to chosse from. Remeber: BARGIN! They will always raise their $'s 110% when they see tourists!!!!!

This is the Bell Tower across the street from the hotle.
This is the Bell Tower across the street from the hotle.
We stayed at the Bell Tower Hotel in which I highly recommened. It is smack dab in the middle of the city, and is right across from the Bell Tower. For a single room you are looking at about 500 yuan which is a deccent $ for a 4 star hotel, plus there is the travel agency on the 2nd floor.

The drums from the Drum Tower.
The drums from the Drum Tower.
There are 2 resturants that I recommend: The 1st one is a stones throw away from the Bell Tower Hotel : De Fang Chang: This a dummplings resturant, one of the most famous foods in China. The dummplings are called jiaozi. This resturant has about 4 floors in total and the best way to experience it is by having the dummpling meal that is a set meal of 17 kinds of dummplings: They are all diffrent in shapes sizes and fillings, some are amazing to: Like the frog is in a green wrapper, that is shapped like a frog, the lotus flower one shapped like the flower, and the walnut one shapped like a walnut, brown and filled with walnut paste. Yummy!!!
The 2nd resturant is called: Lao Sun Jia: This is also a very famous resturant for Chinese Muslim food which is very unique to this part of China, the best dish and most famous to get is called Yanrou Paomo. This is a fun meal where you break a special bread into a bowl and then it is served with a lamb soup and clear noodles on top! Great stuff!

Other recommendations:
An area of the Great Mosque.
An area of the Great Mosque.
In the muslim quater there is a famous temple which can be found down the side street I just explained above, The Great Mosque:Da qing si: Admission 12 yuan. This is a beautiful example of Chinese and Muslim cultures blended, the temple is about 300 yrs old.

And one more temple to go see: The Temple of 8 Immortals: Baxian An: Admission 2 yuan. This is a very old Taoist temple where it is a working temple and step into the real China, probably the least touristy place in Xi'an.

Published on Thursday May 6th, 2004

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Sun, Jan 16 2005 - 07:15 PM rating by mistybleu

THis is a great report. I love the pictures as well.

Mon, Jun 28 2004 - 04:10 AM rating by mortimer

Hi Melissa
Xian was one of the most interesting places we visited in China and I think you got the point in your report.

Sat, Jun 12 2004 - 12:16 PM rating by traveling_gal

I found your articles on Xi'an and Beijing to be very interesting. I hope to travel to China in a couple of years and your articles provided some fabulous insight and inspire me to travel to these places.

Sat, May 08 2004 - 02:57 AM rating by travelalain

Very good report with an interesting description. You tell it so well. I saw the terracotta warriors in miniature in Shenzhen and I can imagine that they are amazing to see in real. Hope that you can add some photos. Good work.

Fri, May 07 2004 - 05:14 AM rating by britman

I love your report - it contains so much info! Hope you decide to illustrate it with your amazing gallery/slide show photo's to make it outstanding.

Fri, May 07 2004 - 03:47 AM rating by lioness

Thanks for bringing back my dear memories of Xi'an....

Fri, May 07 2004 - 01:41 AM rating by whereisliz

I also have long harbored dreams of seeing the warriors myself... thank you so much for your excellent and detailed report!

Fri, May 07 2004 - 01:01 AM rating by rrmurmu

The information on Terracotta Warriors is very interesting. I would make sure I go there ASAP.

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