Two Days in Xi'an, China21 February 2013
|Another intern and myself in front of the Bell Tower|
While working in China, I actually got very little time off. I never had more than 2 days in a row of no work and, since China is so big, that really didn't give me enough time to go anywhere. Finally I talked to one of my superiors and he graciously rearranged my schedule to give me enough time to travel to the city of Xi'an, China.
Upon first researching this city I was afraid there would be nothing to do but I was absolutely wrong! Xi'an ended up being one of the most beautiful and interesting cities that I would visit in my time in China.
The Muslim Quarter
The Bell and Drum Towers
For a couple yuan you can buy a ticket that allows access to both of these ancient towers. Not only are they beautiful on their own right but they also offer things to do inside; the bell tower houses artifacts, art and traditional furnishings while the drum tower has performances throughout the day.
The City Wall
I think what I enjoyed most about this site was imagining the immense history of the city. It was fun to walk this wall as the sun set and look at how Xi'an had grown from an ancient, walled city to a modern metropolis. My friends and I dedicated a good hour to just walked from the south gate the west gate of the city. For those who would like to experience the wall a little quicker, there are bikes for rent.
The Terracotta Warriors
Of course, this is the main attraction that draws people to Xi'an; the terracotta warriors! From the train station, take a bus to a small town just out side of the city and enter the "museum". I use this word in quotations because this place was seriously such a confusing clusterfuck. When we first got off the bus we thought we had gotten off at the wrong place since we were surrounded by nothing but chintzy shopping stalls. Walk past all that for a couple minutes and you find the box office. After that you can walk to the actual mausoleum which is still quite far away as the entrance to it is nothing but a huge park. For a couple extra yuan you can take a trolley to the site. We opted for this since it was sickeningly hot that day. The actual site itself, truly, isn't all that stunning. It's amazing to learn the history of these statues and view them in person but after an hour of staring at them you'll be bored. But hey, they're a UNESCO site! Can't pass that up!
In the end, we absolutely loved our time in Xi'an. It was such a refreshing change from Wuhan and I'd go back in a heartbeat! One tip though, beware of scammers in this city. This is a highly touristic city so people know they can jack up prices. Never stay in a taxi if the driver doesn't turn the meter on!
Have you ever been to Xi'an? What would you want to do/see there?