Xi’an was the capital of China for freakin ever, so if you’re into history at all, it’s totally worth it. I went for the first time in 2006 and saw the warriors. I knew it was a place I would come to visit again one day, and that day came when I was teaching in China again a couple years ago.
My boyfriend and I flew his mom to China and took her there as part of her grand tour. It was awesome to be able to share old China with her after the glitz of Hangzhou and Shanghai. We couchsurfed with a member of the CSI team who lived right in the middle of the old city and of course he was super sweet to my boyfriend’s mom.
Here’s how we enjoyed our time there:
First, I had already cultivated an addiction to la mien（拉面), rou jia mou（肉夹馍), and meat on a stick (串) – all of which originated in this area.
She wouldn’t eat street food after being scared by Brian. I ate enough for all of us.
I brought my food to go and met them inside Pizza Hut (if you’re a wary eater there’s western options everyone here, too).
For those with a sweet tooth, you can get some delicious, freshly made walnut candy.
Then go for a trek up the city wall.
It completely encompasses the old city – can easily trace the entire wall in a couple hours.
View down one length of the city wall – we were really lucky to have it all to ourselves.
Notice the buildings behind me (behind the thick layer of yuck). Maybe that’swhy we had it all to ourselves?
One of many watchtowers situated on top of the wall.
Another day we went for a night time visit to the Wild Goose Pagoda with a different Couchsurfer who just met up with us for the evening and showed us around.
Then we all went out for some more traditional Xi’an food at First Noodle under the Sun
And of course the next day we went to see the warriors.
These full reconstructions are in glass cases and permanently available, except for those that are chosen to be part of the traveling display. But if you’re really lucky, you’ll come on a day where they’re doing an active excavation and reconstruction right out in the open for you to watch. This only happened the second time I went. Super cool!
The complex and warriors are truly magnificent. You’re missing out on one of the wonders of our world if you decide to skip Xi’an during your adventures in China.
It’s a couple hours on a plane or a day on a train from anywhere else you’ll be in China, but the area is full of history and it’s quite different from any of the coastal cities. 100% worth your time. Go.