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Is 2 days long enough to visit Xi'an?

2 full days is the ideal trip length of a Xi'an city tour, which is long enough to explore all the best highlights in Xi'an city. If you plan your itinerary well, you can even make it to visit Xi'an with the famous Mount Huashan in brief 2 days, provided that you arrive at Xi'an very early, like before 10 A.M. on the first day, or you arrive at Xi'an in the afternoon or evening of previous day, because most of the attractions, such as the Terracotta Warriors, Shaanxi History Museum, Big Wild Goose Pagoda, and the tourist buses and cable cars are only operated in the daytime usually before 6pm. Thus, it’s very important to plan your itinerary well, taking the starting point, transportation, attractions options, meals and travel experiences all into consideration.

Take earliest flight or trains to Xi'an if your time is on budget

Xi'an is probably not your first arrival city in China if you travel to China from Europe, America, Australia, etc, because Xi'an is not connected by as many international flights as Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, etc. You may need to get to Beijing, Shanghai and other international transport hubs in China first, then take a flight or train to Xi'an.

Arriving at Xi'an by Flight

If you have only 2 days to spend in Xi'an, you should take the early morning flights which arrive at Xi'an before 10 A.M. so that you have more time for sightseeing, or you should take a flight to Xi'an one day in advance. Currently, Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Chongqing, Guilin and Hangzhou (most used among all China cities) operate flights which arrive at Xi'an in the early morning, usually before 10 A.M. The airport of Xi'an is located about 40km from the downtown and 66km from Terracotta Warriors. After arrival at the airport, you can transfer to downtown by taxi, tourist bus or private car to start sightseeing immediately. To make the best of your precious time in Xi'an, we recommend our private tour service to you. Our tour guide and driver will pick up you at the arrival hall of the airport, then transfer to attractions directly.

Arriving at Xi'an by Train

Xi'an is widely connected to other China major cities, but only the morning high speed trains from Chengdu, Zhengzhou, Luoyang and other nearby cities(within 700km) and overnight high speed train from Shanghai can take you to get to Xi'an before 10 A.M. If you take high speed train to Xi'an from Beijing, Chongqing, Hangzhou, etc, you can only arrive Xi'an after 11 A.M. We advise you to visit the attractions in downtown first, then go to the Terracotta Warriors on the next day because Xi'an North Railway Station is only about 20km to Xi'an downtown but 48km to the Terracotta Warriors. There are subway, taxi and public buses to transport tourists from the railway station to downtown. Tourist buses are available between the railway station and Terracotta Warriors either.

Start Xi'an Tour from your hotel (arriving at Xi'an on day in advance) – more recommended

It is also quite common that travellers get to Xi'an one day in advance, then plan 2 full days for sightseeing. If you are one of them, you’d better book hotel in good locations where you can find public transportations easily. Bell & Drum Towers Area, Xincheng District and Yanta Distict are three best areas to stay in Xi'an. If you prefer travelling with a more comfortable and flexible way, we can arrange tailor-made Xi'an tour package with hotel pickup and drop off for you.

Itinerary A: 2 Days Xi'an City Break - suitable for both travelling with travel agency and solo

This is a very efficient itinerary, flexible to start from airport, train station or hotel, and perfectly designed to cover all the symbolic attractions in Xi'an, including the Terracotta Warriors, Ancient City Wall, Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Muslim Quarter (snack street) and Shaanxi History Museum.


D1: A (train station, airport or hotel) - B (Giant Wild Goose Pagoda) - C (Ancient City Wall) - D (Muslim Quarter) - E (Bell & Drum Towers) / D2: G (Terracotta Warriors) - E (History Museum)

Day 1 Big Wild Goose Pagoda – Ancient City Wall – Muslim Quarter – Bell & Drum Tower

Today, you can spend all your time exploring the core area of Xi'an. Take our private car, or public bus (metro line 3) to visit the icon of Xi'an – Giant Wild Goose Pagoda which is located in Da Cien Temple. The pagoda has a history over 1,300 years with excellent architectural beauty, precious Buddhist relics, rich religious culture, stories of the famous ancient monk - Xuan Zang, etc. It stands at a height of 64 m (210 ft) tall and from the top it offers panoramic views over the city. About 1.5 hours are needed to visit the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda. Move on to next attraction - the Ancient City Wall (about 30mins driving from the Pagoda). This ancient city wall is 12 meters high and 18 meters wide with a total circuit of nearly 14 kilometers, providing opportunities to enjoy a leisure stroll or biking on. About 1.5 hours are needed to visit the Ancient City Wall. Only hundreds meters from the city wall lies the lively Muslim Quarter which is the most popular snack street in Xi'an. It Is a great place to wander around, sit down to try some local snacks or enjoy a cup of tea. From the snack street, you can walk to Bell Tower and Drum Tower. Getting onto one of the tower (Bell Tower is more recommended) to look down upon the city is a great experience.

  • 2 Days in Xi'an Giant Wild Goose Pagoda
  • 2 Days in Xi'an Ancient City Wall
  • 2 Days in Xi'an Muslim Quarter (Snack Street)
  • 2 Days in Xi'an Bell Tower

Day 2 Terracotta Warriors – History Museum

Today’s activities are interesting, meaningful and educational. We advise you to visit the Terracotta Warriors in the morning when it is not as crowded as in the afternoon. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is about 40km from Xi'an downtown. You can take our private car or tourist bus to get there. The Terracotta Warriors is just a small part of the huge mausoleum of Qin Shihuang’s, the first emperor of China. Over 8,000 life-size warriors, horses and chariots have been unearthed during the past 4 decades’ excavation, exhibited in three pits. It usually needs about 2 hours to visit the exhibitions and surrounding. After the visit, you can have lunch in a restaurant near the Terracotta Warriors. The afternoon is to transfer back to Xi'an downtown. Don’t not miss the Shaanxi History Museum where you can ramble in the modern exhibition halls to appreciate historic relics such as porcelains, paintings, and currencies dating from the Zhou to the Tang dynastic periods (1100 BC to 907 AD). (Note: Shaanxi History Museum is very crowded during July ~ early September and China’s National Day during Oct.1-Oct.7). The rest of today is free on your own to visit other small places in the city, or go to experience a cooking class, Chinese calligraphy class or other local cultural activities.

More details at【2 Days Xi'an City Break (Hotel Pickup) from $201

  • 2 Days in Xi'an Terracotta Warriors Pit 1
  • 2 Days in Xi'an Terracotta Warriors
  • 2 Days in Xi'an Shaanxi History Museum
  • 2 Days in Xi'an Exhibit in Shaanxi History Museum

Itinerary B: 2 Days Terracotta Warriors Tour with Mount Hua Hiking

Do you want to witness the most precipitous mountain in China? Go to Mount Huashan which is only about 2hrs’driving (40min’s bullet train ride) from Xi'an. The breathtaking Plank Road in the Skye is the must-try experience on the mountain but you have to be brave enough because it is known as one of the world’s most dangerous hike. 1 day is long enough to take a hiking trip to Mount Huashan, but you have to depart from Xi'an very early, better before 8A.M., or get to the foot of the mountain one day in advance as our 2 Days Terracotta Warriors Tour with Mount Hua Hiking does, so that you have more time for the mountain hike and sightseeing. Below is the suggested itinerary:


D 1: A (train station, airport or hotel) - B (Ancient City Wall) - C (Terracotta Warriors) - D (Mount Huashan) / D2: D (Mount Huashan) - E (train station, airport or hotel)

Day 1 Xi'an – Ancient City Wall Huashan - Terracotta Warriors – Mount Hua

Get up early to have breakfast, then go to the Ancient City Wall to enjoying a walking/biking. Then transfer about 40km to visit the Terracotta Warriors. In the afternoon, drive or take a high speed train to Mount Hua. Find a hotel near the foot of Mount Huashan.

Day 2 Mount Huashan Hiking - Xi'an

To save time and energy for the highlighting part of Mount Huashan, you will take the cableway directly from East Gate up to the North Peak (about 10mins ride). North peak has good views of other four peaks. Start hiking from North Peak to East Peak which will take about 2 hours to get to the East Peak. On route, you have several spots to see, such as the Heavenly Ladders, Riyue Cliff, Canglong Ling, Golden Lock Pass, etc. Continue hiking about 1.5 hours to the South Peak where you can try the famous Plankroad in the Sky which is seen as one of the most dangerous hikings in the world. It is a more than 100 meters long, 0.3 meters wide plank road built along the surface of a vertical cliff. About 30 minutes are needed to walk from this side to another, then return. Keep hiking about 40mins from South Peak to the West Peak. The West Peak is also called Lotus Peak because of its unique shape. This peak is formed by a huge rock. Hence it's very steep. Lastly, take the cableway down to the foot of Mount Hua. The rest time is to transfer back to Xi'an or catch a train to next destination.

More details at【2 Days Terracotta Warriors Tour with Mount Hua Hiking

  • 2 Days in Xi'an Mount Hua in Misty Days
  • 2 Days in Xi'an Mount Huashan Sunset
  • 2 Days in Xi'an Plank Road in the Sky on Mount Hua
  • 2 Days in Xi'an West Peak Cableway on Mount Hua

Most Important Xi'an Travel Notes

1. Take advantage of Xi'an 72-Hour Transit Visa Free

Xi'an applies to the 72-Hour Transit Visa Exemption. Visitor from 53 foreign countries who hold valid travel document & connecting flights to a third country/region can enter Xi'an from Xi'an Xianyang Airport, and stay in Xi'an up to 72 hours without a Chinese Visa. If you have a short layover less than 24 hours, you also don’t have to apply for a visa to visit Xi'an.

2. Best Time to Visit Xi'an

Generally speaking, you can travel to Xi'an all year around as most of the attractions are located in and near downtown. But the best time to visit is in autumn (mid-September to early November) when it is neither too hot or too cold, and the number of tourists is relatively smaller than the summer time’s. If it is not possible to schedule your Xi'an tour in autumn, March, April and May are also a good choice, for the comfortable temperature.

What t wear in Summer? - light, quick-dry and easy to wear clothes, hat, sunscreen, rain jacket and comfortable shoes. What t wear in Winter? - double layer jacket, long underwear pants and tops, sweaters, long sleeve shirts, wool blend socks, boots, winter jacket, winter hat, winter gloves, winter scarf. What to wear in Spring? - long underwear, fleece outer layer, face mask, light hat, scarf, and gloves. What to wear in Autumn? - thermal warmer jacket, light hat, gloves, scarf, wool socks, fleece pants.

3. How to Get to Xi'an

Flight and high speed train are two major transportation to get to Xi'an. Currently you can take nonstop, stopover, or connecting flights to Xi'an from more than 50 countries and regions, such as Hong Kong, Macau, Taipei, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Sydney, Kuala, Bangkok, etc. Xi'an is also connected wide by domestic flights from majority of big cities in China, such as Beijing, Xi'an, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Shanghai, etc. For train journeys less than 6 hours, you can take high speed trains from Beijing, Chengdu, Chongqing, Luoyang, Zhengzhou, Pingyao, etc.

4. Where to Stay in Xi'an

Bell & Drum Towers Area - strongly recommended for first-timers, easy access to Ancient City Wall, Muslim Quarter, Bell Tower, Drum Tower and popular restaurants. Hotel rates are higher than other areas, but you have a lot of choices of different standards. Xincheng District - not very far from the city center as well as Xi'an’s main attractions, recommended for families as there are shopping center and parks to enjoy a stroll. Yanta Distict – Yanta District is on the south of the city center, also near main attractions, including Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, History Museum, etc. It has many hotels of budget class.

5. A longer stay is recommended

The city area of Xi'an can be explored in brief two days, while the surrounding regions also have a lot of places to explore, such as Mount Hua, Longmen Grottoes in Luoyang, Shaolin Temple in Dengfeng. If time allows, you can extend your trip from Xi'an to above places. Each place only need about 1 day to visit.

Start planning your tailor-made holiday to China by contacting one of our specialists. Once enquired, you’ll get a response within 0.5~23.5 hours.

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[Important] Travel News for Expats: China travel is reopening now! Travel with China Discovery and learn about where to visit & requirements for each destination! Read Details >