4 days in Xian allows you to unearth the essence of this ancient heart of China with great flexible choices of attractions, trains, flights, hotels, restaurants, activities, etc. At the same time, you can enjoy everything at a very leisure pace. If you don’t want your itinerary be too loose, you can take a side trip to nearby region of Xian where you may find surprises.
There are several places you can never miss out no matter you have 2 day, 3 days or 4 days in Xian – they are Terracotta Warriors, Ancient City Wall, Muslim Quarter, Giant Wild Goose Pagoda. If you like adventure, Mount Huashan is a MUST either. There are many other interesting places you can add to your itinerary. If you like history, you can go to Shaanxi History Museum, Hangyangling; if you want to enjoy city walking, you can go to the Bell Tower and Drum Tower; if you want to experience something quite local, go to take a cooking class or learning to make dumplings. Below are the Best 10 Xian Attractions for your reference.
Xian Tourist Attractions Map
The Terracotta Warriors famed as the “Eighth Wonder of the World” is the best highlight in Xian. This terracotta army was buried intending to protect the afterlife of China’s first feudal King.
• Opening Hours: 8:30 - 18:00
• Ticket: CNY 120
• Address: Qinling North Road, Lintong District, Xi'an 西安市临潼区秦岭北路
• Recommended visit time: 2hrs
Though Mount Huashan is not exactly in Xian city, they are only 2 hours’ drive away. It is famous for having the most thrilling hiking trail in China - the famous Plank Road in the Skye.
• Opening Hours: 07:00-19:00
• Ticket: CNY 160
• Address: Huashan Town, Huayin City, Shaanxi Province 陕西省华阴市华山
• Recommended visit time: 1~2 days
"Great outside and interesting objects inside". That's the impression of the tourists who have visited Bell Tower. It is located as the very center of Xian, close to Muslim Quarter and Ancient City Wall.
• Opening Hours: 8:00 – 22:00
• Ticket: CNY 54
• Address: Zhongxin District, Xi'an, China 陕西省西安市中心区
• Recommended visit time: 1~1.5hrs
Giant Wild Goose Pagoda is the bright pearl on the Silk Road with excellent architectural beauty, precious Buddhist relics, rich religious culture, stories of the famous ancient monk - Xuan Zang, etc.
• Opening Hours: 8:00-18:00
• Ticket: CNY 50
• Address: Da Ci’en Temple, Yanta District, Xi’an 西安市雁塔区大慈恩寺内
• Recommended visit time: 1hr
The Muslim Quarter featuring in rich Islamic culture has a large number of tasteful snacks along its several streets, such as Rou Jia Mo, Pita Bread Soaked in Lamb Soup, and Soup Dumplings.
• Opening Hours: All day
• Ticket: Free
• Address: #125 Beiyuanmen, Lianhu District, Xian 西安市莲湖区北院门125号
• Recommended visit time: 1.5hrs
"Great outside and interesting objects inside". That's the impression of the tourists who have visited Bell Tower. As the biggest and best-preserved bell tower, it is one of the symbols of Xian city.
• Opening Hours: 08:00 ~ 22:00
• Ticket: CNY 30
• Address: Zhonglou Shangquan, Beilin District, Xian 西安市碑林区钟楼商区
• Recommended visit time: 0.5hr
Shaanxi History Museum is the “Bright Pearl in Ancient Capital and Precious Treasure of China” because it is an art palace that fully shows Shaanxi history, culture, and Chinese ancient civilization.
• Opening Hours: 8:30 - 18:00
• Ticket: Free for Most Exhibition Halls
• Address: No.91 Xiaozhai East Road, Yanta District 雁塔区小寨东路91号
• Recommended visit time: 2hrs
Longmen Grottoes is only 1.5hrs' train journey from Xian. This UNESCO World Heritage Site has impressive Buddhist art carved in grottoes. Definitely worth visit if you like cultural stuff.
• Opening Hours: 7:00~18:30
• Ticket: CNY 120
• Address: Longmen Town, 12km from Luoyang City 洛阳市洛龙区龙门镇
• Recommended visit time: 2hrs
If you get to Xian in the afternoon or evening from Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai, Hong Kong and want to discover the essence of Xian a an enjoyable pace, this 3 Days Classic Xian Tour is the best itinerary for you. All the highlighting attractions are included. At the same time, you don’t have to rush to catch your flight or train when you are leaving Xian because you have a flexible half day for departure.
Day 1 Xian Arrival
Today is for you to get to Xian from other cities in China. Take early flight or trains so that you have time for an afternoon trip as warm-up of your Xian tour.
If you travel solo, you can take metro line 2 or 4 to downtown from Xian North Railway Station, or take airport shuttle bus from the airport to downtown. In the rest of today, you can go to explore the squares and streets near the Bell Tower and Drum Tower where you can not only find interesting Chinese architecture but also many local food. If you travel with China Discovery’s Xian tour package, you will be taken to visit Hangyangling Mausoleum first after picking you up at the train station or airport. Here you can find many mini terracotta figures of not only warrior and horses, but also maidens and other animals. You can get a nice contrast after visiting both Hangyangling and Terracotta Warriors.Then drive to downtown to explore the Bell Tower and Drum Tower
Day 2 Xian Terracotta Warrior Tour
Get up early and set out for sightseeing because morning time is relatively cool and not very crowded. You can visit the Terracotta Warriors first where you can sightsee around 2 hours, then go to have lunch. After lunch, take private car (or tourist bus) to Xian downtown to continue your sightseeing. Go to bike on the Ancient City Wall. You can finish the entire length of 14 kilometers or part of it. Next, go to the bustling and lively Muslim Quarter to try different local snacks and explore Muslim culture. If you are still energetic, go to take a leisure stroll at the Bell & Drum Tower Square.
What to do in the evening: enjoy a wonderful Tang Palace Dance Show (usually from 8pm to 9pm) after a hearty dumpling dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 3 Mount Huashan Day Tour or Luoyang Longmen Grottoes Day Tour
Plan A: Day trip to Mount Huashan
Today you will go to hike Mount Huashan, but you have to get up very early around 7AM because this mountain is about 120km away from Xian, approximately 2hrs’ driving or 40mins’ bullet train. Money-saving way is to take a subway to North Railway Station then change to bullet train. To complete the hike in a day, you have to use cable cars to save time. You can take a cable car up to the West Peak, then hike to North Peak via East Peak and South Peak, and descend from the North Peak by subway. The famous Plank Road in the Skye is located on South Peak. The whole hike plus cable car riding needs about 6~8 hours. After the hike, you can take high speed train or drive back to Xian.
More details at【4 Days Xian Highlights Tour with Mount Huashan Hiking】
Plan B: Day Trip to Luoyang Longmen Grottoes
After breakfast, go to take a morning high speed train to Luoyang Longmen Railway Station. You will arrive at Luoyang Longmen Train Station after about 1.5 hours’ train ride, then take a taxi to Longmen Grottoes, about 5km' driving from the railway station. Longmen Grottoes is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It preserves the largest and most impressive collection of Chinese art of the late Northern Wei and Tang Dynasties (316-907), preserved in deep grottoes on West Hill and East Hill. West Hill Grottoes has the most of the significant Buddhist carvings, such as the Binyang Caves, Wanfo Caves, Lotus Cave, the Vairocana Buddha in Fengxian Temple. Crossing the bridge, the East Hill Grottoes with less caves but more nature sites offered, like Xianshan Temple and the Bai Juyi’s Tomb. After about 2 hours' sightseeing at Longmen Grottoes, take a taxi to the railway station to catch your high speed train back to Xian.
Day 4 Xian City Half-Day Tour and Departure
Get up early to visit the famous Giant Wild Goose Pagoda and Shaanxi History Museum. They are not far from each other. You can easily get there by subway or taxi. About 1.5 hours are needed to visit the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, 2 hours to visit the History Museum. The rest of the day is free for you to catch the flight/train to leave Xian.
Xian 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 Xian from Xian Xianyang Airport, and stay in Xian 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 Xian.
Generally speaking, you can travel to Xian 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 Xian tour in autumn, March, April and May are also a good choice, for the comfortable temperature.
What to 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.
Flight and high speed train are two major transportation to get to Xian. Currently you can take nonstop, stopover, or connecting flights to Xian from more than 50 countries and regions, such as Hong Kong, Macau, Taipei, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Sydney, Kuala, Bangkok, etc. Xian is also connected wide by domestic flights from majority of big cities in China, such as Beijing, Xian, 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.
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 Xian’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.
The city area of Xian 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 Xian to above places. Each place only need about 1 day to visit.
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