Is one day really long enough to visit Xian?

To be honest, one day is too short to have a fantasy tour in Xian, but it is even too wrong to leave Xian behind when you have a chance to take a day layover during your China vacation or international flight journey. Ideal trip length of Xian tour (excluding arrival day) is one and a half or two full days, while one day is also long enough to enjoy a glimpse of the best part of the ancient capital Xian. Then how to spend your precious ONE DAY in Xian? China Discovery has the best idea for you.

Where to Start Your One Day in Xian?

Xian North Railway Station

Xian North Railway Station is the High Speed Train Station as well as the starting point of Xian tour for most tourists. It is located at Yuanshuo Road, Weiyang District, Xian City (陕西省西安市未央区元朔路), about 20km from downtown and 48km from Terracotta Warriors. It has frequent subways to downtown as well as tourists to Terracotta Warrior, also has access for travel agencies to pick up guests. You’d better take high speed trains which arrive at Xian before 9~10 A.M. if you want to take a Xian city day tour from the North Railway Station. The earliest high speed train from Beijing arrive at Xian at around 11 A.M., which is not early enough to have a day tour in Xian. Shanghai and Chengdu are more recommended to take a train to Xian to have a day tour. Shanghai has an overnight train which arrives at Xian at around 9 A.M., and Chengdu’s earliest high speed train to Xian arrive at around 10 A.M. Luoyang is also a good option. If your train arrive at Xian after 10 A.M., you’d better skip the sites in the city and only visit the Terracotta Warriors, or stay one more day in Xian.

Xian Xianyang International Airport

Compared with Xian North Railway Station, Xian Xianyang Internaitonal Airport is easier to start a day tour in Xian as it has many morning arrival flights from Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Chongqing, etc. But you also have to catch the earliest flights. The airport of Xian is located about 40km from the downtown and 66km from Terracotta Warriors. You can take shuttle buses to downtown and Terracotta Warriors directly (subway is not available at the airport). To make the best of your precious time in Xian, we recommend our private tour service for you. Our tour guide and driver will pick up you at the arrival hall of the airport, then transfer to attractions to start sightseeing directly.

Your Hotel in Xian

If you are independent traveler, you’d better stay in a hotel with convenient connections to public transportations, better be not too far from the city center area (around the Bell Tower, Ancient City Wall). If you prefer travel with a more comfortable and flexible way, we can also arrange tailor-made Xian day tour for you with hotel pickup and drop off.


A (train station, airport or hotel) - B (Terracotta Warriors) - C (Ancient City Wall) - D (Muslim Quarter) - E (Bell & Drum Towers)

Recommended Itinerary A: 1 Day Xian City Tour with Terracotta Warrior - suitable for both travelling with travel agency and solo

Set out from Xian North Railway Station / Xian Xianyang International Airport / your hotel, and transfer by private car (or tourist bus) to No. 1 attraction in Xian discover one of the greatest man-made wonders in the world – the Terracotta Warriors and Horses which was built by the first emperor of China Qin Shihuang to protect him in his afterlife. Over 8,000 life-size warriors, horses and chariots, buried in 3 pits for more than 2,000 years until uncovered by a local farmer in 1974, form an ancient military army with complete battle units of infantry, cavalry, etc. Standing in front of these figures, one can’t help being amazed not only by the ambition of Emperor Qin Shihuang but also by the fabulous artistic skills of ancient Chinese artisans. Sightsee around 2 hours at Terracotta Warriors, then go to have lunch.

After lunch, take private car (or tourist bus) to Xian downtown to continue your sightseeing. Go to the Ancient City Wall, the largest and best-preserved ancient city wall in China first where you can stroll or bike leisurely to examine this well-maintained city wall which is 12 meters high and 18 meters wide with a total circuit of nearly 14 kilometers. Nextly , 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, where the biggest and most intact Bell Tower and Drum Tower in China stands. You can go up to Bell Tower to enjoy panoramic views of the ancient capital.

After the tour, be escorted back to your hotel, or go to catch your flight or train departing Xian. Tour ends! More details at【1 Day Xian Essence Tour from $116

Recommended Itinerary B: 1 Day Mount Huashan Leisure Hike from Xian - China Discovery's private tour package

This morning, your tour guide and driver will come to your hotel to meet you, then drive about two hours to the foot of Mount Huashan.

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. Your driver will take you back to Xian.

Tips: pack some favorite foods and drinks with you because there is not much food you can buy on the mountain. More details at【4 Days Xian Essential Highlights Plus Mount Hua Day Trip


Plank Roak in the Skye on Mount Huashan

Most Important Xian Travel Notes

1. Take advantage of Xian 72-Hour Transit Visa Free

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.

2. Best Time 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 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 Xian

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.

4. Where to Stay in Xian

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.

5. A longer stay is recommended

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.

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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