"Hello Moon!"
He claimed you could
see the moon for 10 RMB
We booked via ctrip (can book online and get your tickets delivered or pick them up at the airport) and flew to the ancient capital of Xian [ 西安 = Xī'ān ] from Beijing as train tickets were all full. It was a much welcomed break from the unpleasantness of Bejing, with plenty to see! We spent 4 days there and were never bored. The outskirts of the city might look like a dump, but the city itself should not disappoint. Make sure you swing by the Muslim Quarter and try some food there!
Unearth a terracotta warrior
by chipping away the plaster!
Best souvenir ever!
Xian City Wall ( map )
Rent a bike (40 RMB) / tandem (80 RMB) for 100 minutes, which will be enough time to go around the rectangular 13 km ancient city wall and get a fabulous view of the city. It was so much fun! One of our best experiences in China! Highly recommended.
Terracotta Army / Emperor Qinshihuang's Mausoleum Museum
[ 兵马俑 ] ( map )
8:30 am – 5 pm  |  120-150 RMB
You can't come to Xian without seeing the 210 BC Terracotta Army, whether you're interested in it or not. There are 3 pits with quite a few uncovered terracotta soldiers and horses, some intact and others broken. The presentation is not the best and it tends to be very crowded so lower your expectations.
Gao Family Mansion [ 高家大院 = GāoJiāDàYuàn ] ( map )
Wander around a Ming Dynasty scholar's gorgeous courtyard home. Pay extra to watch a Chinese shadow puppets show [ 皮影戏 = PíYǐngXì ]. You can also sample tea here. Open even at night.
Han Yang Ling Mausoleum [ 汉阳陵 = HànYángLíng ] ( map )
20 km north of Xian, this burial place of Emperor Jing (188-141 BC), the fourth emperor of the Western Han Dynasty [ 西漢 = XīHàn ], is now a dimly-lit but very well-represented museum with very few tourists. Walk on glass directly over ancient grave goods — a little creepy but very interesting. You can also watch a cool 3-D projection show in Chinese.
The Great Mosque of Xian
[ 西安大清真寺 = Xī'ānDàQīngZhēnSì ] ( map )
the oldest mosque in China that looks like a beautiful Chinese temple. The Muslim Quarter [ 回民街 = HuíMíngJiē ] around here has great food and lots of shops.
Giant Wild Goose Pagoda [ 大雁塔 = DàyànTǎ ] ( map )
8 am – 6 pm  |  50 RMB
Great fountain out front with the pagoda in the background yielded some impressive photos. You need to pay to get into the pagoda itself — you can see the surrounding area from up top which was nice enough but we didn't think it was really worth going in.
Tang Dynasty Show [ 唐乐宫 ] official site ( map | reviews )
8:30 pm – 9:40 pm  |  220 RMB dance show only [ 仿唐乐舞表演 ]
A show with actors wearing Tang Dynasty style clothes dancing and playing old Chinese instruments in a live orchestra. We thought it was a fairly entertaining way to spend an evening. You can have dinner there too but it's quite pricey.
Stele Forest / Xi'an Beilin Museum [ 碑林 = BēiLín ] ( map )
8 am – 5:30 pm  |  50-75 RMB
Lots of old stone tables carved with poetry and pictures. Unless you're particularly interested in them, it's probably not worth going despite its seemingly impressive name.

super hard kanji, a noodle dish

whimsical traffic light man