red and brown temple at nighttime

Xian Xploration: Top 10 Unmissable Experiences in China’s Ancient Capital!

Greetings, fellow travelers! Journeying Jack here, back with another exciting edition of Suitcase Stories. Today, I’m thrilled to share with you my latest adventure in the enchanting city of Xian, China. As one of the oldest cities in the country, Xian is a treasure trove of history, culture, and mouthwatering cuisine. To help you make the most of your visit, I’ve compiled a list of the top 10 things to do in Xian that you simply cannot miss. So, buckle up and join me as we explore the top 10 things to do Xian, and uncover the magic that awaits in this ancient city.

Unveiling the Terracotta Warriors

If you’re visiting Xian, the Terracotta Warriors are a must-see attraction and definitely one of the top 10 things to do in Xian. This UNESCO World Heritage site is one of the most significant archaeological discoveries of the 20th century.

The Terracotta Warriors are a collection of life-size sculptures depicting the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China. The warriors were buried with the emperor in 210–209 BCE to protect him in the afterlife. The site was discovered in 1974 by local farmers and has since become a popular tourist destination.

Visitors can explore three pits filled with thousands of warriors, horses, and chariots. Each warrior is unique, with different facial expressions, hairstyles, and clothing. The level of detail is incredible, and it’s fascinating to see how each warrior was crafted with such precision.

To fully appreciate the Terracotta Warriors, it’s recommended to hire a guide who can provide historical context and explain the significance of each pit. You can also watch a short film about the discovery of the site before entering the pits.

Make sure to allocate enough time to explore the site thoroughly. It’s easy to spend a few hours here, especially if you’re interested in history and archaeology.

Pro tip: The Terracotta Warriors can get crowded, so it’s best to visit early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the crowds.

In conclusion, visiting the Terracotta Warriors is a must-do activity in Xian and should be on everyone’s top 10 things to do in Xian list. The site is a testament to China’s rich history and is a fascinating glimpse into the past.

Xian for 2 days

Exploring the Ancient City Wall

If you’re looking for a unique way to experience Xian, exploring the ancient city wall is a must-do activity. This is one of the top 10 things to do in Xian, and for good reason. The wall is over 600 years old and is the most complete city wall that has survived in China.

Rent a Bike and Ride Along the Wall

One of the best ways to explore the wall is by renting a bike and riding along the top. The entire wall is 13.7 kilometers long, so it’s a great way to get some exercise while taking in the stunning views of the city. You can rent a bike at the South Gate or the East Gate.

Take a Stroll Along the Wall

If biking isn’t your thing, you can also take a leisurely stroll along the wall. There are plenty of spots to stop and take in the views, and you can even grab a snack or a drink at one of the many vendors along the way.

Visit the Watchtowers

The wall has 98 watchtowers, and each one offers a unique perspective of the city. Some of the towers have been turned into museums, so you can learn more about the history of the wall and the city of Xian.

Enjoy the Sunset

One of the best times to visit the wall is in the evening when the sun is setting. The views are absolutely breathtaking, and it’s a great way to end a day of exploring the city.

Exploring the ancient city wall is definitely one of the top 10 things to do in Xian. Whether you choose to rent a bike, take a stroll, or visit the watchtowers, you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience.

Xian for 3 days

Delving into the Muslim Quarter

If you’re looking for a unique cultural experience in Xian, the Muslim Quarter is a must-visit destination. This vibrant neighborhood is home to a large Muslim community and is filled with bustling markets, delicious food, and historic landmarks.

Explore the Markets

One of the top 10 things to do in Xian is to explore the markets in the Muslim Quarter. The streets are lined with vendors selling everything from traditional clothing and jewelry to spices and souvenirs. Be sure to haggle for the best prices and try some of the local snacks like lamb skewers and roujiamo (a type of Chinese hamburger).

Visit the Great Mosque

The Great Mosque is a stunning example of Islamic architecture and is one of the oldest and largest mosques in China. It was built during the Tang Dynasty and has been expanded and renovated over the centuries. Visitors can explore the beautiful courtyards, prayer halls, and gardens.

Try the Local Cuisine

The Muslim Quarter is known for its delicious food, which is a blend of Chinese and Middle Eastern flavors. Some of the must-try dishes include yangrou paomo (a hearty lamb soup), biangbiang noodles (thick, hand-pulled noodles), and pomegranate juice.

Learn about the History

The Muslim Quarter has a rich history that dates back to the Tang Dynasty. It was an important center of trade and commerce along the Silk Road and was home to many foreign merchants and travelers. Today, visitors can learn about the area’s history at the Shaanxi History Museum and the Xian Museum.


The Muslim Quarter is a fascinating and vibrant neighborhood that offers a unique glimpse into Xian’s rich cultural heritage. Whether you’re interested in history, food, or shopping, there’s something for everyone in this bustling district. Don’t miss out on one of the top 10 things to do in Xian and add the Muslim Quarter to your itinerary.

Xian for 4 days

Marveling at the Big Wild Goose Pagoda

If you’re looking for a cultural experience in Xian, visiting the Big Wild Goose Pagoda is a must-do on your list of top 10 things to do Xian. This ancient Buddhist temple was built during the Tang Dynasty and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The pagoda stands at an impressive height of 64 meters and has seven floors. Visitors can climb to the top for a breathtaking view of the city. The pagoda is surrounded by a beautiful park, which is perfect for a leisurely stroll or a picnic.

Inside the pagoda, you’ll find a collection of Buddhist artifacts and relics. The walls are adorned with intricate murals and carvings, which are a testament to the skill of the Tang Dynasty craftsmen.

If you’re lucky, you might even catch a traditional Chinese music performance or a Buddhist ceremony during your visit. The Big Wild Goose Pagoda is a great place to learn about Chinese culture and history.

Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the stunning architecture and beautiful surroundings. Marveling at the Big Wild Goose Pagoda is an experience you won’t want to miss during your trip to Xian.

So, make sure to add this attraction to your list of top 10 things to do Xian and immerse yourself in the rich history and culture of China.

Xian for 5 days

Journeying through the Shaanxi History Museum

If you’re looking for a cultural experience in Xian, the Shaanxi History Museum is a must-visit destination on your list of top 10 things to do Xian. This museum is home to over 370,000 artifacts that showcase the rich history of the Shaanxi province.

Explore the Exhibits

The museum is divided into three main exhibition halls: the General Exhibition Hall, the Temporary Exhibition Hall, and the East Exhibition Hall. The General Exhibition Hall is the largest and features artifacts from prehistoric times to the Qing Dynasty. The Temporary Exhibition Hall showcases rotating exhibits, while the East Exhibition Hall focuses on the history of the Silk Road.

Learn about the History of Shaanxi

The Shaanxi History Museum is a great place to learn about the history of the Shaanxi province. The exhibits cover a wide range of topics, including the Qin Dynasty, the Han Dynasty, and the Tang Dynasty. You can also learn about the history of the Silk Road and the role that Shaanxi played in its development.

Admire the Artifacts

The museum’s collection includes a wide range of artifacts, including pottery, jade, bronze, and gold. Some of the most impressive artifacts include the Terracotta Warriors and Horses, which were discovered in 1974 near the tomb of Emperor Qin Shi Huang.

Practical Information

The Shaanxi History Museum is open from 8:30 am to 6:00 pm every day except Monday. Admission is free, but you need to get a ticket at the entrance. The museum is located in the southern suburb of Xian, and you can get there by taking bus 5, 19, 24, 27, 30, 34, 400, 401, 500, 501, 521, 527, 701, 710, 720, 800, 900, 910, or 920.

In conclusion, the Shaanxi History Museum is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in the history and culture of Xian. With its impressive collection of artifacts and exhibits, it’s no wonder that it’s one of the top 10 things to do Xian.

Xian for 6 days

Venturing into the Huaqing Hot Springs

If you’re looking for a unique and relaxing experience in Xian, the Huaqing Hot Springs should definitely be on your list of top 10 things to do Xian. Located at the foot of the Lishan Mountain, the hot springs have been a popular destination for centuries, attracting emperors, poets, and travelers alike.

History and Legend

The Huaqing Hot Springs have a rich history dating back to the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD). According to legend, the hot springs were discovered by Emperor Xuanzong and his concubine Yang Guifei, who would often visit the springs to relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery. Today, visitors can still see the ruins of the Tang Dynasty palace and gardens that once surrounded the hot springs.

Soak in the Hot Springs

One of the main attractions of the Huaqing Hot Springs is, of course, the hot springs themselves. The water is said to have healing properties and is rich in minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Visitors can soak in the hot springs and enjoy the beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and gardens.

Explore the Gardens

In addition to the hot springs, the Huaqing Hot Springs also feature beautiful gardens that are worth exploring. The gardens are designed in the traditional Chinese style and feature ponds, pavilions, and bridges. Visitors can stroll through the gardens and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere.

Watch the Cultural Show

If you’re interested in Chinese history and culture, be sure to catch the cultural show at the Huaqing Hot Springs. The show features traditional music, dance, and costumes, and tells the story of Emperor Xuanzong and Yang Guifei.

Tips for Visiting

  • The Huaqing Hot Springs can get crowded, especially during peak tourist season. Try to visit early in the morning or later in the afternoon to avoid the crowds.
  • Wear comfortable shoes as there is a lot of walking involved.
  • Bring a swimsuit and towel if you plan on soaking in the hot springs.
  • Don’t forget your camera! The Huaqing Hot Springs offer some of the most beautiful views in Xian.

Venturing into the Huaqing Hot Springs is a must-do activity when visiting Xian. With its rich history, beautiful gardens, and relaxing hot springs, it’s no wonder why it’s one of the top 10 things to do Xian.

Xian for 7 days

In conclusion, the top 10 things to do Xian offer a diverse and enriching experience for any traveler. From the ancient history of the Terracotta Warriors to the bustling Muslim Quarter, Xian is a city that truly has something for everyone. As Journeying Jack, I can confidently say that these top 10 things to do Xian will leave you with unforgettable memories and a deeper appreciation for China’s rich culture and history.

So, whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or just someone looking for a unique adventure, the top 10 things to do Xian are sure to satisfy your wanderlust. Don’t forget to share your own Suitcase Stories with friends and family, and let them know about the incredible experiences that await them in Xian. After all, the top 10 things to do Xian are just the beginning of the countless treasures this city has to offer. Happy travels!

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