September 2, 2009 – Day 251 – Xian, China
Xian is a great place to spend the night if you want to go see the Terracotta Warriors. But there are a lot of sketchy people, a lot of poor and homeless people, and a lot of thieves.
But it is the best place for going to see the Warriors and that was the real reason we came here. We skipped the tour and just went by ourselves, which was very easy and much cheaper. If you are interested in going alone, just have a look at the Traveler’s Tip below.
Aside from the ridiculous layout of the complex and surrounding souvenirs stalls leading the entire way, seeing the Terracotta Army is pretty cool. There are 3 pits but #1 and #2 are best and accordingly, filled with photo-flashing tourists. Pit #3 is mostly still covered (but does house a few exumed warriors in glass casses) and is only a tiny exhibit whereas #1 and 2 are the real deal.
It is difficult to capture in a photo just how many warriors are in the pits. There are even more than there seems to be because of all the broken bodies of warriors and horses that have not been sorted or reconfigured into their original shape. What is really incredible is that literally every single warrior is different in face, hair style, and dress because they were made to be real representations of the Chi army
We took a bus (#306 just near our hostel, RMB 7 each) to the train station where we easily found the tourist buses (RMB 12, if I remember correctly) heading for the Terracotta Warriors. From the train station it takes a little over an hour (with many stops in between) to get to the museum/complex. The very last stop is where you will get off at, and later, also catch a bus back into Xian city. From this last stop, walk through the parking lots until you get to the ticket office. Depending on when you visit (high/low season) you will probably be directed to the “Foreigners” line. Tickets are RMB45 for students, RMB90 for adults. There is absolutely no need for a guide unless you are just dying for an incessant stream of chatter and information that is easily (and quietly) available online or if you travel with a guidebook, is probably also in there. From the area you purchase your ticket to the area where the actual pits are is maybe 10 minutes walk through a very silly maze of buildings and souvenirs stalls and a few shops. You will go through security check with a bag Xray and then another ticket check closer to the pit buildings so keep your ticket handy. The 3 pits are in seperate buildings and there is also a museum that has a separate admission fee that you can check out if you are interested (we skipped it for lack of interest so no info to give on it). The “pits” are just very large simple buildings that were constructed to shelter the Terracotta Army and you can walk around the insides, viewing from above. Very easy to navigate as you are walking around in a roughly rectangular area and then going out to the other building(s).