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Terra Cotta Warriors

Self proclaimed as the "eighth wonder of the world," the unearthed Terra Cotta Warriors are at the tomb of Emperor Qin Shi Huang, which is located a short distance northeast of Xi'an, China. A visit is indeed worthwhile if only to appreciate the magnitude of the burial site of China's first emperor. At the combination archeological site and museum, you can view reconstructed warriors up close and in their original setting.

Here are our suggestions:

  • Catch the green city bus (#306) across the street from the Xi'an train station The bus looks like (because it is) a regular bus rather than a tourist bus. It only makes about 10 stops on the way, with the final stop being your destination. The bus is very inexpensive (6 Yuan each way) and does not force you into visits to stores, factories, and other tourist traps that are a standard part of the tourist bus trips. If you are so inclined, you can get off the bus at Huaqing Hot Springs on the way out of town and then pay a new fare to reboard the bus and continue on to the Warriors. Bus fare is collected by the ticket girl on the bus.
  • Professional guides are available for hire at the Warrior site, but they are not really necessary as similar information can be gleaned from guide books, the introductory film, and posted signs. If you do hire a guide, first test their command of English and then negotiate on the length and cost of the tour. After we rejected their initial prices, we got prices of about $5.00 (USD) for a 90 minute tour.
  • Between the parking lot and the entrance gate, you'll find a large, bustling street market selling fruit (the site is in the middle of a pomegranite orchard) and collectibles. Bargain hard (as most booths sell similar goods) and let the buyer be ware.
  • The actual site is set back a considerable distance from the entrance gate, so pay the small fee for the round trip tram ride unless you have plenty of time and energy.
  • Once at the pits, view the free movie first. It is a bit old fashion (it predates I-Max, so it is a movie in the round using multiple screens) and dramatic (a lot of recreated war scenes), but it will give you a good overview of what you will be seeing and explain how the site was built, destroyed, and rediscovered.
  • Begin your tour of the pits by visiting pit #1 first, exiting pit #1 in the rear and going to pit #3, then pit #2, and then stopping by the museum to see the two miniature chariots and horses on your way out.

Sample Itinerary
Half Day Visit: Catch the #306 bus from the Xi'an train station (runs every 10 minutes). Bring food or plan to eat before/after visit. Allow 4-5 hours for travel and to explore the site

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