Missing Xian - is it a mistake?

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Mar 13th, 2007, 06:27 AM
  #1
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Missing Xian - is it a mistake?

We are planning to be in China for 7 nights/8 days and planning to visit Shanghai and Beijing. We are thinking of visiting Xian in between Shanghai and Beijing by train: Shanghai/Xian, Xian/Beijing. Is seeing terracotta army worth this effort and time? Some posts say it is amazing site and some say it was a dissapointment. What it really is? Any advice/opinions are appreciated.
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Mar 13th, 2007, 06:29 AM
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Also, is there a place to leave a lugguage at Xian station for a day?
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Mar 13th, 2007, 08:09 AM
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The Warriors are amazing, don't miss them!
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Mar 13th, 2007, 08:19 AM
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I'm in the amazing camp
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Mar 13th, 2007, 09:37 AM
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Shanghai to Xian is 16 hours by the fastest train. 3 of them leave at around 4pm, another 8pm. Doing two overnight trains in a row is probably too tough on the body.

I suggest spending a little more and fly Shanghai to Xian, have a good rest at a hotel. Visit the warriors and other sites the next day, and then take overnight train to Beijing.

Whether it's a "must see"? It depends. There are so many must sees in the world, and in China alone. But you are be sure that you won't find anything even remotely similar in this universe.
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Mar 13th, 2007, 12:57 PM
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The warriors are just amazing but also the city walls in Xian are well worth a visit along with the wild goose pagoda
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Mar 14th, 2007, 03:29 AM
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Warriors OK - but for whatever reason I couldn't get MY imagination into gear there. However, the Great Mosque in Xian is very, very special.

The question really - is why bother with Shanghai?
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Mar 14th, 2007, 04:17 AM
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If this is going to be your one and only trip to China, then maybe it would be worth the time to get to Xian to see the Warriors. However, as you are only in China for a week, that time could easily be filled doing things in Beijing and Shanghai, so if you think you may go back to China, you may want to keep Xian for another trip - there is much more than the Terracotta army to see in Xian and also sights to see around Xian that I think you may need a few days there. I had 4 days in Xian, (albeit we like to take things slowly at a more relaxed leisurely pace, and see things more in depth) and there was enough for me to occupy my interest. If you are a museum type person,Xian has a couple of good museums, the Warriors were amazing and fascinating - when I gaze at and examine my photos I still get intrigued, and excited by them, and see things that I didn't notice when I looked at them in real life. There are other sites such as the city walls, Great mosque, the Muslim quarter markets, Bell and Drum tower and the Goose pagodas to see. So the time you want to spend in Xian will depend on if you just want to quickly stopoff there to see the Warriors only or would like to see more. Having said that there is also lots to see in Beijing, and Shanghai is good to visit, but probably has less of those major must see famous sites. But it has a different atmosphere to Beijing that is interesting to contrast with Beijing.
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Mar 14th, 2007, 07:30 AM
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I would definitely spend time in Xi'an in preference to Shanghai. I've been there three times now, and would still be happy to go back. While the Terracotta Warriors are certainly a must see, but as others have said, there's plenty to see in the town itself. A lot of new buildings have gone up since my first trip in 1997, but there's still atmosphere to be found off the main streets. In addition to the lists above, don't miss the Temple to the Eight Great Immortals, which had been beautifully repainted the last time I was there.

For photos from my visit there in 2001, see kwilhelm.smugmug.com/Travel/293904
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Mar 14th, 2007, 08:07 AM
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The warriors are incredible and worth the extra effort to see. We were lucky enough to meet and have our photo taken with the farmer who found the warriors which was a kick. I guess he is at the museum gift shop most days and charges to have his photo taken with you. The enormous size of the compound is what really struck me, and they are still uncovering more sites. The terra cotta warriors and horses are remarkable for their artistry and beauty considering it was such a huge and monumental endeavor. The construction of this mausoleum began in 246 BC and is believed to have taken 700,000 workers and craftsmen 38 years to complete. Very hard to grasp all the details. It's overwhelming when you are there in person. Pictures just don't do it justice.

I wouldn't miss it if I were you. Xian also has some nice sights as the others were saying.
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Mar 14th, 2007, 08:08 AM
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We found Xian amazing and for us, the the Warriors, Mosque, The Women's village and pagoda were amazing sites.

However, I would not delete Shanghai from my itinerary, but just I stay there one less day.
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Mar 14th, 2007, 09:05 AM
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i think it is a mistake but with so few days you could not possibly do justice to any of the three places if you did them all..
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Mar 15th, 2007, 07:44 AM
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Thanks everybody for advices. We do not know when we will be next time in China (there are so many great places in the world to see). Based on all your responses and travel books we read we feel that we should definitely go to Xian. But we also realy want to see Shanghai, we will just spend 1 day less there. The latest version of our itinerary looks the following:
2.5 days Shanghai
1 day Xian
3.5 days Beijing
I know it is pretty busy schedule but we are pretty experienced and active travelers, so I think should be able to manage it.
From what I read, it looks like we should be able to visit all major sights in Beijing in 3 days. What part of Great Wall would you recommend to go? Is it better to go with a guide to the Great Wall or we can do it on our own?
Thanks everybody
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Mar 15th, 2007, 09:02 AM
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There's just so much to see in China that it's hard to say whether you should go to one particular place or not.

This is like travelling to Europe for a week and visiting London and Paris, then asking if you should spend a day in Rome.

If you were to include Xian, rkkwan's suggestion is the best. Fly to Xian from Shanghai, overnight in Xian, then take the night train Xian to Beijing. Get beds in the soft sleeper carriages. Take the two upper bunks if you can climb up to them. Not only are they cheaper but you get a bit more "privacy" up there. Most soft sleepers have four bunks, but some have two. I found that sleeping on the soft sleepers was about as restful as any train travel can be. These compartments are co-ed, but don't worry, the other travellers are usually businessmen/women or government workers and they're more interested in yelling into their cell phones than in you!

In Xian, at the CITIC office right at the train station, there's a Mr Guo who helped me several years to get the rail tickets from Xian to Beijing for a charge of 50 yuan. The charge was well worth it because the Xian train station was a maze and even I couldn't find the exact kiosk that sells the Beijing tickets. You can leave your luggage with him and he or his assistant will lock your luggage in the back office for you.

I know there are some people on this board who don't like Shanghai, but I'm partial to it. Shanghai and Beijing are two totally different cities.

If you don't want to trek all the way inland to Xian, then there are plenty of other places to go that are closer to Shanghai, such as Hangchou (sorry, but writing Chinese in English doesn't come easily to me! However, it's easier than writing Chinese in Chinese - LOL!)

Have a fine trip! Wish I were coming along with you!
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Mar 15th, 2007, 09:16 AM
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Irina, One thing to keep in mind n Xian...if you want to visit the Terractta warriors, it's abut an hour drive each way with traffic, etc...So, 1 day in Xian will allow you to see the wariors and that's about it...maybe the prehistoric womens village or something as it's on the way, but probably not enough time to se much of the old city.

Mark-
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Mar 15th, 2007, 10:20 AM
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As Mark said, in order to see anything in Xi'an other than the warriors, you need to spend the night. Really, one day is enough for Shanghai - the major sights are the waterfront and the museum, plus the Yuyuan gardens if you don't mind touristy.
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Mar 16th, 2007, 10:48 AM
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Thanks, this all really helpfull. Would taking a private guide with a van in Xian help timewise? Any recommendations for a private guide/tour company?
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Mar 16th, 2007, 08:32 PM
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We had a semi private visit in China...5 of us through Yangtze cruise, then 4 for the remainder, Mongolia and Tibet.

We had small vans throughout and that did help speed things along. Still, in hindsight, I would have skipped CHengu (just stopped long enough to continue to Tibet, if necessary, I would have spent at leat 1 more day in Xian then the 3 days I spent (2 days actually due to flights.

Mark-

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Mar 17th, 2007, 10:11 AM
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A couple of years ago, I took the Golden Bridge Travel Service tour. Much smaller and much better than the CITS tour with its army of people.

Both the CITS and the Golden Bridge Travel Service were on the SECOND floor of the Bell Tower Hotel.
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Mar 17th, 2007, 11:11 PM
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I am new to this board as I have been spending the last year on the Africa board, and was just wandering around here.

I found the Warriors to be one of the highights of our trip to China. A city is a city, but this was such an amazing find that I cannot imagine missing it. As another poster said Shanghai is a bixe city not unlike most others. Bejing is spectacular with all if its amazing sites. We were there about 10 years ago and I can still feel the experience of my first few minutes viewing this site.
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