Xian Attractions

Sep 3rd, 2004, 11:11 AM
  #1  
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Xian Attractions

We will be in Xian for approximately two days in October. What attractions would you recommend seeing besides Terra Cotta warriors?
sanshe is offline  
Sep 4th, 2004, 04:18 AM
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Oh - no doubt about it - the great mosque. Beautiful in itself, and amazing to consider the connex between cultures so long ago.
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Sep 4th, 2004, 06:31 AM
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Without a doubt, the Muslim Quarter of Xi'an. One of the most fascinating places I've ever been. Get there at dusk, when all the street grills are fired up, all the people walking down the pedestrian street, eating, shopping, gossiping, bargaining, everything is open -some of the best shopping bargains, (jade and antique procelain) some of the best street food (perfectly grilled fresh fish with pita bread) are to be found here-and, surprisingly, the Chinese Muslims here, for the most part, speak better English than I encountered anywhere in my trip!
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Sep 10th, 2004, 06:45 PM
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OK the Muslim Quarter it is and thanks to both of you for your input. Sorry it took me so long to respond. I'm from Florida and we're busy battling hurricanes down here, but in between I'm still planning our trip to China next month (where I hear they're battling floods!).
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Sep 11th, 2004, 03:00 PM
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etk
 
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Yes on the Muslim Quarter. I enjoyed the Shaanxi Museum. The water fountains/park next the Goose Pagoda are sort of cool, may not be operating in Oct ?
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Sep 13th, 2004, 12:34 PM
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Spygirl - Given things I've heard about less than spotless "facilities" in China, especially more rural areas like Xian, what foods are safe to eat from street vendors? Same Q with street vendors in Guilin, Beijing, and Shanghai. Your Muslim Quarter description here sounds wonderful.
Sahshe - we'll be there 2 days in October also. Good luck in your travels - Claire
claire_david is offline  
Sep 13th, 2004, 06:36 PM
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I usually don't use tourguides, but I cautiously arranged one for the Terra Cotta Warriors last month, for my family of 4 -- Clarence Guo, who has a web site (can be Googled), and who years ago used to post on this site to gain exposure. The cost was only about 50% more than arrangements would have been on our own, especially given the new exhorbitant ticket prices for the warriors, and we wound up feeling Clarence was well worth the price. He did a good job for us, picking us up at 9 at the Sheraton and delivering us home at about 5PM. He took us to the Warriors, then to a nice lunch, and the highlight of the day was a trip to a village afterwards, where people have lived in caves for centuries (though they are beginning to move out into adjacent houses). He has relations with a number of families in the area, rotating his visits so no one site gets overexposed to tourists. The people are curious about why we would want to see where they live, but we found them gracious and friendly. In fact, this village visit was a highlight of our entire 3 week trip, especially for my kids. He also took us to Ba Xian'an Monastery, a little east of the walls, on the way back. This Daoist temple was a gem, one of the nicest sites in Xian.

Other than that, I concur with others who note that the Mosque and adjacent shopping alleys are very interesting. In retrospect, we could have gotten vitually every kind of knick-knack or keepsafe there, that we wound up seeing throughout our trip in different cities -- at decent prices (after fierce bargaining, of course!)

All in all, however, Xian was not a favorite city, owing to the severe smog. We stayed 3 nights, which was just right -- a day for the Warriors trip, then another to wander on our own.

The street food in Xian, as everywhere we went, looked very appealing to me (less so to my more picky family). However, given my medical background, I figured it was better to play it safe, and we all avoided eating anything from stands. Although this probably helped keep us all healthy, I'm a little sorry I wasn't more adventurous on this score, because I suspect the hygiene in some of the restaurants where we ate was probably no better than many of the stands -- because the restaurant employees obviously knew very little about hygiene issues, and I rather doubt that public health officials keep the restaurants up to any high standards.

There may be other ways to see the cave dwellings near Xian, but if you are interested you can see pictures of the village and caves on Clarence's website. Of course, we found kids living in the caves, of approximately the same ages as my own children, who found it very hard to believe that people could be living under such very different conditions from our own.
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