Friday, 10 October 2014

China: Xi'an

After a 4 hour train journey on the famous bullet train, we finally arrived in Xi'an! Usually this trip would have taken about 20 hours on an overnight sleeper train, but thanks to the bullet train which travelled at 310 kmph (and Sporcle for keeping us entertained), we got there in no time.

Shuyuan Hostel, Xi'an

We didn't have much luck with the weather in Xi'an, it rained probably 85% of the time. However, this didn't dampen our fun! First up we visited the Bell Tower which was built in 1384 during the early Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644). It is a symbol of the city which marks the geographical centre of the ancient city. A few minutes walk from here is the Drum Tower. In ancient times, each city would have had a Bell Tower and a Drum Tower as a way of keeping time. The bell would be rung at dawn to mark the beginning of the day and the drum beat at night to mark the end. If you enter the Bell Tower (¥35) you can get a panoramic view of the city. Views from the Drum Tower overlook the Muslim Quarter. 

Next we visited The Temple of Eight Immortals which is the biggest Tao Temple in Xi'an (¥3). This was an amazing experience as it is still a very active temple with people praying and burning incense. 

As controversial as it may be, we decided not to visit the Terracotta Warriors whilst in Xi'an. We spoke to numerous people at our hostel, all of which were very underwhelmed by the experience - at a cost of ¥150! We visited the Shaanxi Province History Museum (free entry with passport) where we learned a lot about how China has developed over its entire history throughout each Dynasty. There was a large section of the museum dedicated to the Terracotta Warriors where they even had some on display. This was enough for us as we didn't feel we would gain very much from visiting the site itself.

Here are a few of our favourite pictures from our time in Xi'an

The Bell Tower
Having Fun with the Locals  
Standard Chinese Child in the Background!
Giant Wild Goose Pagoda

Sarah Becoming Mulan
The Temple of the Eight Immortals
Burning Incense at the Temple
Bridge at the Temple
Exploring the Market in the Muslim Quarter

The Happy Wanderers 

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