Xi’an is famous for housing the self proclaimed 8th Wonder of the World, The Terra-Cotta Warriors. But if you are traveling independently and don’t want to catch a large bus filled with tourists that stop off at jade houses along the way, you don’t have too many options. Thankfully we read the Lonely Planet section on Xi’an. THe section is filled with good detail and explanations of how to get to places and food recommendations (Beijing chapter was not useful).
As advised by the book we went to the train station in search of a little green bus no. 915. On one side was a number of little buses… taxis, people, and lots of cars. In these situations you start thin king “What the hell are we doing?”. We then wandered through the myriad of people to the other side of the carpark, where we could see a number of buses. In between there was a green bus with Xi’an – Terra Cotta Warriors on the side, and we were ushered on. Yeah! we made it. The trip there took about an hour and cost 7 yuan (<$1.50), only pensioners get it this good back in Australia. What a bargain… why pay any more? For lunch again we followed the book and tried the local places to eat – great noodles. But beware, the drinks (beer and juice) cost more than the food itself).
Entry to the warriors was $90 yuan ($18 Aust. dollars) each, which seems pretty standard. Again we followed the book, and made sure we viewed the film, visited the exhibition hall, before actually any of the pits. The number of tourists at the site was large, but that was nothing compared to actually seeing the warriors in situ. There are three pits, the third is the smallest, and the location of the bronzed chariots. We thought pit 3 was big…. but by the time you get to pit 1 you are truely amazed and staggered by the number of warriors, the detail and workman ship in each one. They are still unearthing (even while tourists are visiting) and will be for many years to come.
Afterwards we managed to cross the road (if you saw the traffic/road you would understand), and catch the green bus back to the city. Surprisingly enough it was the exact same bus, with the same driver and conductor…. from four hours previous. This is amazing given they don’t run to a timetable. It was certainly a great cheap day out.