Temple of the Eight Immortals (11:00-13:00)
Located on Changle Fang Street in the eastern suburb of Xi’an; Temple of the Eight Immortals is the biggest Taoist temple in Xi’an. Taoism is the philosophy or religion that we should all live in harmony (the yin and yang), and you certainly get a harmonious feeling as you wonder through this beautiful and vibrant temple.
Spinach noodles! (13:00-14:00)
Spinach noodles are a traditional meal in this region and we found the best place to try them right in front of our hostel (Han Tang Inn)! Spinach noodles are quite self-explanatory, they’re noodles made of spinach! But don’t fear if you don’t like spinach, because these noodles taste more like spaghetti and were super delicious! It made a lovely change to eat something that wasn’t rice or plain noodles.
Ming Dynasty City Walls – Bike Ride (14:30-15:30)
The Xi’an city walls surround the centre of the city and is 14km (8.5miles) long. It was built in 1370 due to orders from the first emperor of the Ming dynasty. His aim was to unify the other states, while fortifying Xi’an. Royalty lived inside the wall, while peasants lived outside. There are four main gates to enter, which were all protected by weaponry and soldiers, however now the wall is open to public.
You can walk or rent bikes on the wall, which is what Ben and I did. We rented a tandem bike and had a lot of fun racing round the wall and exploring the awesome architecture. Cycling the wall usually takes around 2 hours, but us, being the energetic couple we are, sped through, so much so, that it only took us 55 minutes to cycle 14km! Of course, you can take as much time as you need and stop for photos and drinks along the way, but with our tandem bike I could sit on the back taking pics, while Ben did all the hard work!
Bell-Drum Towers and Muslim Quarter (17:00-22:00)
The Drum Tower is located northwest of the Bell Tower of Xi’an, both of them are called the ‘sister buildings’. In ancient China, the drums were used to signal the running of time and on occasion were used to signal an emergency and the bell simply, marks the centre of the capital.
While you’re here you can eat, shop and eat and shop in the Muslim Quarter! This place is famous for having about ten mosques, including the Great Mosque, however we decided to skip this and just experience the hustle of one of the busiest markets in the world. They sell hundreds of souvenirs and fake goods, but make sure you don’t pay any more than 200rmb for anything! The food streets are also insanely busy but it’s great for trying out interestingly weird tastes!
Terracotta Army (full day)
This was one of my highlights from Xi’an, having learnt so much about this in history, it was a very surreal experience. I would highly recommend getting the headsets which teach you everything you need to know while you wonder around. You should also visit the gift shop at the start, as the farmer, who found the terracotta warriors buried in his land, was there selling his book, something that I certainly didn’t expect! There are many different sections of the museum; you can see how the workers dig and rebuild the warriors, you can learn what the various stances of the warriors represent and the most incredible part is seeing the thousands of warriors and horses lined up in front of you – definitely leave this bit till last!