There’s a good chance that you’re familiar with the Terracotta Army in Xi’an. If you’ve ever taken a history class, you’ve most likely seen pictures of the statues in your books.
The statues were built by the first emperor of the Qin Dynasty. He commissioned to have them constructed to protect his tomb and rule another empire in the afterlife.
They’re considered the most significant archeological excavation of the 20th century. 3 farmers discovered the statues in 1974!
If you’re interested in checking out one of China’s most prized possessions, read on for my tips on visiting the Terracotta Army in Xi’an!
Getting to the warriors is relatively easy to do. Located one hour outside of the city in the Museum of Qin, you have 3 main options: bus, tour, or car.
If you are looking to go independently, you can go to Xi’an’s main train station and take the green bus which will drop you off right outside the complex. The bus runs RMB7 ($1 USD) per person.
If you don’t want to take the bus, you can opt to rent a taxi for the day. A taxi is only advisable if you’ve got a larger group or else it can get a bit pricey.
If the taxi driver is left to wait around outside the complex (without having agreed to rent for the day beforehand), they are more likely to overcharge you on your ride home. Keep in mind that you can always bargain with a taxi driver when hiring one for the day.
If you’d rather have a guided tour, you can choose to book one through your hotel or hostel. A tour will help guarantee that you have an English speaking guide!
One of the most significant advantages of taking a tour is the fact that you’ll visit several other sights in the area as well. The tour also includes the old royal bath and temple.
Warning: Your driver might try to get you to stop at souvenir shops because they have the chance to earn some extra commission on sales.
There is a lot to see and do around town so if you have the chance; I’d recommend doing so. If you opt to go independently, be sure to grab a bike and explore the Xi’an wall, Muslim Street, and more.
It’s worth it!
The museum is open from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM and it will cost you RMB150 ($21 USD) per person. This price includes entry to the vaults and museum, plus the documentary film of the warriors and their excavation.
The museum contains three different pit areas organized by the order they were found. In the first pit, which is the largest, you will find the vanguard in 3 rows followed by an array of infantry and war chariots.
The second pit includes more infantry, a crossbow team, calvary, and 80 chariots. The third pit was the command post of the armed forces, and it contains 68 warriors and a chariot led by 4 horses.
Altogether it is estimated that there are currently 8,000 warriors, 130 chariots, and over 600 horses. The majority of them are still buried in the pits and have yet to be excavated and restored.
When to Go
Due to some of the experience being outside, the best time to visit is March through May or September through October as that’s when the weather is the best. If you’re looking to save a little money, the middle of November to the middle of March is low season, and the entrance fee is reduced.
During peak times, the crowds can be huge so be prepared. Before 10:00 AM and lunch time tend to have fewer tourists which means you’ll be able to enjoy the museum at your own leisurely pace.