China was probably one of the most overwhelming, yet surprising places I have visited thus far. There is without a doubt an endless amount of things see and do in the People’s Republic of China. Since moving to Asia, I have traveled to the mainland quite a few times and with every visit, it still continues to astonish me in a unique way. From the smoggy streets of Beijing to the glistening skyscrapers of Shanghai, it’s a country full of sightly contrasts, immense development, and historical grandeur. Even after all my visits, I have yet to even touch the surface of this vast country. Beyond Beijing and Shanghai lies a plethora of vast rice terraces, green forests, grand mountains, barren deserts, ancient villages, along with a few other mega cities.
Located in Central China lies the ancient city of Xi’an..
Xi’an is more than 3,000 years old and was the ancient home to 13 dynasties and 73 emperors. Today, many remnants of these powerful dynasties can still be found. Unlike the cities of Beijing and Shanghai, the roots of skyscrapers have yet to start spreading in Xi’an. Thus, the city of Xi’an tends to feel more intimate and more at home with its rich and historical culture. The amount of treasures that can be found in and around the city are tremendous.
Xi’an is most famous for the Terracotta Warriors; a collection of sculptures depicting the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China. These sculptures were buried with the emperor to protect him in the afterlife. Wandering amongst these ancient wonders was a neat experience, but there is so much more to explore in Xi’an than the popular Terracotta Warriors.
From Mount Hua to the ancient city wall, there is plenty to see and do. I found that the best way to explore the city was by bicycle. There are plenty of rental shops located in the city, including one on the city wall. From here you can bike along the wall and explore as much of Xi’an as you can. The Ancient Bell Tower and Wild Goose Pagoda are only a short bike ride away from the wall itself.
I really enjoyed my time in Xi’an. There is a very different feel in Xi’an when compared to Beijing and Shanghai. The pace of life is slower and I found it be a refreshing change from the madness that comes with a major city. If you have time, I highly recommend adding Xi’an to you itinerary when traveling throughout China.