6D5N in Xi'an China
Travel Itinerary (Xi'an China):
Inside Xi'an: 西安城墙 - 钟楼鼓楼 - 回民一条街 - 大雁塔 - 小雁塔 - 大唐芙蓉园 - 大唐不夜城
Outskirts: 临潼秦兵马俑 - 华山 - 西岳庙 - 潼关黄河游览区
Day 1 - Xi'an: We arrived at Xi'an International Airport T3 via AirAsiaX around 11.45pm late night. There were plenty of cabs waiting at the arrival gate. Cab fare to downtown Xi'an was RMB160. We checked-in for three nights at Ibis Hotel Xi'an 和平路成功国际酒店 (4 stars for great location and cleanliness!).
Day 2 - Xi'an/ Lintong: Had a quick hotel breakfast and set out to explore the city! About 500m away from the hotel was the Hepingmen Gate 和平门 by which we could ascend the ancient city wall. We rented a tandem bike and individual bike for two hours and cycled around. It was a truly memorable experience. After that we walked to South Gate 南门 , crossed the road, and had lunch at the Calligraphy Street 书画院一条街 area.
After lunch, we took a bus to Railway Station 火车站广场 to take one of the many readily available No.306 buses to see the Eight Wonder of the World -- Qin Terracotta Army 秦兵马俑 at Lintong 临潼. The bus ticket cost 9 yuan per pax one way for a one-hour journey. On the way was Huaqing Hot Springs 华清池 where Lady Yang 杨贵妃 was rumoured to enjoy taking a bath there. Since we overspent time at the Terracotta Army Museum, we missed the entrance to Huaqing and also missed the 长恨歌 performance by 张艺谋 at night.
We reached the Railway Station again for dinner and then took a bus to see the Bell Tower 钟楼 and Drum Tower 鼓楼 at night. The lit-up view of the two towers at night was awesome. After that we spent some time shopping at the big malls near the Bell Tower.
Day 3 - Xi'an: Took No.30 bus from hotel to visit the Big Wild Goose Pagoda 大雁塔. Once we alighted from the bus stop there was a 'illegal' travel cab lady that offered us a ride around the area for 20 yuan for our group of 3. What a sweet deal! She drove us around the pagoda, the boulevard of statues built during the Tang Dynasty, jade horses, Qujiang River, explained some brief history to us and took pictures for us. But after that she took us for a quick visit to two jade-selling outlets to buy some Xi'an specialty jade 蓝田玉. Well it was not that expensive so mom and I each bought a jade bracelet 芙蓉玉/蓝田玉 and my dad bought a jade pillow as souvenirs. To end the 'tour', we had the lady drop us at a nearby noodle restaurant for lunch. Then we proceeded to watch the musical fountain and the ancient 7-story pagoda built during the Tang Dynasty.
In the afternoon, we took a cab from our hotel to the Xi'an North High-Speed Railway Station 西安北高铁站 but all the tickets to Huashan were sold out for Sunday evening!!! (Travel tip: purchase your tickets earlier to avoid disappointment!) The earliest tickets was at 6.24am the next morning (~RMB160 total). We didn't want to take a cab all the way back to the city area so we got adventurous and took up an offer to stay at a 宾馆 (something like Airbnb apartment) nearby (RMB120). Well at least the apartment was clean and had hot water and I managed to watch two episodes of 秦时丽人明月心 on the 小米盒子! :D
Day 4- HuaShan: Hello 西岳华山! Known as the "Most Precipitous Mountain Under The Sky" 奇险天下第一山 our mission today was to conquer all the five peaks of Huashan Mountain! Our hotel helped us to purchase all the double-way tickets for the bus rides to the cable car station, cable car, and entrance ticket to Huashan. It cost RMB1410 for the three of us. After a rice and dumpling breakfast at the hotel, we bought some bread and milk, and spent our entire day slowly hiking and admiring the mountain!
Mount Huashan consists of five main peaks - North 北峰, South 南峰, East 东峰, West 西峰 and Central 中锋. Other than hiking all the way up from the base station, there are two popular routes via cable car - 西上北下 or 北上西下. We took the first route via cableway up the West Peak and down the North Peak (西上北下). From West Peak cableway station (西峰索道), one can traverse the West, South, East, Central peaks and then walk downhill for one hour to reach the North Peak (北峰索道). I highly recommend this route because it is easier to walk downhill for one hour rather than walking uphill for two hours. And conserve energy because conquering the five peaks alone is a seriously uphill task (pun intended).
Day 5- HuaShan/ Tongguan / Xi'an: Today we booked a cab to take us 20km away to Tongguan 潼关 to see the majestic Yellow River 黄河. The taxi tour cost us RMB200 in total. It was a rainy day and we were glad to have a driver take us to all the destinations we wanted to see that day. At Tongguan, we also visited The House of Mr. Know-It-All 四知先生纪念馆. Back to Huashan area we visited the Xiyue Temple 西岳庙 which is a majestic old temple/ imperial inn which the Tang Dynasty emperor used to spend the night after visiting Mount Huashan. We arrived back at the Huashan North High-Speed Railway Station 华山北高铁站 just in time to take the 12.24pm train back to Xi'an. Another near-calamity moment occured when I almost left behind my camera bag and dropped my neck pillow at the Railway Station.
Back in Xi'an, it was still raining so we went to indulge ourselves at 海底捞火锅店 steamboat restaurant at Big Wild Goose Pagoda Square. This restaurant offers so many additional services like free fruits, sauces, nuts, sweet tea, free manicure and shoe polishing service, child play area, free raincoat and even sanitary pad! Lunch cost RMB270. After that we strolled in the rain to a nearby shopping mall 金鹰 Golden Eagle.
Day 6- Xi'an: This was the last day of our trip. We went for a local breakfast and souvenir hunting at Muslim Quarters 回民一条街. After that we spent the rest of the day exploring the grounds of 大唐芙蓉园 Tang Paradise and stayed for the 5pm show 梦回大唐 Dream of Tang Dynasty. For dinner, we ate at the seafood restaurant opposite Tang Paradise. We were lucky that the 阳澄湖大闸蟹 hairy crabs were in season! Dinner cost us RMB232 for the crabs, duck tongue, black chicken soup, tofu and beer.
That was the end of our trip as we took a cab back to our hotel, grabbed our luggage as the cab waited, and went straight to the airport to wait for our flight at 12.15am midnight. Cab fare cost us RMB150.
Total expenditure for 6D5N inclusive flight tickets is about RM2400 per pax.