Saturday, October 10, 2015

Xi'an / 西安 - Terracota Warriors site

We went to Xi'an for a couple of days mostly to see the Terracota Warriors.

Once again we didn't want to take a touristy tour so we researched and took the public bus to get there. 

In fact, if you are ever there you just need to:

1. Go to the east side of the Xi'an railway station
2. Simply look for the sigh of bus (5) 306 
For only ¥7 (a little over 1 USD dollar)
This bus goes all the way to the parking lot entrance of the site.

As I said before, the Chinese holiday goes from Oct 1st to the 7th, and we happened to visit the site during this time, so it was the most crowded place I have ever seen in my life!. There was massive amounts of people just trying to buy an entrance ticket.

Then another pack of people at the actual entrance. There were no lines so it was a matter of pushing your way in.

After that, a nice walk to the site and of course another entrance to get to the actual area where the archeological pits are located. 

Once inside, it was another debacle of masses pushing their way into the pits. Depending on the size of the crowds, this can actually be kind of dangerous. To let people in, the military guards hold a rope down to keep people out. Then they lift the rope for a few seconds and there is a mad dash for the entrance. Then the rope goes back down and this process just continues. It is not uncommon for the young and elderly to get injured because of being pushed or stepped on. Literally the craziest process of crowd control that I have witnessed.

Once inside, it is difficult to get a good view of the Warriors because of all the pushing and shoving. It is so bad that we even saw two couples fist fighting!! (While we were taken a selfie)

With that being said, if you can handle the crowd, the Warriors are amazing! The details, placement and sheer amount of statues is remarkable!! 

The statues are put in order from most important to least from front to back. For example, the emporer is in front of the generals, the generals in front of the archers and so on.

One thing to keep in mind is that Chinese public bathrooms (specially at this site) are completely terrible and on top of that they usually don't have western style toilets, so I guess that's why signs like this one are necessary in case people don't know how to use the toilet ;)

On the way back the crowds leaving were the same, so this time we just took a taxi ride back, even though the driver was kinda lost and we had to keep telling him where to go, thanks to Baidu/google maps offline locator we made it to the hotel!

Xi'an has an impressive city center surrounded by walls that includes many gates lit up, temples and pagodas. These pictures give you the idea.

Also, inside the walled city you can find all kind of markets 

That also include random dogs,

And cool streets with tons of restaurants and pubs. 

Here is a funny picture of 5 Chinese waiters trying helping out with the check/bill :) 

In general all the Chinese people we met were very friendly and helpful.

It was nice to see a smaller city that is not a metropolis like Beijing or Shanghai although it seemed to have worst traffic than Beijing or Shanghai, but this was probably because of the holiday.

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