• We returned from our holiday last Wednesday and I just wanted to say a big thank you for organising our tours in Beijing last week.
  • Thank you for making possible an enjoyable trip for us. We learnt about Shanghai’s people, history and culture.
  • I am writing to you to thank you very much for our wonderful trip to Xian. The tour that you organised was fantastic.
Shanghai Sights and Sounds
Terracotta Warriors Museum

Terracotta Warriors Museum

See the iconic terracotta soldiers that were created to guard the tomb of an ancient emperor. Although they are some of the most photographed statues in the world, nothing prepares you for seeing the Terracotta Warriors in real life. Stretching as far as the eye can see in their regimented rows, the stone soldiers are an arresting sight, and an impressive example of the scope of human capabilities. Ever since the warriors were unearthed by peasant farmers in 1974, they have captured the world’s imagination, and attracted countless visitors to admire them.

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Although they are some of the most photographed statues in the world, nothing prepares you for seeing the Terracotta Warriors in real life. Stretching as far as the eye can see in their regimented rows, the stone soldiers are an arresting sight, and an impressive example of the scope of human capabilities. Ever since the warriors were unearthed by peasant farmers in 1974, they have captured the world’s imagination, and attracted countless visitors to admire them.

This huge model army was constructed as part of the burial site of Emperor Qin Shihuang. During his reign, Shihuang became the first emperor of a unified China, and was renowned for his cruel, tyrannous ways. On taking the throne in 246 BC at the tender age of 13, he immediately commissioned his mausoleum, which took 11 years to complete. On his death, he was interred with nearly 8,000 stone warriors, plus model horses, chariots, and weapons of war.

After the site was discovered in 1974, a museum was built to display and study the warriors. The artefacts are spread over 16,300 square meters, separated into three sections. The largest, Pit One, was opened to the public in 1971 and contains most of the warriors. Pit Two holds over 1,000 cavalry and infantry warriors and was unveiled in 1994. The third pit is thought to be the army’s command post, and contains high ranking officials and their chariot. The museum was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987, and is one of the most visited attractions in China.

The memory of these noble warriors and their trusty horses will stay in your mind long after you’ve left Xian.

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Huaqing Hot Springs

Huaqing Hot Springs

Bask in the tranquil atmosphere of an imperial bathing complex, and admire a statue of the most beautiful woman in ancient China at these beautiful hot springs and their adjoining palace. The scenic Huaqing Hot Springs and Palace lie at the northern foot of Mount Li, about 30 kilometers from Xian. The site was first used as an imperial bathing site in the reign of Emperor You of the Western Zhou Dynasty (1100 – 771 BC), and a palace was built around it. A succession of emperors added to it, but it was Emperor Xuanzong of the Tang Dynasty who made it what it is today.

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Bask in the tranquil atmosphere of an imperial bathing complex, and admire a statue of the most beautiful woman in ancient China at the Huaqing Hot Springs and Palace.

The scenic Huaqing Hot Springs and Palace lie at the northern foot of Lishan (Mount Li), about 30 kilometers outside of Xian. The site was first used as an imperial bathing site in the reign of Emperor You of the Western Zhou Dynasty (1100 – 771 BC), and a palace was built around it. A succession of emperors added to it, but it was Emperor Xuanzong of the Tang Dynasty who made it great. He spent huge amounts of money on a series of pavilions, pools and halls, and used it to honor his concubine Yang Guifei, one of the four great beauties of ancient China. The site is now a national cultural relic, and one of the country’s 100 famous gardens.

As you enter the palace grounds between two majestic cedar trees, you are greeted by two symmetrical plunge pools and the Nine Dragon Lake. This 5,300 square meter artificial lake is filled with fragrant lotus flowers. Reflected in its water is a white marble statue of Yang Guifei in all her glory. Also flanking the lake is the Hall of the Flying Frost, which was the bedroom of Emperor Xuanzong and his concubine, along with Yinchun and Chengxiang Halls. 

In the Huan Garden you’ll see the Lotus Pavilion, the Viewing Lake Tower, the Flying Rainbow Bridge, Flying Glow Hall, and the Hall of the Five Rooms. According to legend, Flying Glow Hall was Yang Guifei’s favorite spot to cool down and admire the scenery. The Five-Room Hall dates from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), and was used by the Dowager Empress Cixi to shelter from enemies in 1900. Chiang Kai-shek, the leader of the Chinese Nationalist Party, also sought refuge here during times of political turmoil.  

A trip to the stunning Hot Springs Palace will give you an insight into the luxuries of Imperial China, and provide a break from the buzz of the city.

Muslim Quarter

Muslim Quarter

Immerse yourself in Xian’s atmospheric Islamic quarter, and try a “Muslim hamburger”. Xian’s Muslim population is descended directly from Middle Eastern merchants who arrived on the Silk Road. Members of the modern-day Hui ethnic minority live in a thriving, close-knit community centered around the Drum Tower. The main street running through the Muslim quarter is lined with shops and stalls where you can pick up souvenirs and sample the local food.

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Immerse yourself in Xian’s Islamic quarter, and try a “Muslim hamburger”.

Xian’s Muslim population is descended directly from Middle Eastern merchants who arrived on the Silk Road. Members of the modern-day Hui ethnic minority live in a thriving, close-knit community centered around the Drum Tower. The main street running through the Muslim quarter is lined with shops and stalls where you can pick up souvenirs and sample the local food.

Some of China’s tastiest morsels are to be found in Xian. The aroma of barbecuing meat wafts through the streets of the Muslim district, tempting the tastebuds to try lamb kebabs smothered in herbs and spices. Another favourite is rou jia mo, also known as the Muslim hamburger. Ground lamb is fried with coriander and spices, then stuffed inside a flat bread bun. Look out for street-side eateries selling yang rou pao mo – hard, unleavened bread soaked in a flavorsome mutton soup.

Wander past old bearded men wearing white caps sitting in doorways, see women in traditional headscarves on their way to the mosque, and enjoy the unique atmosphere of Xian’s Muslim quarter.

Great Mosque

Great Mosque

Visit a mosque with distinctively Chinese characteristics. Dating back to 742 AD, Xian’s Grand Mosque the oldest and one of the most famous in China. It has neither domes nor minarets, and the only indication that it is a place of Muslim worship is the Arabic engraving and decoration on the walls. In place of a minaret there is a pavilion, and the architecture is typical of the Tang Dynasty. The mosque is still used by members of the Hui ethnic minority, who can trace their ancestors back to the Persians and Afghans who arrived on the Silk Road in ancient times.

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Visit a mosque with distinctively Chinese characteristics.

Dating back to 742 AD, Xian’s Gran Mosque the oldest and one of the most famous in China. Unlike other mosques, it has neither domes nor minarets, and the only indication that it is a place of Muslim worship is the Arabic engraving and decoration on the walls. In place of a minaret there is a pavilion, and the architecture is typical of the Tang Dynasty. The mosque is still used by members of the Hui ethnic minority, who can trace their ancestors back to the Persians and Afghans who arrived on the Silk Road in ancient times.

This huge mosque covers 12,000 square meters, and is made up of four courtyards and beautiful landscaped gardens. You enter the first courtyard through an elaborate nine-meter-tall wooden archway decorated with glazed tiles from the 17th century. The second courtyard has an arch made of stone, flanked with two smaller stones on which is engraved calligraphy by Song and Ming Dynasty artists. Inside the third courtyard is the Xingyin tower and more engraved stones, while the final courtyard leads to the prayer hall. Up to 1,000 Muslim worshippers can pray at the same time, and there are services five times a day.

A visit to Xian’s Great Mosque is a great way to soak up the city’s Islamic heritage and observe the culture of the Hui people.

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Tang Dynasty Show

Tang Dynasty Show

Learn about the legacy of the Tang Dynasty at this performance extravaganza involving singing, dancing, and elaborate costumes. The Tang era (618 – 907) was the time when Chinese art, music and culture first began to flourish, and this show pays homage to the golden age.