I have heard about the terracotta warriors since I was a kid and it is something that certainly has fascinated me ever since. The journey that has taken me to this wonder has been long, but at the same time not quite as complicated as I thought. The Warriors are part of the whole complex of the Qin Shi Huang Mausoleum. This is located in Xi’an the ancient imperial capital of China. Xi’an is a city 1400 kilometers from Shanghai and 1000 kilometers from Beijing. Of course it takes a little planning to get here. Many groups do this trip as a stop between Beijing and Shanghai.
There are several trains from both cities and the trip takes around 14 hours from Shanghai and 10 from Beijing. Traveling by train in China is extremely easy, comfortable and very affordable. Xi’an itself is a place with many great luxurious lodging options with good prices. It is possible to fly to the airport of Xi’an located one hour from the city. There are, as well, several buses getting there everyday from many different cities. Once one gets to Xi’an it is important to understand that the warriors are not in the city, but in a suburb called Lintong. It takes around one hour from the downtown to get there. We think the best way is using the public bus, these leave every 10 minutes from the central train station. The stop in located next to the walls in front of China Post Office. The bus number is the 306 (some call this line 5). Riding the bus is a worry free experience. Actually we heard from tourists how expensive cabs are and it can be complicated since at the end they want to charge a little more. The bus only costs 7 RMB (little more than a dollar) the last stop is in the entrance of the Museum. Once one is there the first stop should be the ticket office. The entrance costs 150 RMB (around 25 USD) and students with valid ID pay half the price.
There are many guides available, we preferred to do the trip by ourselves. There is a bus pay service from the ticket counter to the main entrance to the pits (the place where the warriors are) but it is so short a walking distance that there is no reason to take it. The experience of seeing the warriors is amazing, It is something that almost needs no words. To witness these thousands of human figures is a memory that will stay in ones mind forever. There are several buildings with exhibitions and once one has seen everything on this side it is possible to take a bus (whose price is included in the same ticket entrance) to go and see the nearby mausoleum. One can take the public bus back to Xi’an from the very same spot where the bus arrived before. Xi’an may sound far, but it is not an impossible trip. It is perfectly feasible as a “do it yourself” trip, it just needs some extra planning and overall to have the time and the resources to embrace such an adventure that certainly is a worthwhile one.