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Beijing And Xian With Day Trips To The Great Wall Of China And Terracotta Army


by Maryl Eby



Welcome to a journey through two iconic cities in China – Beijing and Xian. This article will take you on a virtual tour of these captivating destinations, including day trips to two of China’s most famous landmarks – the Great Wall of China and the Terracotta Army.


China, with its rich history and culture, offers a plethora of experiences for travelers. Beijing, the capital city, is a vibrant metropolis that seamlessly blends ancient traditions with modern innovations. Xian, on the other hand, is a city steeped in history and known as the birthplace of Chinese civilization.


As you embark on this adventure, be prepared to immerse yourself in the fascinating tales of emperors, warriors, and monumental structures that have stood the test of time.


From the bustling streets of Beijing to the ancient wonders of Xian, this itinerary will allow you to delve into the heart of China’s past while still experiencing the vibrant present. So, fasten your seatbelts and get ready for an unforgettable journey.


Background Information

Before we dive into the detailed itinerary, let’s learn a bit about the history and significance of Beijing and Xian.


Beijing, the capital city of the People’s Republic of China, has a history that spans over 3,000 years. It has served as the political, cultural, and educational center of the country for centuries. With its rich imperial heritage, Beijing is home to numerous UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, and Summer Palace.


Xian, located in northwest China’s Shaanxi Province, was once the ancient capital of the country and the eastern terminus of the Silk Road. Xian is best known for its awe-inspiring Terracotta Army, a collection of thousands of life-sized sculptures that depict the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China.


Now that we have a glimpse into the historical significance of these cities, let’s delve into the day-by-day itinerary that will allow us to explore their wonders.


Day 1: Exploring Beijing

Our adventure begins in the bustling city of Beijing. Start your day by visiting Tiananmen Square, one of the largest public squares in the world and a symbol of China’s political significance. While there, don’t miss the opportunity to explore the magnificent Forbidden City, a vast palace complex that was once the imperial residence of the Ming and Qing dynasties.


After immersing yourself in the rich history of the Forbidden City, it’s time to experience the vibrant local culture. Head over to the Hutongs, traditional narrow alleyways that offer a glimpse into old Beijing. Take a rickshaw ride through these charming neighborhoods and interact with the friendly locals.


For lunch, indulge in Beijing’s famous cuisine – Peking Duck. Enjoy this succulent dish at one of the city’s renowned duck restaurants for a truly authentic culinary experience.


In the afternoon, make your way to the Temple of Heaven, an architectural masterpiece that was once used by emperors to offer sacrifices for a good harvest. Explore the expansive park surrounding the temple and witness locals engaging in various activities, such as Tai Chi and traditional Chinese music performances.


As the day comes to an end, take a leisurely stroll through the Wangfujing Street, a bustling shopping district where you can find everything from high-end brands to local street food. Sample some delicious snacks like candied hawthorns or scorpion skewers for a unique culinary adventure.


Wrap up your first day in Beijing with a visit to the Olympic Park, home to the iconic Bird’s Nest Stadium and Water Cube. Marvel at the futuristic architecture and relish in the memories of the 2008 Summer Olympics.


After a day full of exploration, rest and recharge, as we have an exciting day trip planned for tomorrow – a visit to the Great Wall of China.


Day 2: Visiting the Great Wall of China

Prepare yourself for an unforgettable day as we embark on a journey to one of the Seven Wonders of the World – the Great Wall of China. After breakfast, get ready for a scenic drive to the Mutianyu section, located about 70 kilometers northeast of Beijing.


The Mutianyu section is renowned for its picturesque views and well-preserved architecture. As you ascend the wall, marvel at the breathtaking landscapes of lush greenery and rugged mountains stretching as far as the eye can see. Take your time to explore the watchtowers and walk along the ancient stone pathways, soaking in the history and grandeur of this magnificent structure.


For an added thrill, consider taking a cable car or a toboggan ride as you descend from the wall, offering a unique and exhilarating experience.


After a day filled with awe-inspiring vistas and unforgettable moments, we’ll head back to Beijing in the late afternoon, giving you some time to relax and rejuvenate.


In the evening, venture out to the famous Nanluoguxiang, a historic hutong-turned-shopping district. Explore the narrow alleyways filled with boutiques, art studios, and quaint cafes. Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere and enjoy a delectable dinner at one of the local eateries, indulging in traditional Beijing cuisine.


As the night sets in, you may wish to catch a traditional Chinese opera performance or witness the dazzling spectacle of the Beijing Acrobatics Show. This will be a perfect way to conclude an exhilarating day exploring the Great Wall and experiencing the cultural delights of Beijing.


Rest well, as tomorrow we’ll set off to Xian, where the wonders of the Terracotta Army await us.


Day 3: Discovering Xian

Welcome to the ancient city of Xian, once the capital of China and a hub of civilization. Today, get ready to delve into the historical wonders that Xian has to offer.


Our first stop is the legendary Shaanxi History Museum, where you can immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of the region. Explore the extensive collection of ancient artifacts, including pottery, sculptures, and intricate artworks that showcase the evolution of Chinese civilization.


No visit to Xian is complete without experiencing the vibrant Muslim Quarter. As you walk through its bustling streets, you will be greeted by the tantalizing aromas of local street food. Sample delicious treats such as lamb skewers, dumplings, and the famous Xian specialty, the roujiamo (Chinese hamburger).


After satisfying your taste buds, head towards the magnificent Big Wild Goose Pagoda. Built in the 7th century, this pagoda has a storied history and offers panoramic views of the city from its higher levels. Take a stroll in the surrounding gardens and appreciate the tranquil atmosphere that envelops this ancient religious site.


In the afternoon, make your way to the Xian City Wall, one of the most well-preserved ancient city walls in China. Rent a bike and cycle along the wall, enjoying the panoramic views of the city and its modern skyline. This is a fantastic opportunity to absorb the historical grandeur of Xian and create lasting memories.


As the sun begins to set, prepare for a cultural feast at the Tang Dynasty Music and Dance Show. This dazzling performance showcases ancient Chinese music, dance, and costumes, offering a glimpse into the vibrant Tang Dynasty era.


After a day of exploration and cultural immersion, take some time to relax and reflect on the wonders you’ve experienced in Xian. Tomorrow, we’ll embark on an excursion to visit the world-famous Terracotta Army, an archaeological marvel that should not be missed.


Day 4: Excursion to the Terracotta Army

Today, we embark on a journey to witness one of the most awe-inspiring archaeological discoveries in the world – the Terracotta Army. After breakfast, we’ll make our way to the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor, located about 40 kilometers east of Xian.


Upon arrival, prepare to be astonished by the sheer magnitude and historical significance of the Terracotta Army. This vast underground army was built to protect Emperor Qin Shi Huang in the afterlife, with thousands of life-sized terracotta soldiers, horses, and chariots meticulously crafted to perfection.


Explore the vaults and marvel at the individualized craftsmanship displayed in each figure. Witness the intricate details of the soldiers’ expressions, armor, and weaponry, which vividly depict the military might of ancient China.


Take your time to stroll through the three excavation pits and learn about the incredible historical context surrounding this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit the fascinating museum nearby, which provides further insights into the excavation process and the significance of this extraordinary archaeological find.


After immersing yourself in the wonders of the Terracotta Army, we’ll head back to Xian, where you’ll have the opportunity to explore the local markets and indulge in some souvenir shopping. Take this time to purchase mementos that capture the essence of your journey through China’s rich history and culture.


In the evening, savor a delicious farewell dinner, enjoying the flavors of Shaanxi cuisine. Sample the renowned biang biang noodles or try the local specialties like hot pot or rougamo.


As night falls, consider taking a leisurely stroll along the vibrant Muslim Quarter, lit up by the glow of colorful lanterns. This will be a perfect way to bid farewell to the enchanting city of Xian and reflect on the incredible experiences you’ve had throughout your journey.


With memories of the Terracotta Army and the rich historical sites of Xian etched in your mind, it’s time to prepare for your departure from China. Reflect on the wonders you’ve witnessed and the cultural treasures you’ve encountered, knowing that you’ve embarked on a truly unforgettable adventure.



As our journey through Beijing and Xian comes to a close, we reflect on the incredible experiences and rich history we’ve encountered along the way. From the imperial grandeur of the Forbidden City in Beijing to the ancient wonders of the Terracotta Army in Xian, we’ve witnessed the timeless beauty of China’s past.


Beijing, with its vibrant mix of modernity and tradition, captivated us with its iconic landmarks like Tiananmen Square, the Temple of Heaven, and the Great Wall of China. We immersed ourselves in the vibrant local culture, explored the narrow alleyways of the Hutongs, and indulged in the famous flavors of Peking Duck.


In Xian, the birthplace of Chinese civilization, we marveled at the ancient treasures of the Shaanxi History Museum, cycled along the impressive city walls, and savored the bustling atmosphere of the Muslim Quarter. The Terracotta Army left us in awe, with its life-sized soldiers guarding the first emperor’s tomb for eternity.


Throughout our journey, we were not only exposed to the remarkable history of China but also embraced the warmth and friendliness of the local people. The flavors of Beijing cuisine linger on our taste buds, and the sights and sounds of Xian continue to echo in our memories.


As we bid farewell to China, we carry with us a deeper appreciation for its rich cultural heritage and a greater understanding of its place in the world. The Great Wall, the Forbidden City, the Terracotta Army – they stand as testaments to the ingenuity and craftsmanship of ancient civilizations, inspiring us with their enduring legacy.


May our journey through Beijing and Xian serve as a reminder that the wonders of the past continue to shape our present and future. As we venture forth, may we carry the spirit of exploration, curiosity, and appreciation for the beauty that lies within the hearts of diverse cultures.


Farewell, Beijing and Xian. Until we meet again, we shall hold these cherished memories close to our hearts.