Visit to the Terracotta Warriors with kids
The Terracotta Warriors was one of their bucketlist places. I think they had bigger visions of what it actually was though (I mean ‘warriors’ and ‘army’ are like magnets to my boys). So hopefully they won’t be disappointed!!
What you’ll need:
- Sunhats/umbrella (it’s mainly indoor but you need to walk to and between the sites)
- Comfortable shoes
How to get there
Staying in Xian city, we caught a local bus (plenty to choose from) which ran along east/west Street, heading in an early direction. Or grab a taxi – websites suggest these cost around RMB 10. The bus cost RMB 2 each (which all local city buses do!) and took around 30 minutes to reach the bus station. We like the adventure so opted for the bus; shrug the picture paints a different story for the boys, ha ha!
When we arrived at our destination, memories came flooding back! And as per last time, the buses to the Terracotta Army are situated to the right hand side of Xian train station as you are looking at the entrance.
Cross over the road towards a large open space area and you will see the train station entrance. Then walk to the right have side where lots of buses are parked. You do not need a ticket prior to boarding. Look for bus no. 306 with a big sign out the front of it! Do not go with the touts.
WARNING: this is where you will surrounded by touts. The cheeky minx’s are wearing the same blue uniform with a red arm band as the official bus conductors!! You’ll know who they are as they will be shouting enthusiastically ‘hey you’ ‘hallloooo’ ‘terracotta warriors’ ‘bus this way’ ‘hey lady in green, you lady green’. Ha ha, it’s actually quite funny!
But please politely decline and walk to bus 306. The drivers and conductors will not be hassling you. Just get on the bus and you pay once the bus is moving.
Only cash payments accepted. The cost of the bus is RMB 7 per person (no discount for kids). The bus takes around 1 hour along main roads to the outskirts of the city. Buses start running at 7am until 7pm.
Arriving at Terracotta Army
The bus will drop you next to the car park. Follow the crowds through the car park to the front entrance towards to ticket office.
Adults RMB 150 in summer, RMB 120 in winter. Children under 1.2 metres are free. The ticket price includes entrance to the Mausoleum of Qin Shihuang, 1½ km (1 mile) from the Terracotta Army museum. It’s only a re-creation and not excavated, so we didn’t bother with this.
As with all main Chinese attractions, they seem to like you to have your passport, so bring it along!
Where to go?
When you first arrive you walk through a lovely garden area. It’s actually about 15 minutes until you reach the main entrance to the pits. There are shuttle buses available if needed – but be prepared to queue!
Expect to spend around 2-3 hours here. If anything its the slow pace you move and pictures you take that slow things down.
As you enter the 2nd ticket check gate in front of you is pit 1. This is the biggest and most dramatic of all the pits and the one you should visit first.
The first sight you see when you find the corner just takes your breath away! It’s amazing. How on earth did it stay so well preserved for so long… and undiscovered! Just wow! The boys actually very interested… more than I thought!
You can choose to walk left or right. But as you wander around the pit trading pictures and jostling for space, there are some signs in English explaining some of what you see. You can get an audio guide if you prefer or at the main gate there are plenty of guides offering their services.
It gets very busy so keep an eye on little ones as it’s easy to get lost in the crowds or carried along with tour groups!!
Yes, I know I’ve missed pit 2 but it’s recommended you follow the story and as such is better to go to pit 3 next. This one is much smaller but has higher ranking officers and a chariot with horses.
A much darker room, this area is less excavated but does show how the warriors were protected with beams and mud ceilings. This area contains more infantrymen with standing and sitting archers.
There is also a museum housing the more intricate works and more standalone figures. However, the boys were maxed out on looking at statutes and do were we so we have this one a miss.
Places to eat
There is a shopping mall of sorts with lots of jade, but nothing to really look at. There are also a couple of stalls to buy drinks.
However, the main shops, restaurants and snack stalls are all outside the park at the exit. So if recommend you bring plenty of dunksd and some snacks or at least have a decent breakfast before you leave.
In fact, it’s huge… literally any and every kind of food is there including western and Chinese options as well as Street stalls. It doesn’t appear to be over priced however, I had read that the taste isn’t the best!
You will literally walk for miles through this outdoor ‘mall’ before reaching the main car park again. It’s like a small city!!
Getting back to Xian
Once you have finished exploring and found your way through food city, you arrive back at the car park.
Head over to the right hand side of the car park. You will see big blue signs with 306 or 307. Follow these signs to find the buses back to the city centre
Again, the touts will be around, just decline and continue until you find bus 306! The buses won’t exactly be where you were dropped off. They are all lined up on a main road at the side. Just ask if you are unsure.
We had a great morning out here and the boys enjoyed it too! Needless to say, they were not disappointed 😊