The Terracotta Warriors, China

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On the tourist trail for many, Xi’an is home to the famous Terracotta Warriors. They’re located about one hour’s ride on a tourist bus from the city centre, and it’s defiantly worth a visit. Buses are regular and hassle free and there’s no need to buy tickets from the bedlam that is Xi’an bus station. Just hop on board the buses that depart from directly outside the train stations and pay as you enter. 

Many first time visitors to China assume the warriors can be done from Beijing – this is not the case unless you go on overnight / escorted tours.

Three large hanger buildings conceal the warriors. The hangers are huge and I was not prepared for the enormity of the display. The first hanger and its display is the largest and best preserved. If you can visit off season I’d encourage you to do so, as I can only begin to imagine the crowds at peak times.

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Visitors are elevated on a walkway around the perimeter of the display, and despite a ‘sunny’ day (as sunny as can be with the smog), it was quite dark inside the building so please consider this when framing your shots. It’s worth highlighting that photography is permitted, and if you can bag a good spot, keep it for as long as you need it.
We were incredibly amused during our visit to find that the main attraction was not in fact the warriors – but Ali. Young Chinese schoolgirls are not used to hairy looking Scottish men, and he found himself surrounded by a gaggle of teenage girls asking if they could have their picture taken with him, to which he reluctantly agreed. 

After our experience on the Great Wall, it was quite a surprise to find the warriors so ‘capitalised’. There is a very significantly sized car and coach park outside, and a complex of stores selling coke,  ice-cream and gifts have emerged right next to the exit for the complex. It’s hardly surprising, and is a little rash of me to suspect otherwise, but it was unexpected none-the-less. My advice – walk through swiftly so as not to distract for the experience of the warriors themselves.

Further information about the Terracotta Warriors is available in our China book.