Xi'an - My Dream Vacation Destination!!!

Ever since I saw a documentary on the Terracotta Warriors of Xian, it became the place I wanted to visit. Well, the first place that has always been on my list is Egypt, but Xian looked more easy to visit since we were living in China back then.

I was bugging hubby to take us there for a long time and one day out of the blue,he informed us that his colleagues had planned a trip to Xi'an and after a little bit of coaxing hubby made arrangements for us to join the gang! We could have chosen our favorite airlines for the trip, but since it was last minute, we could only manage train tickets.But if you are visiting this place from overseas, check out the International flights that connect this city or the ones nearby

Being a person who can pack a bag or two for vacation within the shortest possible time, I set out to gather clothes, food and other essentials for the 3 day trip.

By 5pm, a happy couple, a toddler and an elderly MIL set out on our dream vacation. The train station was by far the neatest and we arrived just a few minutes before our train was due.It was a 15 hour journey covering approximately 1200 kilometers.

Once inside the train the sun started going down and it was time for dinner and have a good night's sleep to recharge ourselves in preparation of all the sights we were about to see the next day...

Morning dawned dull and rainy and we passed through bridges, fields, and more fields that were submerged in water from the rains and name boards and places which we couldn't read and finally around noon we reached our destination.

We were famished by the time we landed and also slightly tired yet our minds were alert and eager to take in the scenes and sights of the new place.

After checking into our rooms and freshening up, we set out on the first step of dream vacation.Our guide, a nice young lady had made all the plans for us and I was hoping to visit the terracotta warriors at the earliest.I was slightly disappointed to hear that she had made some other plans for the rest of the day.

A nice lunch at an Indian restaurant at Xian was like a blessing in disguise and with our tummies filled with the delicious Indian food,we set out to see the famous Wild Goose Pagoda.

This Pagoda is situated in Southern Xi'an,China. It was built in the year 652 AD during the Tang Dynasty. It was built to collect and store the Buddhist relics and other materials brought from India by the Monk Xuanzang. It is interesting to note that the Sanskrit Sutras were translated into Chinese in those days itself!!!

The pagoda's original height was 54 meters but due to several natural calamities the size reduced and was and was extensively repaired by the Ming Dynasty.The Pagoda now stands to a  height of 64 meters. The whole city of Xi'an can be viewed from the top of the Pagoda..

There is a legend behind the name of this Pagoda.It goes like this...

There are 2 sects of Buddhist monks. One is vegetarian and the other is a meat eating group. One day the meat eating monks could not find meat and they prayed to Buddha to provide them with some food. Immediately, the head bird of the wild goose flock that was flying above broke its wing and fell down. The monks were so startled and believed that Buddha was trying to tell them to be more pious. So they vowed to stop eating meat and built this Pagoda where the goose had fallen!!!

This is also called the 'Big Wild Goose pagoda' or the Da Yan Ta and is not to be mistaken with another pagoda called ' Small wild goose Pagoda'.

We passed through beautiful courtyards and rooms full of sculptures and palaces with rooms depicting Lord Buddha's life history.Enthralled by gardens and shines, we were in no mood to go back to our hotel rooms to rest and get ready for the adventures for the next day.

We were bone tired after dinner.No sooner we fell asleep, I was awakened by the alarm signalling the dawn of another day.Hurriedly, we  got ready to go out and explore more of the city's charm.

The next day was gloomy but we were in a very cheerful mood.The first stop was the Banpo Matriarchal village which is  an excavated habitation site of a matriarchal clan of the Neolithic period.This museum was actually built in 1958. This site has within it the whole village in a sprawling area of 4500 square meter.This place gives us the feel of an aboriginal village.This village belongs to the Yangshao culture and dates back to about 6,000 years.

We dined at a simple restaurant and I was not so much into having an elaborate lunch as I was eager to see what was next on our list.The next stop was the Huaqing Hot Springs.

Huaqing hot springs also called the Huaqing Palace , located about 30 kms east of Xi'an, is a major cultural and historic site under state protection.It is a key scenic site and rated as a AAAAA national tourist attraction.It is well known for its romance between Tang Dynasty Emperor Xuanzon [712 AD - 756 AD] and his concubine Yang and the Xi'an incident of 1936 .

Huaqing is known for its history and natural beauty.Famous sites include the remains of the imperial pools of the huaqing palace, display of the eternal youth palace, nine dragon lake, lotus garden, five room house where the Xi'an incident took place.Because the hot spring here is regarded as the best on earth, emperor's from different Dynasties built palaces, resorts and bath houses here.An open air elevating theatre in water was built for the 'Song of Everlasting Sorrow'.A luxurious hot spring hotel and bath houses with top quality facilities is built for tourists to enjoy the Tang Dynasty royal banquets with the excellent services from guides and other staffs.
Walking through the many palaces, ponds and great baths, we were happy to witness a cultural show too...

Our guide asked us to hurry up to the to out hotel rooms as we had to get ready for a royal dinner. The word itself was so intriguing that we rushed back to get ready.A while later,we piled into the bus and it took us to the Tang Dynasty show that our guide had organized for us!!We were so excited to see a restaurant cum theater filled with people...

Just as we took our seats, the lights dimmed and the show began.This is what was we experienced - A scrumptious dinner and a beautiful show!

 Tired, yet happy that the day was well spent, I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow. The kiddo too was too pleased to be back to the comforts of the room and I realized all the naughtiness and pranks had disappeared all through!

The following morning,after a simple breakfast of toast and porridge, we were taken to see the Ancient City wall. This was something we saw as soon as we alighted the train on Day 1 and our tour guide, said that we would be walking over the perimeter of the walls and it had some breath taking views....
This wall was built for defense purpose and is one of the most stunning and impressive walls to be built. It somehow reminded e of the Great Wall of China, only this looked a little smaller in length.
This wall is over 600 years old and is really well preserved.There are four gates in the North, South ,East and West ends and each gate has an Archery tower, Drawbridge tower and a main tower for the entrance to the City.
As you can see in the pics, it was a very cloudy day.But that did not dampen our spirit...

In the roadway that we can walk, cycle , take a battery operated car ride.We took a car ride for a short period since MIL would not be able to walk and Lil Angel was still in a sleepy mood.After a while, hubby and me hired a bicycle to go around which was an experience by itself.

As we left the city and started towards the Terracotta Warrior site, we started chatting up and everyone was in a very excited mode.There was still a lot of time until lunch ,yet the long walk, cycle ride made everyone hungry.
Luckily we had packed a lot of breads, buns and flavored drinks to keep us refreshed and to banish those hunger pangs...
Finally, I was visiting the place I had been wanting to visit and the wait seemed worth it!
The terracotta warrior site is the underworld army of Emperor Qin Shihuang.This army- a platoon of clay soldiers- was built at the center of a complex which was the replica of the urban plan of the Capital of the Qin Dynasty- Xianyang.It was actually built for conquering the after life.This site was unearthed in 1974.
There are terracotta armed forces, horses,chariots,cavalry horses,weapons. It is said that some of these relics are still buried!
This site has been listed as a world heritage site by UNESCO and is a real high light of a tour in and around Xian.
There are 4 pits that hold these relics and one can watch all these from a large platform...
Rows and rows of terracotta statues and other relics filled the place and words or photos does not do justice the awesomeness we had experienced there!
In front of / beside each exhibit or relic, you can find details written in Mandarin and English to get to know more about the artifacts...

The total area is so big and so many complexes to see and enjoy that we did not notice the time! It was almost time to catch our train.We made a small stop at a fast food joint for getting out food packets and we were off to the train station. The trip was a memorable one and something that I will remember and savor every moment that I spent in that ancient city.

It was an awesome vacation . Though the highlight of this vacation was the terracotta warriors, the other places that we saw made it even more exotic and worthwhile.

The hurried planning of the three day trip , a toddler, an elderly MIL, change of food style, the odd eating hours, continuous travel and other stuffs did not dampen our spirits or our the time we spent in each of these places.I had finally seen the place I had dreamt !

I had a nostalgic time writing this post.Hope you enjoyed this virtual trip with us...

Until next post...