Xi’an is such a cool city and it is now one of my favourite Chinese cities full stop! No joke. I just love the ancient city wall and some of the old markets and buildings. There were just way too much to see and experience and our few days stay certainly insufficient to explore them all.
Tight schedule meant that I only had so much time to do everything in a priority order. Everyone knows that if he visits Xi’an, he MUST see the Terracotta Warriors! So did we. Our rental apartment was brilliant, the landlord also operated some kind of tour service and we took up their offer and hire their van to see this unforgettable place. Beware however, it’s quite a distant place to travel from Xi’an. It took us a good few hours by car (lucky it wasn’t a half-day drive like Feng Huang Cheng!). Though we had to stop off for lunch at a rather special one-of-a-kind-tourist-only-restaurant! Yes, we were the only guests there… and it was kind of scary.
When we entered, we were greeted by a rather friendly smileless manager who kindly showed us to a VIP room where we had our own table. Then we were treated with a SPECIAL noodle making performance with an angry-looking chief. He carefully spinned the flour dough and after a few pulls, woah lah!! Then without saying good bye, he exited our VIP room. What came next was the most surprising thing, sweet and sour fried fish, lemon chicken and sweet corn soup????? Man, none of them was authentic Chinese food!! We got conned into this tourist-only restaurant!!!! Well at least the food wasn’t too bad and all eatable!
That was quite funny though. We left the restaurant after buying our only gifts we could find there, the China Man hats. I love them and still have it in my wardrobe.
After another hour drive, we finally arrived at Lintong. All of us were very excited about our arrival. I guess this is a destination that’s on a lot of people’s bucket lists and we were fortunate to see the warriors in person. I am uncertain how long before the local government decides to close the pits to tourists to prevent further damages by oxidation and erosion (yes, I heard about it but it’s not official so don’t take my words for it yet).
There were four main pits and the biggest one was pit number one. Thousands of warriors lined up in many corridors. The view was simply stunning. It’s something that I couldn’t describe in words but rather you have to see it yourself. Perhaps it was the time of our visit and there weren’t many visitors in any of the pits so we were pretty free to admire and to take pictures. I knew setting up tripods and taking photos would be rather difficult if the place was filled with tourists so we were lucky.
I was so happy to finally see the warriors in real life and not pictures on the internet. Now I got the chance to take the pictures myself to proof that I’d been there! There were discussions about these warriors if each of them was a copy of a real-life soldier who served Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China. Each may look similar but indeed very different. They wore different uniforms signified their different ranks. More amazingly, they all had different faces!!! It was just something. I am not going to drill the history about them and you can easily wiki them.
It didn’t take us long to walk through all four pits including a small exhibition which featured a short film describing the discovery and history about the Terracotta Warriors. All in all, we spent about three may be four hours there. The sun was setting and it was time to end our memorable day. I would never forget this experience and I probably will not go back in the next ten or twenty years. Perhaps until my twins grow up. Though these memories will live on. My pictures will definitely provide me with long lasting happy memory. China is vast and there are still much to travel. In the mean time, I had to say good bye to these warriors and no doubt we will meet again in the future!
Gallery (from my wife’s compact and my camera)
Next blog, the magnificent Hua Shan. Stay tuned!
If you miss my previous China blogs here they are:
Have a good day!