X is for Xian

Xian (pronounced She-an) was part of my first trip to mainland China in April 2003. Visiting the Terracotta Warriors was undoubtedly the highlight – thousands of them marching towards you, as they have been for 2000 years, and many more still to be excavated. Amazing. Less pleasantly, I remember the toilet arrangements at the Small Wild Goose Pagoda being the worst I have ever encountered. And that’s saying something – there might be a book in there someday!


38 thoughts on “X is for Xian

  1. Birgit April 28, 2014 / 13:45

    This is another must see for me. I remember when they were discovered and Reagan making the trip there. I also was amazed at how colourful they originally were. I can’t believe the scope of work and how many years it must have taken to do this army


    • Anabel Marsh April 28, 2014 / 14:13

      The past was much more colourful than we think – my favourite castle at Stirling has a reproduction ceiling which has been painted as they think it would have been from traces of colour found in the original and the Great Hall has been harled in ochre. Gorgeous! Back to the warriors – I did hear one English guy come out saying “well that was underwhelming”. What??!!


  2. Eli April 28, 2014 / 14:23

    He he he – well there was some ups and downs right? The terracotta soldiers look awesome . Happy you didn’t share the washroom-picture:-) Nice X – Anabel:-)


    • Anabel Marsh April 28, 2014 / 14:30

      I was too shocked to take a washroom picture! Think communal trench…..


  3. Donna April 28, 2014 / 14:50

    I’d love to see this. The Minneapolis Institute of Arts had a display last year and it was amazing. Now that I have seen Terracotta Warriors and Giant Pandas on loan from China I need to find out what, if anything, the USA loans to China.


    • Anabel Marsh April 28, 2014 / 14:57

      One of the most awe-inspiring examples of human endeavour I have seen. Each one is different, and all to massage the ego of one man!


  4. cvail April 28, 2014 / 16:14

    Xian was a magical city for me and my two girls. We loved it!


    • Anabel Marsh April 28, 2014 / 16:22

      Xian is a popular choice today! We were only there for a short time – sure there’s much more to see, but nothing could top those warriors.


  5. Ann April 28, 2014 / 16:22

    We didn’t make it to the Xian warriers. I went with school and our teacher opted to try something new with our group and replaced Xian with the hanging temples in Datong (which were really cool) and a cave nearby with hundreds of Buddha statues. I know I’ll go back some day and check it out. We have an exhibit near by that I need to check in the meantime.

    And to be honest, the one thing that always stops me from booking a trip to China immediately is the bathroom situation. I can’t even think about it.


    • Anabel Marsh April 28, 2014 / 16:24

      Sometimes you just have to grit your teeth – and hold your nose! It is a shock when even quite modern looking places have “challenging” facilities.


  6. johnmarkmiller April 28, 2014 / 16:44

    I’ve seen a small collection of terra cotta warriors here in Dallas, but would love to see an actual exhibit like this one!


    • Anabel Marsh April 28, 2014 / 16:48

      I had seen a few at a museum in England before we went, but to appreciate the scale you really, really have to be there!


  7. Silvia Writes April 28, 2014 / 18:05

    I could imagine how overwhelming it must have been to be so close to the warriors — to imagine the past. The building in the top picture looks stunning.
    Silvia @


    • Anabel Marsh April 28, 2014 / 22:25

      Thanks Silvia – it was stunning and the warriors were just awesome to behold.


  8. Travis H April 28, 2014 / 19:15

    I’d love to see the Terracotta Warriors one day – they look so cool and mysterious!


    • Anabel Marsh April 28, 2014 / 22:25

      I hope you get a chance – they are so worth seeing.


  9. Sukanya Ramanujan April 29, 2014 / 04:22

    Terracotta warriors- maybe I should add in Xi’an along with my Shanghai visit- I am just dreaming- thanks for the inspiring travel posts!


    • Anabel Marsh April 29, 2014 / 07:24

      Maybe! We went on a different trip from Shanghai so I’m not sure how feasible that is, but definitely worth keeping on your wish list.


  10. jenny@atasteoftravel April 29, 2014 / 17:23

    Oh…don’t start me on the toilets in China…you can imagine how they were 20 years before you went!! No wonder I have no desire to go back!


    • Anabel Marsh April 29, 2014 / 17:43

      It does make it very difficult. I’m glad I’ve seen what I’ve already seen but it does temper my desire to go back.


  11. Travelling Book Junkie April 30, 2014 / 17:35

    I am so glad I am not the only person that makes comments about toilets, my husband now asks me how I rate the toilets wherever we go because I have expressed so many thoughts about them in the past. 🙂


    • Anabel Marsh April 30, 2014 / 20:20

      They are very important! And I have found some absolute shockers – definitely a book in there.


      • Travelling Book Junkie April 30, 2014 / 20:39

        Some shockers and some that have absolutely surprised me – I remember heading into a local market in Italy years ago, expecting to find a horrendous toilet, only to find the cleanest, albeit hole in the ground, I have ever come across. I think a book would be appreciated by so many – at least they would then know what to expect 🙂


        • Anabel Marsh April 30, 2014 / 20:48

          I don’t get the hole in the ground thing. The older I get the harder getting up and down is and you certainly don’t want to touch the floor. It must be really difficult for elderly people.


          • Travelling Book Junkie April 30, 2014 / 23:10

            Given the option its not my preference, coming from the UK its not the natural choice either. I remember my first experience at the age of 11, it was quite a shock. I think the majority of countries are slowly moving over to what I call a ‘proper’ toilet and what I often hear being referred to on my travels as a ‘British’ toilet. 🙂


            • Anabel Marsh April 30, 2014 / 23:21

              British, hmm, didn’t think we had the monopoly! But possible a legacy of the British Empire in many parts of the world?


  12. Lori L MacLaughlin May 1, 2014 / 02:49

    The terracotta warriors are amazing! And what painstaking work to unearth them.


    • Anabel Marsh May 1, 2014 / 07:38

      They are! And the incredible effort to make them all in the first place.


  13. hungrydai May 10, 2014 / 03:11

    I am probably the only tourist in the world who visited Xi’an and didn’t go to see the terracotta warriors. There was heavy rain throughout my stay there and we were two independent backpackers. The friend braved it and went but I stayed dry back in the hotel. I have been to many places around China, always with a backpack and using trains and buses.


    • Anabel Marsh May 10, 2014 / 08:31

      You missed a treat! However, I wouldn’t be brave enough to tackle China as a backpacker (or anywhere, actually.)


      • hungrydai May 10, 2014 / 10:10

        Backpacking is the way to go, staying in budget hotels and travelling by railway sleeping car. I don’t think I ever missed my daily shower and travelled in China for around £8 a day excluding transport and admission charges. That way I could stay in China for a month each time and niot break the bank. Trying to buy railway tickets in sign language with 20 people waiting behind us can be a bit taxing though.


  14. terracotta army December 18, 2015 / 07:10

    The Warriors at Qin Shi Huang’s Unesco World Heritage Site
    aretruly special. Well worth a visit from the city off Xian.
    It takes about an hour by taxi to reach the site.
    Great photo opportunities.

    Liked by 1 person

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