Top 10 Things to Do in Xi’an… And How to Win a Free Trip There!

Top 10 things to do in Xi’an

As part of our initiative to raise awareness of the unmissable architecture and awe-inspiring landscapes of the Chinese city of Xi’an, we’ve teamed up with Virgin Airlines, Sofitel Xian Hotel and one of Xi’an’s most reputable museums to offer you the chance to win the trip of a lifetime!

Firstly, though, we thought we’d provide you with a go-to guide for exploring this hidden gem in the crown of Chinese tourism...

1. Face the Terracotta Army

Face the Terracotta Army

Can it even qualify as a bucket list if it doesn’t have ‘meet a Terracotta Warrior’ on it? These magnificent emblems of Ancient China have often been shipped from museum to museum across the globe (NGV included), in order for eager historians and culture-enthusiasts alike to bask in the brilliance of this fablesome force.

As part of our prize we’re offering up two tickets for the skin-prickling experience of meeting this towering collection of military magnificence at the Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s Mausoleum Site Museum – one of the most significant sites of contemporary archeological discoveries in the world.

2. Cycle the City Walls

Cycle the city walls

If you’re not one to shy away from exploring a city on two wheels, you won’t be able to get enough of this opportunity. Perhaps not the greatest wall in China - though this is merely a technicality - the Xi’an Ancient City Wall provides a sublime cycling spot.

With views spanning far and wide, this historically-charged heritage has a lot to offer in its mere 8.5 miles. Although walking the wall is still a spectacular experience, we suggest booking a bike tour for the ultimate fusion of history lesson and pedal practice.

3. Hiking Mount Huashan

Hiking Mount Huashan

Dizzying heights, dancing with danger and a workout to remember; if you’ve got a penchant for chasing that rush of adrenaline then this is the perfect peak for you.

Not one for the faint-hearted, the South Peak of this mountain has earnt itself a reputation as one of the most dangerous hikes in China and sits a vertigo-inducing 2,155 meters above sea level. Despite the treacherous trek to the top, the rocks are oozing with natural beauty from each and every crevice – it’s definitely a point of interest for your postcards.

4. A Tang to It

A Tang to it

If you’re a fan of all things fantasy, this is the destination for you. In an attempt to pay homage to the Tang Dynasty, Tang Paradise’s shows and optical spectacles are performed day and night at what claims to be the largest cultural theme park in the northwest region of China.

5. Munch Your Way Through Muslim Street

Munch your way through Muslim Street

Last but certainly not least favourite for the foodies, this stop-off at the Huimin Muslim Quarter in the old town of Xi’an is the perfect way to peruse of an evening – spicy lamb skewer in hand, of course.

If food isn’t your thing, then the aromas and history of the Arab imprint of the Silk Road provides reason enough to parade around the streets, and who’s to say if a paprika-roasted potato might tickle your fancy along the way.

6. Huaqing Palace

Huaqing Palace

This hot spot provides more than a mere thermal bath, but is also drowning in historical significance. The palace served as a winter retreat for many Chinese emperors during their relevant dynasties.

The hot springs went through its most major rebuild in the Tang Dynasty under Emperor Xuanzong, and played a major part in the Emperor’s romance with his consort Yang Guifei. The spot has now been restored to its original, romantic glory and boasts a series of imperial pools for your own enjoyment. Escape the bustle of Xi’an and end your night with a breathtaking performance of Chan Hen Ge, a cinematic show of the Emperor’s love story in a stunning open-air theatre that incorporates music, dance, water and fire under the night sky.

7. Stele Yourself Away

Stele yourself away

For all you history enthusiasts, this should be an experience to remember. Stele Forest is a museum located in a former Confucian Temple and housing a collection of Steles and stone sculptures which has been solidifying since 1087.

The museum is also surrounded by a district of stores and stalls that sell a dizzying selection of all things calligraphy, stone sculptures, tools and awe-inspiring artwork.

8. A Wild Goose Chase?

A wild goose chase?

A Buddhist structure built in the Tang Dynasty, this Giant Wild Goose Pagoda held sutras and figurines of the Buddha that were brought to China from India by the famous translator and traveler Xuanzang.

Visitors can clamber up the seven flights of stairs inside the tower for an unforgettable vista of Xi’an city. The precinct has a public square which hosts a magical musical fountain and light show at night.

9. Become an Accomplished Calligrapher

Become an accomplished calligrapher

Xi’an boasts a myriad of opportunities to learn about Chinese culture, but we think the most immersive way to understand a place is to get stuck in yourselves.

The Tang Bo Art Museum is one of many penned locations that allow tourists to try their hand at writing in real Ancient Chinese script. Calligraphy is nearly always harder than it looks, so this may be one for the creatives with a panache for the pen.

10. Have a Gao-nder

Have a Gao-nder

This former residence of the Gao family - a jubilant selection of aristocrats during the Ming dynasty - is a glorious place to spend an afternoon of nosing around at ancient riches.

As one of the best preserved traditional Chinese residences in Xi’an, it’s a blessing that the place allows visitors to experience and picture the lives of those around hundreds of years ago. The mansion now serves as a sightseeing spot, hosting learning sessions for traditional paper cutting, entrancing shadow play shows and traditional Qin opera performances within the grounds.

What exactly does the prize include?

  • Two return Economy flights on Virgin Airlines to Xi’an China from your nearest capital Australian city
  • Five nights of accommodation in a Junior Suite including breakfast for two at Sofitel Xian on Renmin Square
  • $1,000 spending money
  • Two entry tickets to visit the Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s Mausoleum Site Museum

How can you win a trip to this terrific city?

The competition is running within the Sky Garden display suite at The Glen Shopping Centre until October 12th. All you need to do is take a trip to the display suite, sign up with your name and email via the tablets and you’re in with the chance to visit the vast array of sites Xi’an has to offer.

Plus, if you visit the display suite before October 5th, you can immerse yourself in the NGV Winter Masterpiece, with exclusive behind the scenes videos and imagery available to the Sky Garden display only.