The Terracotta Warriors and Horses (兵马俑) is world famous and a must-visit attraction for visitors in Xi’an. To get there from the Xi’an City Center, make your way to the Xi’an Railway Station (not the Xi’an North Station), there you would find a Tourism bus named “游 5 (306 路)” to bring you to the Terracotta Museum.
We caught the 8am Tourism bus 游 5 (306 路) from Xi’an Railway Station on Monday morning 8am and to avoid the crowd but unfortunately it was still crowded.
There is a bus conductor who stands in front of this service with a sign. Once board, get a seat, when the bus is full and starts moving, the bus conductor will come around to collect money for the fare, it costs 7 Yuan to get to the Terracotta Museum.
Beware, there are many fakes buses claiming to be this bus 游 5 (306 路) and there are many impostors trying to dress the same as this public bus service conductor, in attempt to get you to patronize their bus service.
All buses stop along the main road outside the Terracotta Warriors museum. There is a 300 meters walk from the bus stop to the ticket office. Along the way, there are restaurants and drink / snack vendors. Closer to the ticket office, there are small boxy stalls with official tour guides – they are distinguishable by their white shirts and dark trousers. Most also wear tags on a lanyard.
After that, go through and follow the pathway to the ticket checking point, and yet another ticket checking point about a 5 minutes walk further in. We passed on catching the buggy to the entrance and preferred the walk. We didn’t pay for a tour guide and they didn’t hassle us when we said no.
1st Checking Point
2nd Checking Point
The site was amazing and definitely worth doing a half day to see, and as early as possible to avoid tour groups. Everyone is trying to take a picture shot or selfie here. The crowd can get rather intense in the afternoon where many tour groups come along as well. Try to come early or in the late afternoon but do note the closing hours.
We started exploring Pit 1, which is also the biggest excavation pits, followed by Pit 2 and 3. The entire Pit 1 is enclosed within a mega structure, which protects the site from external weathers. What lay in front of us was the majestic view of columns of Terracotta Warriors and Horses, positioned in an army battle formation. Each of these figurines were handmade, lifelike and having different facial expressions and postures.
As we walked down the side, we realized that the entire pit is still not fully excavated. Many broken pieces of the terracotta warriors and horses still lay within the pits, waiting to be restored in the future. All the introductions and explanations here have proper English translation, thus it shouldn’t be an issue for international tourists to understand different parts of the pit.
After touring one round the Pit 1, we proceeded to the Pit 2. Other than the terracotta warriors and horses, we can find war chariots and many bronze weapons here. There’s an exhibition here to showcase some of the special discoveries, such as the Kneeling Archer, Standing Archer, Terracotta General, Cavalryman with the Saddled Horse and bronze weapons. At one area of the pit, we could see the excavation work is still on-going.
Next at the Pit 3, it is much smaller, but the terracotta figurines here were better preserved, as the pit was not burned as compared to Pit 1 and 2. Even the original floor tiles can be seen here.
The Terracotta Army Museum is part of the bigger Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s Mausoleum Site, which also comprise of the Emperor’s Tomb Mound at the foot of Mount Li. The entrance tickets we purchased permits visit to these 2 locations.
The Emperor’s Tomb Mound is located 2.2 km away from the ticket office and the Terracotta Museum. Visitors could take the free shuttle bus services between these 2 locations.
As we left about 3pm, we could see crowds coming in. Buy your gifts not at the first tourist shops as you exit but keep walking around and you will get a much better deal. And don’t accept the price they say, halve it and then when they say no, walk away and they will come running after you.
How to get to Terracotta Warriors and Horses (兵马俑)
For money-saving trip to the Terracotta Warriors, take a public bus is a good choice. You have two choices:
It is very easy to find the Tourism bus 5(306 路) running between Xian Railway Station to Terracotta Museum. If you stand facing Xian Railway Station, The Tourism bus 5(306 路) parks at the parking lot on your right or east side. You don’t have to buy the bus ticket in advance. Just jump on the bus and later a bus conductor will come to you and collect the money 7 Yuan per person.
Basic Information on the Bus
Bus Line : Tourism bus 5(306 路)
First Bus : 07:00; Last Bus 19:00
Line Length : 42 Km
Drive Time : 0ne Hour
Bus Stops : Totally 12 stop on route
Bus Stop No.01 : Xian Railway Station
Bus Stop No 08 : Huanqing Hot Spring
Bus Stop No 12 : Terracotta Museum
Be sure to get off at the last destination – Terracotta Museum since the Bus 5(306 路) is scheduled to stop at several tourist attractions including Huaqing Hot Spring, Qin Shi Huang’s Mausoleum.
You don’t need to get off at these stops. The very last stop ( the 12th stop ) of this bus is the Terracotta Museum. Just stay on the bus until you get to the last stop. Remember where you get off the bus terminal.
After finishing your visiting the Terracotta Museum, come to the same parking lot and take the exact bus 5(306 路) since there are some other “fake” bus 306 which eagerly push you to take their buses.
If you arrive at Xian North Railway Station in Xian, you can take the free shuttle bus from Xian North Railway Station to the Terracotta Museum site provided that you have an arrival high-speed train ticket on the same day and you have bought the ticket for the Terracotta Museum.
To get the free shuttle bus pass, you need to go to the information center in Xian North Railway Station to buy your entry ticket for Terracotta Museum. The Information Center is located south of the entrance to Subway Line 2 on the B1 of Xian North Railway Station.
You use your arrival train ticket and the admission ticket for Terracotta Museum in exchange for the free shuttle bus pass going to Terracotta Museum. The free shuttle pass is valid for three days. That means if you arrive at Xian North Railway Station later in the evening, you can use the free shuttle pass for next day.
Opening time and entrance fees
Opening Hours : 8:30AM – 5:30PM
Entrance Fee : 150 Yuan (March 1-November 30) 120 Yuan (December 1- the end of February)
The ticket also includes the entrance to Qin Shi Huang’ Mausoleum.
Walking from Ticketing office to Entrance Gate
It takes 5-10 minutes walking from the ticketing office to the entrance gate. If you pay 5 Yuan, you take a small tram ride to the entrance gate. In my opinion, if you are in good shape, just avoid using the small tram.
Free luggage storage service
On the left side of the Ticketing Office is the Tourist Information Center which offers free luggage storage service.
Rent an audio guide? Hire a tour guide? or Using a guidebook?
How to visit the Terracotta Museum? You have three choices:
1) Rent an audio guide ( recorded guide ). You just pay 40 Yuan an audio tour and deposit 100 Yuan. The voice sounds like an American accent and it is easy to understand and informative.
2) Using a tour guide service. When you are going to buy your tickets at the ticketing office, tons of tour guides will come to you, eager to offer you the guide service.
If you haven’t done much homework before you came to Xian. You are advised to hire a local tour guide to guide or translate for you at the price of about 100-150 Yuan. You will get more knowledge than from a guidebook or the recordings. Just avoid the shopping sites your local guide may suggest you to go.
Toilets in the Terracotta Museum are free
You will enjoy free toilets inside Terracotta Museum and they are the same squatting-style facility like everywhere else in china.
Exit from the Terracotta Museum
After you finish visiting the Terracotta Museum and leave for your bus terminal, or in a word, on the way back, you have to pass through an area with a lot of shops and restaurants. This obviously poses some pressure on you to buy some souvenirs or spend some money here.