We rented a private car to bring us to the different attractions along the way to the Terracotta warriors (which frankly speaking, most people associate Xi’an with). And I’ll share with you in my next few posts why Xi’an as a pit-stop in your China travels has more to offer than just these ancient relics. In fact, the warriors while impressive, was not my favourite point of interest during my stay at Xi’an. But we’re going off-track.
Based on the recommendations from the tour promoter at our hotel, we visited Banpo Museum (半坡博物馆: ban po bo wu guan), Terracotta warriors (兵马俑: bing ma yong) and lastly Mt. Li (骊山: li shan). She recommended us to choose between Mt. Li and the Huaqing Hot Springs because you can see the green pool from the top of Mt. Li. So we decided to go for the mountain one. I would suggest going for a private car only if you wish to visit the sights along the way, other than the warriors. If not, based on the directions provided by others online, it seems pretty straight-forward to take the public transport.
We started the day at about 8.30 am and set off for Banpo museum but we barely BARELY managed to beat the tourist crowd. There was still a substantial number of them coming in behind us when we arrived. Luckily, our driver got the entrance tickets (65 yuan) beforehand and we didn’t need to queue for it, woohoo!!! So the banpo museum is a protected zone that shows the ruins from a Neolithic matriarchal community of the Yangshao Culture dating back about 6,000 years ago. It’s a fairly small museum but you’ll be able to see how the people lived and how they were buried.
These little jars were burial jars and a child would be placed inside. The jars would then be placed near their houses. Can you imagine squeezing a child’s body in there?! They would have to have a fairly small build to even fit inside. But to be fair, it wouldn’t surprise me if children in the past are so small in build.
The square outline below depicts the floor size of the houses in the past. It’s actually pretty small and you kind of appreciate the size of the houses we live in nowadays.
An interesting pointed-end jar
The museum also had a section talking about how the characters of our Chinese surname has evolved as well as it’s development from it’s ancestor surname. Unfortunately, my surname is considered too “new” to be on the list of important surnames. Haha.
After the museum, we headed to the highlight of the trip: the Terracotta warriors. From the carpark, you have to walk straight for maybe 5 mins to reach the ticket office. Tickets cost 150 yuan per person. From this entrance, you’ve to walk another 10-15 mins to get to the pits. Alternatively, you may choose to take the tram. But I’m not sure how much that would cost.
There’re 3 pits in the museum. A recommended route would be pit 1 > pit 3 > pit 2. Pit 1 is the biggest and has most of the terracotta warriors excavated. Pit 3 is much smaller compared to pit 1, with the area partially excavated. Lastly, pit 2 is left largely untouched. In this way, you’ll first be amazed by the sight and as you progress along, you’ll get an idea of how the warriors were slowly dug up.
It was a tough squeeze to the front to get this classic overview of the rows and rows of terracotta warriors. This picture came with a lot of shoving and pushing at the sides from the people around you.
Just look at the crowd in front!
Next up, is pit 3! You can see how some of the warriors are half “dug out” and half buried under the soils. It’s truly a tough job to carefully rescue them from the layers and layers of hardened clay and soil without damaging the artefacts. Super impressive!
Concluding the end of the museum visit with pit 2. Being a cheapo, I shamelessly stood (within hearing distance) of a family who had an English-speaking tour guide with them. See the wire covering the hole in the picture below. It’s actually dug by archaeologists who wish to see if there are any objects below that would make further excavating efforts worth it.
This is in comparison to the underground tunnel built by thrives to steal the precious clay figures.
Just look at the scale of this untouched place! One can only wonder at the amount of soldiers buried alongside the Qin Emperor (秦始皇: Qin Shi Huang).
Piecing of parts in progress…
The remarkable details on the sole of the shoe.
Lunch was at this “hotel” place in the near vicinity of the museum. Atypical of a touristy place, food was pricey and bleh. The food below are cold noodles (凉皮: liang pi) and some tofu dish.
The tofu dish was pretty salty by itself but I think it’ll go pretty well with rice. These two dishes were the only ones I could even swallow as the rest were simply not fit of human consumption nor worth mentioning.
After lunch, it was about a 10 minutes ride to Li shan, where we took a cable car ride up to the peak and walk down. The price for the one-way cable car up and the entrance ticket to the scenic area (i.e. the path you’ll take to walk down the mountain) is 70 yuan. This comes with a chinese-speaking mountain guide who’ll explain to you the chinese legends that surround this mountain. But as my chinese is not super fantastic, there was some difficulty understanding what he was trying to say. Especially since he was 2 big tour groups plus my aunt and I at the same time. I gave up listening halfway down and ended up loitering at the back of the group so I could get some people-free photos. Lol. Would I recommend coming here? Not really. You’re pretty much walking down steps the entire time (pretty quickly as well) such that it’s hard to observe the surrounding scenery and pay attention to the guide at the same time.
There’s a ton of red bands tied along the railings. It’s believed to bring safety and luck to the person in his/her journey.
Sunset pavilion (晚照亭: wan zhao ting). Apparently the sunset here is one of the eight scenic sights in Guangzhong.
Some ingots lining the pathway…
The half-way point where we stopped for a short break and to enjoy the cool breeze. It was also important because my legs were getting pretty jelly-like after walking down the entire time. I did not have this problem when we hike 华山: hua shan 2 days later which I’ll talk about in the next few posts 🙂
Each drawings on the side of the pavilion here is different and it shows the main scenic spots at Li shan.
Finally down from all that steps.
I shall end the post with a statue of the Nuwa goddess (女娃娘娘: nü wa niang niang) who was thought to create the human race according to the Chinese legends. Till the next post, bye!