Wow! The half day tour with our guide Phoenix perfectly met our needs. The site was super crowded because of the National Holiday Week an experience in itself, but Phoenix led us through the throng, using her local knowledge to perfection. Her understanding of the site and its history was awesome and helped us to gain an insight in a short time. After some discussion, Phoenix was able to recommend a restaurant at the site with delicious local cuisine that topped off the morning. Because we only had a few hours free before flying out, we were able to alter the trip at the last minute for a reasonable extra fee so the driver could take us directly to the airport. This was really convenient, very appreciated, and took a lot of stress out of our travel arrangements.
This is the perfect tour for visiting the Terracotta Warriors! We were most impressed with Pit 1 and its thousands of warriors. Since the other two pits did not have as much to view, we walked through them rather quickly. Since we had some time left, our amazing and very informative guide, Phoenix, offered to take us to the Pagoda as well. Great way to see and learn about Xi'an in half a day. Highly recommended!
I imagine it's pretty hard to go wrong with this tour, because just seeing Pit 1 is enough to make one extremely excited. With our guide Lily from GuideWe, we were in very good hands. Also, we had great luck because it wasn't crowded at all in late February. Probably due to the cold weather 40F and that the Chinese New Year celebrations had ended. In any case, our guide was able to spend time without crowds showing us Pit 1 from every angle and explaining everything about the history. The other Pits were interesting too, as was the glass-enclosed warriors, weaponry, and many other exhibits she explained. Because we weren't delayed by crowds, we had time at the end of our tour to see the Xian City Wall. All in all, a terrific experience that we'll always remember.
I have wanted to see the Terra Cotta Warriors since I first read the National Geographic article of its discovery as a teenager in the 1970's with my grandfather. This tour definitely exceeded our expectations. Phoenix was our tour guide and she was excellent. She was very pleasant, professional and punctual. As we drove out to the site, she explained the history of the Emperor, the purpose of the Terra Cotta Warriors and the story of how this was found. She encouraged questions and she's extremely knowledgable. The grounds are ridiculously large and only 5 of the army has been uncovered to date. We started in the first large building and she gave us some time to acclimate. Phoenix pointed out specific soldiers and artifacts to view closer. She took time to show us how to tell the difference between soldiers, generals, etc. based upon the style of clothing, shoes, etc. She offered to take pictures of my husband and I along the way. She made sure to point out interesting facts in the museum. We explained how I first learned of the Warriors as a teenager - and she made sure to point out the actual copy of the National Geographic Magazine in which I first read the story. I was extremely touched by this gesture, especially because my grandfather and father have now passed. All in all, it was a great tour. In our opinion, there are 2 small things that kept this from being a 5 star day for us. We seemed to end the tour early, but Phoenix explained it was because traffic was lighter than anticipated. We felt a bit rushed through the museum and we would have liked to spend alittle more time there in retrospect. Also, we were uncomfortable with our initial entry to the site. As soon as we went through the gate, Phoenix ushered us to a gift shop before we realized what was happening. As we entered the shop, we were immediately surrounded by shop clerks. Phoenix said we were lucky that Mr. Young sp?, the farmer who found the army, was there that day signing books and taking pictures. Now, I'd read a bunch of things online not to be taken in outside the site gates, but this caught us by surprise. I looked in the cover page of the book and the man in front of us looked like the man the book years ago, but to this moment we are not really sure. We felt uncomfortable and didn't want to offend anyone - so we bought the package book, DVD and postcards. We are appreciative now that we are home to have the souvenirs but I still wasn't sure if we met one of the actual farmers so I've done further research. And, this is what upsets me. We knew that there were several farmers digging the day the army was found - and we knew that the villagers were moved from the area once the government came in and took over. But, we didn't know that the farmers/villagers were never compensated for their find and moves. Nor were we aware that the farmers are paid a VERY small stipend for greeting tourists and signing books/taking pictures for many, many hours. So, while we have souvenirs, we didn't actually do anything to supplement aging farmers or further secure their future. I know that's our issue coming from the US, but we try consciously not support others from being taken advantage. I know from other tours in Egypt and India that part of the tour industry typically promotes local trades, shops, etc. - and my husband and I often find it hard to say no when you are spending an entire day in a car with just your tour guide. But, we prefer to not even be put in this circumstances. We've learned over the years that in the first 15 minutes of meeting our guides we explicitly state that we are most interested in culture and history, and we do not want to shop at all. We didn't do this with Phoenix because we knew we were only going one place and we didn't even think this would come up. Now, I'm sure there's many people that would think wow, this is great to shop here, but we would have liked to have made the choice before we were already in the store in front of Mr. Young.
We booked this tour on the last minute, before boarding the plane to Beijing in Lisbon. We were extremely satisfied with it. Phoenix, our guide, spoke very good english and was very knowledgeable about the historic aspects of the site. Our taxi driver from the train station in Xi'an got lost and she was kind enough to explain the way over the telephone. She also took us to a nice and not expensive restaurant on the museum site to eat before seeing the Warriors. In conclusion, it was a very nice experience and I would highly recommend this tour.
Great half-day tour. Our driver and guide were great. They arrived at our hotel on time and we had a comfortable drive out to the warriors. Guide was very helpful taking us around the grounds and explaining the history. Seeing the terra cotta warriors was pretty amazing but it made it that much better to understand the history behind them and the story of how they were discovered and the renovation process. Highly recommend as this is a must see China destination.
The place itself was amazing - excellent viewing of the Warriors and no overly crowded with excellent weather. September. Jerry our guide was informative and answered all our questions with a knowledge base that reflected his experience. Mr Wong our driver was careful and the car was great. Thanks