Visiting the terracotta army is pretty much the sole reason I made the detour to Xi’an on our China trip. Fortunately, Xi’an us a beautiful city with plenty of things to do to fill a few days – so in the end I was very happy to have taken the trip.
The terracotta army is easily accessible from central Xi’an. There’s a bus station right next to the central train station where you will need to catch bus number 306 ( tourist bus number 5). If you can’t find the bus stop there’s a tourist information centre nearby who will be able to point you in the right direction. The bus costs 7¥ and takes just over an hour; fortunately, the terracotta warriors are the last stop, so there’s no need to worry about where to get off.
A ticket into the army costs 150¥, unlike many other places in China they do not offer ant student reduction but in my opinion the 150¥ is well worth it. The entrance ticket gives you access to the 3 pits. Pit 1 is the largest and is separated into 3 distinctive sections. Towards the front of the pit there are rows and rows of warriors restored back to their former glory. In the centre of the pit you can see where the restoration is taking place. This section gives us a glimpse at the further warriors and horses still to be excavated. The final part of pit 1 allows you to see more of the restoration process and gives insight into how the millions of pieces are painstakingly put back together.
Pits 2 and 3 show more of the army currently being excavated but I particularly enjoyed pit 2. Around the edge of the pit they have fully restored individual warriors preserved in large glass boxes. There is plenty of information around these in both Mandarin and English and the text teaches you about the hierarchy within the army that was built.
If you’re doing the trip on a budget then I would fully recommend not getting a guide or even an audio guide. I know for private guide it was upwards of 100¥ and the audio guides were 40¥. My advice would be to do plenty of reading before you go. There is ample of English text on each exhibition and if there’s anything you want to know more about, make a note and do some research once your back at your accommodation.
I spent around 2 hours at the terracotta army, plus an hour each way travelling time. I honestly believe this is a must do attraction if you’re in china and well worth the money.