Transportation networks in Xi’an are not as developed as in some major cities in China, but they serve their purpose. Most of the attractions are set near the city center, so if you take accommodation in this part of the city you will not need the transportation. However, if you still need it, there are several types of transport which can take you from point A to point B, but most likely you will use the tuk-tuk, bus or taxi.
From and to airport
Xian Xianyang International Airport (西安咸阳国际机场; www.xxia.com/en) is about 45 km northwest of Xi’an. There are 8 shuttle bus lines which operates between airport and Xi’an. You will find these buses as soon as you exit the airport building. Buses usually operates from 7:00 to 21:00 with 15-40 minutes frequency. One-way trip usually takes about 1 hour, while ticket fare is CNY26. Most popular lines are Line 1 (airport-Xishaomen; stops at Bell Tower; city-airport/airport-city 5:00-2:00 next day/7:00-last arrival flight; every 15 minutes), Line 3 (airport-Railway Station; city-airport/airport-city 6:00-21:00/8:00-00:00; every 30 minutes), and Line 4 (airport-Xian Hotel; stops at Big Wild Goose Pagoda; city-airport/airport-city 6:00-21:20/8:20-20:20; every 40 minutes).
Taxi is more expensive than shuttle bus, but more convenient option too. Taxi service in Xi’an is not regulated so you will have to bargain before you enter the taxi. One-way drive between airport and downtown will take about half an hour, and should cost about CNY110.Have your destination address written in Chinese.
There are two subway lines in Xi’an currently, Line 1 (East-West direction) and Line 2 (North-South direction) and they intersect in the center (near Bell Tower), and together create a cross shape. Both lines have a station in the city center, and north end station on Line 2 is North Railway Station. It is unlikely that you will use the metro while you are in Xi’an, but if you use it is good to know that the price of the ride varies from CNY2 to CNY5, depending on the distance. There is a plan is to expand the metro network in Xi’an and to open the 13 new lines.
There is a large network of bus lines in Xi’an, but it is generally difficult to use it, since the stations are written mainly in Chinese, and the drivers do not speak English. However, there are lines that have a stop near the tourist attractions and that could be used. These are tourist lines that are labeled with “游” meaning “tourist”. Keep in mind that during the summer months the humidity is really high, and most buses are not air-conditioned, which can be quite uncomfortable when it is crowded.
Tourist line 6 (游6; 7:00-19:30; CNY0.5-3.5) which, among other stations, make stops at Railway Station, Shaanxi History Museum, Big Wild Goose Pagoda.
Tourist line 7 (游7; 7:00-19:30; CNY0.5-3.5) which, among other stations, make stops at Railway Station, Bell Tower, South Gate, Small Wild Goose Pagoda.
Tourist line 8 or 610 (游8; 6:30-19:30; CNY1) which, among other stations, make stops at Railway Station, Bell Tower, Drum Tower, Small Wild Goose Pagoda, Shaanxi History Museum, Big Wild Goose Pagoda.
The biggest recommendation for taxis in Xi’an goes definitely to green and yellow taxi vehicles (CNY9 flag-fall rate for first 3 km, then CNY2 on every 1 km, from 23:00 to 6:00 flag-fall rate is CNY10, then CNY3 on every 1 km). Drives within the city walls should cost about CNY15. During the changing of shifts from 15:00 to 17:00 it is difficult to find a taxi, as well as in the morning (around 8:00 am) and evening rush hours (around 18:00).
Taxi vehicles in Xi’an are not regulated as in other major cities in China, and often do not use the taxi meter so you should inform and make an arrangement before you start your ride.
There are many tuk-tuk vehicles in Xi’an, especially within the city walls. They are safe, fast, and cheap. If you do not go far, which is most likely since attractions in Xi’an city are relatively close, it is the best to use a tuk-tuk. They are cheaper than a taxi, and during the traffic jams, they are also much faster. Drives within city walls should cost about CNY10.
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