Once the end point of Silk Road, Xi’an became home to a fascinating medley of cultures and religions. Perhaps as far back as the Ming dynasty, the city’s Hui (non-Uyghur Chinese Muslim) community have resided in the narrow backstreets north of Drum Tower. Wander past traditional butcher shops, sesame-oil factories, interesting Islamic food markets and numerous mosques, or visit at night when the area is particularly atmospheric. Utterly fascinating, Xi’an’s sacred Great Mosque stunningly blends Chinese and Islamic architecture; a tranquil haven amidst the buzz of the busy city, the mosque is surrounded by beautiful blooming magnolias in the spring.
Tomb of the Emperor Jingdi
An underrated highlight of any trip to Xi’an, the Tomb of the Emperor Jingdi is the splendid burial place of the Han-dynasty emperor who lived from 188-141BC. Emperor Jingdi, inspired by Taoist rules, did much to improve the life of his subjects, lowering taxes, reducing military expeditions and improving criminal punishment; the tomb’s contents offer a fascinating insight into the rule, and daily life, in Xi’an those many centuries ago. Explore the captivating excavation area – believed to house up to 81 burial pits – before learning more and marvelling at the large display of impressive terracotta figurines in the museum.
Whilst Xi’an showcases an eclectic array of religious buildings, you can still find plenty of traditional Chinese Buddhist temples and pagodas. Though quite an expedition to reach, Famen Temple’ s intricacy, superb museum and collection of Tang-dynasty treasures make the journey worthwhile. Built in 2nd century AD to house scared finger bones of Buddha - originally kept in tiny crystal and jade coffins - the temple remains an important pilgrimage site. The sole Tibetan Buddhist temple in the entire province, Guǎngrén Temple hums with mystery and spiritual energy, whilst the iconic Big Goose is one of China’s best examples of Tang-style pagoda.
Back in 1974, a poor local man - whilst digging a well - accidently unearthed an underground army of over ten-thousand terracotta clay warriors. Although the story differs dramatically between the older locals (all adamant it was they who discovered the huge tomb), the life-size figures remain a hugely popular and must-visit tourist attraction. Set within three enormous pits, it is the sheer magnitude of the project that displays such an impressive feat of ingenuity, each carefully individually crafted warrior reflecting great discipline and craftsmanship.
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Travelling With Children or Without an Adult
Children travelling without both parents should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country (for example, South Africa) or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country. Please contact the relevant Embassy for the county you are travelling to for further information.
Visa and Advance Passenger Information
All passengers must ensure they have a valid, acceptable passport, any required visa and any other documentation for both the final destination and any stop-off points en route. Please make sure that Advance Passenger Information is submitted in advance to travel for all destinations. Failure to hold correct documentation or submitting incorrect details with Advance Passenger Information or Visa applications may result in refusal of carriage or entry into a country. Please check with the relevant Embassy regarding visa requirements well in advance of your travel date. Charges may apply for some visas.
Passengers not travelling on a British Passport are advised to contact their relevant Foreign & Commonwealth office for individual Visa requirements.
For up-to-date resort information, visit www.fco.gov.uk
Health facilities, hygiene and disease risks vary worldwide and you should take health advice about your specific needs from your general practitioner or a specialist clinic as early as possible before travel. Those planning to become pregnant should discuss their travel plans with their healthcare provider to assess their risk of infection with Zika. For information about Zika, other mosquito-borne diseases (such as Dengue fever and Chikungunya), Lyme Disease (caused by tick bites), and to receive advice on mosquito bite avoidance measures, please visit http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/insect-tick-bite-avoidance/
In addition, we highly recommend that you seek specialist advice from your doctor and, where recommended, obtain vaccinations or tablets for protection against, for example: Malaria, Hepatitis A, Polio and Typhoid. In some cases, treatments for Malaria should begin well in advance of travel. Travellers may also be required to show Yellow Fever Certificates on arrival in certain destinations ie, some African countries. Please note that you are strongly advised against scuba-diving for 24 hours before travelling by air. We would also like to draw your attention to the risk of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) and recommend that you consult with your doctor before travelling.
Visit the FCO website and select your destination country for the very latest travel advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
Additional sources of information include: www.hpa.org.uk, http://nathnac.net,
www.fco.gov.uk, www.hpa.org.uk and www.nathnac.org, your General Practitioner or a specialised clinic.