Terracotta Army Travel Guide – What We Would Have Liked to Know Before Visiting

Author Carina Klein
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Everything you need to know before visiting the Terracotta Army in Xi’an.

The Terracotta Army also known as the Terracotta Warriors and Horses is undoubtedly the main draw of Xi’an and a main attraction in all of China.

During our 2 week backpacking trip to China, we visited the Terracotta Warriors in a budget-friendly way. Here’s our travel guide:

Visiting the Terracotta Army Travel Guide

Is the Terracotta Army Worth Visiting?

The Terracotta Army is absolutely worth a visit! It is one of the largest tombs in the world and on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1987.

It’s one of China’s main tourist attractions and dubbed the “8th Wonder of the World”.

Yes, the place is crowded – but it’s crowded for a reason.

We – as well as everybody we have met in China – thought the Terracotta Warriors were fascinating.

Picture of Kneeling Archer Terracotta Warrior
Kneeling Archer Terracotta Warrior

How to Get to the Terracotta Army from Xi’An

Getting to the Terracotta Army with Public Transport

We went from our hostel to the Terracotta Army with public transport. We took

  1. Metro Line 1 to Fangzhicheng
  2. Metro Line 9 to Huaquin Pool
  3. Bus 612 to the Terracotta Warriors

We paid 12 RMB. The journey took almost two hours. The Xi’an metro is super straight forward and eventually, we also managed to find the right bus stop.

Our accommodation in Xi’an

We stayed at Xi'an Desti Youth Park Hostel Bell & Drum Tower and can 100% recommend it. The location of the hostel is excellent.

Other Options to Get from Xi’An to the Terracotta Army

  1. Taxi: You can take a taxi but the drivers are quite scammy so we avoided taking taxis in China.

  2. Bus: Theoretically, there should be direct tourist buses from downtown Xi’an to the Terracotta Army. To be honest, we couldn’t really figure out the system. Additionally, we read about bus scams where buses pretend to be public but overcharge you and maybe even drive you to a shop.

    Bucketlist2life tip: Public buses don’t have any touts!
  3. An agency

  4. We just rocked up to the ticket office on the day of our visit and bought tickets on the spot.

Bucketlist2life tip: There’s a daily limit of 65,000 visitors. It might be a bit risky to buy your tickets on the same day.
Picture of Terracotta Army ticket office
Terracotta Army ticket office

How Much Does it Cost to Visit the Terracotta Army?

We paid 120 RMB per person.

Is the Terracotta Army Crowded

We went first thing in the morning around 9 am. Apparently, that’s also when all the tour groups go so it was outrageously crowded.

We heard the advice to go later in the day when all the tour groups have left.

Bucketlist2life tip: When you decide to go later, make sure that you get a ticket as they are limited. Using a ticket agency is certainly more expensive but it can give you the peace of mind that you will get in.
Picture of Crowds at the Terracotta Army
Crowds at the Terracotta Army

Visiting the Terracotta Army as a Non-Chinese Speaker

All the major signs were bilingual and we always found English-speaking staff as well.

There’s a but coming… But there was not a lot of English signage explaining the sights. To be honest, there was not a lot of signage at all. And even if there was, it was too crowded to read peacefully.

We absolutely recommend you read up on the basics before you go or hire an English-speaking guide.

Bucketlist2life tip: If you hire a guide, make sure that you get an official one!
Picture of The three halls of the Terracotta Army
The three halls of the Terracotta Army

Terracotta Army – What to See

There are three halls or pits and one museum.

360 Degree Cinema

We recommend you start with the movie in the 360° cinema – especially if you’re like us and you don’t conduct the most thorough of research before you go.

It’s completely free and bilingual in Chinese and English.

During our visit, we were surprised at how empty it was compared to the rest of the site.

Picture of 360-degree cinema at Terracotta Army
360-degree cinema at Terracotta Army

The Three Halls

  1. The first hall or pit is not only the most famous one but also the largest one with more than 3000 warriors.

    The best (and most crowded) photo spot is right at the entrance. Turn right to get closer to the Terracotta Warriors. When you take a look at their faces and bodies, you’ll notice that they are all different from each other.

    Further towards the back, you can also spot some (surprisingly small) horses.

Picture of Terracotta Warriors Pit 1
Terracotta Warriors Pit 1
  1. The second hall or pit showcases some of the actual excavation work.

    The highlight of this hall is the statues displayed in individual glass cases. They include kneeling and standing archers, generals, and a horse. The beauty of these displays is that you can get close to the terracotta statues.

Picture of Terracotta Warriors Pit 2
Terracotta Warriors Pit 2
  1. The third hall or pit is also dubbed the command centre.

    It’s the smallest of the three pits. Here, you can see the commending staff and some horses.

Picture of Terracotta Warriors Pit 3
Terracotta Warriors Pit 3


Honestly, most of the information here was in Chinese so we didn’t get that much out of it.

Bucketlist2life tip: In old travel guides, you can still read about the Exhibition of Bronze Chariots. This has been moved to the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor.
Picture of Terracotta Warrior Museum
Terracotta Warrior Museum

Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor

Your entrance ticket also includes the entrance to the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor as well as a free shuttle bus.

We had read that it takes around an extra two hours to visit and decided against it for time reasons.

How Long Does it Take to Visit the Terracotta Army?

Visiting the Terracotta Army is an easy half-day trip. We arrived at 9 am, stayed for 2-3 hours, and were back in downtown around 2 pm.

Can You Eat and Drink at the Terracotta Army

This is China, of course, you can eat and drink at the Terracotta Army. There were no bag checks and we could easily bring in some water and light snacks.

Additionally, you can get drinks and snacks just next to the main halls.

And of course, there’s also a whole shopping strip including restaurants and whatnot your way out.

Picture of Shopping strip at the Terracotta Army
Shopping strip at the Terracotta Army

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