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Travel to Tibet from Xian

Why travel from Xian to Lhasa?

If you are planning a trip to Lhasa from China mainland, Xian, by any means, should be on your travel list. Xian is one of the most important cities in China's history. Xian's history is as old as China's itself. It is just like a living history book of China. Xian is one of the birthplaces of the ancient Chinese civilization. As a saying goes: "Go to Shanghai and you will find a 100-year-old China; go to Beijing and you will find a 1000-year-old China; go to Xian and then you will find a 3000-year-old China."

Xian was closely tied to Tibet in history. About 1,300 years ago, Princess Wencheng of the Tang Dynasty (618-907) left the capital Chang'an (present-day Xian) for the Tubo Kingdom, today's Tibet, which was about 2,000 miles away in the southwest. She was to marry Songtsan Gambo, King of Tubo, to whom her royal father had just married. This interracial matrimony helped strengthen the ties between the Tang Dynasty and the Tubo Kingdom. The story of Princess Wencheng and Songtsan Gambo has been cherished by the Tibetans and the rest of the Chinese people ever since.

Besides, as the eastern terminal of the Silk Road and the site of the famous Terracotta Warriors of the Qin Dynasty, Xian has won a reputation all over the world. More than 3,000 years of history including over 1,100 years as the capital city of ancient dynasties, have endowed Xian with an amazing historical heritage. Tourists marvel at the numerous historical sites and cultural relics in and around the city.

What’s more, as an important economic, cultural, industrial and educational center of the central-northwest China, Xian provides visitors with modern and convenient facilities.

Therefore, Xian is a stop you can not miss when you are planning a trip to Lhasa from Beijing, Shanghai, etc.

How to travel from Xian to Tibet?

Option 1. Xian to Tibet by Train

Taking a train from Xian to Lhasa will be a great trip. Especially the train trip on the world's highest railway provides wonderful scenery all the way. Unfortunately, at present there is no train originating from Xian to Lhasa though several trains makes stops in Xian, such as the trains from Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chongqing to Lhasa. It is not easy to get a train ticket to Lhasa in Xian. Therefore, if you decide to take a train to Lhasa from Xian, you'd better reserve the train tickets in advance. We offer train tickets online booking service for your convenience.

See more at Xian Lhasa Train Schedule and Fare

Xian Tibet TrainTrains to Tibet from Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chongqing would stop over at Xian.

If you fail to get a train ticket from Xian to Lhasa and still want to experience the Qinghai-Tibet railway, you can take a plane or train to Xining and then take a train from Xining to Lhasa. But booking the train tickets beforehand is also highly recommended for it is never easy to get a train ticket to Tibet since the operation of Qinghai-Tibet Railway.

See more at Xining to Lhasa Train Schedule and Price

Option 2. Xian to Tibet by Air

Xian to Tibet FlightIt would take you more than 3 hours to fly to Tibet from Xian.

Compared with travelling from Xian to Lhasa by train, taking flights to Tibet from Xian is more popular for its convenience and time-saving advantage. Currently, there are 8 direct flights a day flying from Xian to Lhasa, operated by Sichuan Airlines, Tibet Airlines, Air China, and China Eastern Airlines. Xian Lhasa flights take off at Xian Xianyang International Airport and arrive at Lhasa Gonggar Airport, among which some are non-stop flights and the rest would stop over at Xiahe, Xining or Lanzhou.

See more at Xian to Lhasa Flight Time

Before you get to Lhasa, do plan at least one day tour in Xian.

Facts about Xian

1. Xian is one of the most important cities of China in history, even in the world, with a history of more than 3,100 years, as old as China's itself.
2. Xian is one of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China.
3. Xian has been the capital of 13 dynasties, to name a few, Zhou, Qin, Han and Tang.
4. Xian was the start point of the Silk Road.
5. Xian is the largest and most developed city in the central to the northwestern part of China.
6. Xian is one of the ten largest cities in China.

What to See in Xian?

Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum

Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum in XianThe Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum is the most famous tourist site in Xian.

It is located about 50km east of the Xian City. The site includes Pit 1, Pit 2 and Pit 3 as well the exhibition hall of the chariots and horses.

The Pit 1, the largest one of the three, is an oblong shape of tunnel occupying an area of 14,260 square metres, 230 metres long from east to west, 62 metres wide from north to south and 5 metres deep. The terra-cotta warriors and horses in the Pit 1 are lined in a real battle formation.

The Pit 2, situated 20 metres to the north of Pit 1, is L-shaped and composed of four different mixed military forces in four rows. It is recorded that there were more than 1, 000 pieces of pottery figures, 500 horse-driven chariots and saddled horses. The pit is about 6,000 square metres.

With 520 square metres, the Pit 3 is in the concave shape. It is situated 25 metres to the north of Pit 1 and to the west of Pit 2. One chariot, four terra-cotta horses and 68 clay armoured warriors were discovered here. Besides, a re-maining deer-horn and animal bones were discovered in this pit. This is maybe the site where sacrificial offerings and war prayers were practiced.

To get there you may take a public bus from Xian Train Station Bus Terminal, or take a taxi or rent a car from a local tour company.

Bell and Drum Towers

Bell and Drum Towers Square XianThe Bell Tower and Drum Tower are located in the center of Xian City.

The Drum Tower is located northwest of the Bell Tower of Xian, across the Bell Tower and Drum Tower Square. In Chinese history from Ming Dynasty, each city had a bell tower and a drum tower. The bell was sounded at dawn and the drum at dusk each day in ancient time, a means of telling time and an alarm in emergency situations.The two towers are also called the 'sister buildings' or 'morning bell and dark drum'. But in modern times, they are not used as a timer any more. Atop the Bell Tower you will have a panoramic view of the Xian City; atop the Drum Tower you will have a bird's-eye view of the Muslim Quarters.

Shaanxi History Museum

Shaanxi History Museum in Xian ChinaShaanxi History Museum stands in the south of Xian city, covering an area of about 70, 000 square meters.

This Tang architectural style museum is a much modernized national history museum in China. It is one of the four largest museums in China ( the other three are Forbidden City Museum, Shanghai Museum and Henan Museum). It treasures more than 370,000 cultural relics, all of which are unearthed in Shaanxi province, including relics made of stone, bone, bronze, terra-cotta, china, jade, gold, silver and also murals, seals, calligraphy and paintings, etc. These relics can be traced back from over 1 million years ago to the end of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) and they reflect the history and people life in many aspects from culture, art to science etc. Most of the relics are rare old treasures in the world.

Big Wild Goose Pagoda

Big Wild Goose Pagoda in XianAs one of the most famous Chinese pagodas, Big Goose Pagoda is one of the oldest structures in China.

It was built inside the Ci En Temple in the south of Chang'an city (today's Xian) in 652 BC in Tang Dynasty (618-907). It is said that the pagoda was designed and built to consecrate and store the Sankrit Classics and Buddhist statues and relics by the eminent monk, Xuan Zang, who brought them from the ancient Indian. Xuan Zang was a great translator as well as a famous traveller. At the southern square of the Ci En Temple, there stands a bronze statue of Xuan Zang to commemorate the great achievement he has made in developing the Buddhism.

Xian City Wall

Xian City Wall BikingTourists can walk, even cycle on Xian City Wall.

Xian City Wall is considered as the best-preserved ancient city wall in China and also the largest and most complete military defensive systems in the world. It is also the main magnet of Xian. It was expanded in Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) from the city wall remains of the Shui and Tang Dynasty. Now it is 12 meters tall, 12-14 meters wide overing 14 kilometers in length with a deep moat surrounding it. The walls are still strong and solid nowadays. Its well-preserved walls, moat, gates, drawbridge, main towers, watchtowers, parapet walls and crenels etc display an ancient defense system in integrity for the tourists today. Walking around the City Wall takes about 3 hours. Tourist cars are available on the wall as well as bicycle-renting at the South Gate and the North Gate.

Hanyangling Mausoleum

Hanyangling Mausoleum XianWith an area of 20 square kilometers (4,942 acres), Hanyangling Mausoleum was built in the year 153 AD.

Hanyangling Mausoleum is a joint tomb of Liu Qi, a notable emperor of the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD), and his empress, Empress Wang. It is about 20 km away from Xian airport, 30 km north of the downtown Xian.

It is a magnificent and abundant cultural relic, comprising the emperor's tomb, empress' tomb, the south and north burial pits, ceremonial site, human sacrifice graveyard and criminals' cemetery. The mausoleum is neatly arranged, centered with the emperor's tomb, revealing the strict hierarchical social structure. The Outside Pits Exhibition Hall was opened in 2006 and is the first underground museum in China.

Tang Dynasty Music and Dance Show

Tang Dynasty Music and Dance Show XianTang Dynasty Music and Dance Show is a wonderful performance of the ancient music and dance.

When you visit Xian, Tang Dynasty Music and Dance Show is a must see you can not miss it. Xian, formerly known as Chang'an, has a very long history, and was the imperial capital during 13 dynastic periods. Of these, the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907) was the most prosperous and glorious of all. The Tang Dynasty Music and Dance Show is an outstanding exponent of this ancient stable and prosperous society, keeping alive its splendid culture and providing an insight into the peaceful life style of the period.

Great Mosque

Great Mosque of XianThe Great Mosque in Xian is one of the oldest, largest and best-preserved Islamic mosques in China.

Northwest to the Drum Tower, Great Mosque is one of the hottest attractions in Xian today. Unlike most mosques in Middle East Arab countries, the Great Mosque of Xian is completely Chinese in its construction and architectural style, except for some Arabic lettering and decorations.

The Great Mosque was firstly built in Tang Dynasty (618-907). After continuous constructions in the followings dynasties, this Muslim mosque has four rows of buildings with Ming and Qing dynasties architectural characters in an area of 12,000 square meters. Its 4, 000-square-meter main hall can hold 1, 000 people. Surrounded by several bustling lanes which are the most attractive with a wide area of stalls selling everything, snacks, antiques, and scripts and paining, this garden-like mosque looks pure and quiet.

Recommended Day Tours in Xian

1. One Day Xian Tour of Terracotta Warriors and Huaqing Hot Spring

This Xian day tour will take you to visit the amazing Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum, from Pit 1 to Pit 3. Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum is the Eighth Wonder of the World. More than 6, 000 different looking pottery figures depict the history of the Qin Dynasty from 221 BC-206 BC. And then move on to appreciate the imperial garden of Tang Dynasty - Huaqing Hot Spring - a palace since the Tang Dynasty, the resort place of many emperors in ancient.

2. One Day Xian Tour of Terracotta Warriors and Xian City Wall

In the morning, go to visit the Eighth Wonder of the World, the Terracotta Warriors, about 50 km east of the Xian City. It was listed by UNESCO in 1987 as one of the world cultural heritages. Spending two hours on this attraction is enough. And then back to Xian to visit the Ancient Xian City Wall. It's the most complete city wall that has survived in China, as well being one of the largest ancient military defensive systems in the world.

3. One Day Xian City Tour of Xian City Wall, Shaanxi History Museum, Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Bell and Drum Towers

This one day Xian tour focuses on the tourist sites in Xian City. Start at 9:00 am to visit the Ancient Xian City Wall known as the most complete city wall in China and one of the largest ancient military defensive systems in the world; and then to visit the Shaanxi History Museum housing a large collection of more than 370,000 historic and cultural relics and artifacts. Move on to visit the Great Mosque, one of the hottest attractions in Xian today, and the Bell Tower and Drum Tower to have a panoramic view of the Xian City.

Tibettravel.Org is a local travel operator in China, which can help you arrange all kinds of Xian day tours and tours to Tibet from Xian. If you want to get more Xian Lhasa tour routes, please contact us for free consulting service.

Master Catherine Jigme

About the Author - Master Catherine Jigme

With exceptional passion and outstanding leadership, Mrs. Catherine has dedicated herself to Tibet inbound tourism and China tour for 15 years. As one of the handful females who see great potential of Chinese inbound tourism, Catherine has made great contribution to promoting Tibet tourism and enhancing the employment of Tibetans and prosperity of local Tibetan community.

Over the years, she travelled overseas with Tibet Tourism Bureau many times to promote Tibet tourism. Currently, Catherine works as the marketing director of Tibet Vista, an opinion leader behind the whole team of Tibet Vista.

Email me about your travel idea

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