Xian Travel Advice, Information and Directory

Health Care Accessing Money
Book Shops Visa Extensions
Internet Access Postal Services
Phone Services Online Resources

Health, Doctors, Pharmacies in Xian

There are plenty of pharmacies around Xian and there shouldn’t be any trouble finding one (although communication at pharmacies can be difficult).

There aren’t any dedicated international clinics in Xian. But if you need medical attention, the People’s Hospital of Shaanxi Province and the No. 2 College Affiliated to Xian Medical University are recommended for foreigners.

People’s Hospital of Shaanxi Province
Address: 214 Youyi Xi Lu
Tel: +86 (029) 8525 1331

No. 2 College Affiliated to Xian Medical University
Address: 36 Xi Wu Lu
Tel: +86 (029) 8727 3634

Accessing Money in Xian

ATMs that accept foreign cards are plentiful in Xian and ATMs almost always have a choice between English or Chinese operating language. Occasionally you will encounter an ATM that doesn’t accept foreign cards, but you can always rely on Bank of China or ICBC (Industrial and Commercial Bank of China) ATMs which are plentiful enough. Just look for the logo of your particular card (Visa, Mastercard, Maestro, etc) on the ATM. The Bank of China can always exchange money.

Western Union Services are offered at many China Post outlets, including the one listed under Post Offices and Courier Services (below).

Book Shops in Xian

Xian Foreign Languages BookstoreThe Foreign Languages Bookstore is the best option for English-language reading material in Xian. Otherwise, the major hotels also offer some books.

Foreign Languages Bookstore
This bookstore has a few English-language paperback novels, the standard range of classics, quite a few books about Chinese culture and travel, Lonely Planet guides and some foreign magazines. You can also pick up a good bilingual map of Xian here.
Address: 349 Dong Dajie. Tel: +86 (029) 8721 2197. Open: 9:00-19:30.

Visa Extensions in Xian

The Public Security Bureau that handles visa extensions in Xian is centrally located at #138 Xi Dajie.

Internet Access in Xian

All hotels and hostels in Xian will have some form of internet access. Almost all hotels of 3 star or higher classification have in-room internet access, which can be used if you’re traveling with a laptop. Many hotels provide this service for free while others charge anywhere from $5-$15 per day, depending on the hotel. Hotels will also have a business center with internet access as well as a printer.

Internet cafes are common in Xian, however, most have no English signs to identify them. Internet cafe is ‘wangba’ in Chinese and luckily these characters are quite distinctive (网吧). Keep your eye out for those characters when seeking an internet cafe.

Post Offices and Courier Services in Xian

The Chinese postal service is generally quite efficient. Postcards or letters sent from Xian will usually take around 7 or 8 working days China Post, Xianto reach North America, Europe or Australia. Parcels will take a bit longer. If you need things to be sent urgently then you can use one of the international courier services.

There are plenty of post offices around Xian. The main China Post outlet is right in the center of the old town, on the north-east corner of Bell Tower Square. China Post also offers an Express Mail Service which is a cheaper alternative to using international courier companies. In addition to postal services it is also possible to make Western Union transfers at this branch.

A number of international courier companies have offices in Xian. With a courier service, a letter will take about three or four days to reach North America, Europe or Australasia and cost around $50 to send. Packages will cost more, depending on their weight.

Address: 231 Tuanjie Dong Lu.
Tel: +86 (029) 8862 9868.
Website: www.tnt.com.cn/en/index.asp

Address: 99 Heping Lu
Tel: +86 (029) 720 6499
Website: www.cn.dhl.com/en.html

Address: 118 Laodong Lu
Tel: +86 (029) 8861 0606
Website: www.ups.com/content/cn/en/index.jsx

Phone Calls to and From Xian

The international phone code of China is “86” and the area code of Xian is “029”.

If you call to Xian from abroad, you should dial the international access number (usually 00 or “+”), then the code for China “86”, then the code for Xian without the ‘0’ (29), and then the 8-digit city number.

If you call to Xian from inside China, then dial the full Xian code (029), and then the 8-digit city number.

If you dial a Xian number inside Xian, just dial the 8-digit number, without any prefixes. Note that if you call a Xian landline from a mobile phone while in Xian, you should include the ‘029’ prefix.

For international calls, IP (Internet Phone) international calling cards can be bought at most small shops, newsstands and hotels in Xian. Just look for a sign saying “IP”. A card with ¥100 credit actually sells for about ¥35 (some vendors will try to charge you ¥40). Rates vary depending on what country you’re calling, but a card with ¥100 credit will generally buy you about 20-25 minutes talking time when calling to the US, Europe or Australia.

If you plan to stay in Xian for a longer period it is reasonably cheap to buy a SIM card with one of the local operators: China Mobile or China Unicom. A SIM card usually costs around ¥100-120 and generally includes ¥50 credit. You also pay more depending on how ‘lucky’ your phone number is. Average call charges are ¥0.6 per minute and ¥0.15 per SMS. Once you move outside the city where you bought the card you have to pay slightly higher ‘internal roaming’ charges.

If you already have a Chinese SIM card with one of these networks then it will also work in Xian, though you will be charged slightly higher ‘internal roaming’ tariffs.

Xian Online Resources

Xian Tourism: The official website of the Xian Tourism Administration has some useful information about sightseeing as well as restaurant and nightlife listings (contact details only).

XianEase: This website is still in its infancy, however, this is about all there is in terms of an expat community site for Xian. Worth checking out for some interesting insights.