Xian Arrival and Departure:
Transport to and from Xian
By Air – Flying to Xian
Xian Xianyang International Airport (西安咸阳国际机场)
Located some 47km from the center of Xian, it’s a fair hike out to the airport. Completed in 1991 and expanded in 2003, Xian’s modern airport is the biggest and busiest in north-west China. Despite not having a home airline since Northwest Airlines was acquired by China Eastern in 2002, Xianyang Airport is still very well connected to destinations throughout China. International routes from the airport include direct flights to Tokyo, Seoul and Bangkok as well as Hong Kong.
Xian Xianyang International Airport website: www.xxia.com (Chinese only)
Transport to and from Xian airport:
By Bus: An airport bus leaves regularly from right outside the Arrivals Terminal and goes to the Melody Hotel, right in the center of Xian, just near the Bell Tower. The journey costs ¥25 and takes about 60-75 minutes depending on traffic. Note that from the Melody Hotel to the airport, buses leave only once an hour from 6:00-18:00. Buses from the airport are organised to coincide with flight arrivals.
By Taxi: There’s a somewhat organized taxi rank at the airport and taxis are frequent enough. The fare on the meter from the airport to the center of Xian will be around ¥120-150, which is almost certainly a better price than you will get by bargaining with touts.
Traveling to Xian By Train
Xian Train Station (西安火车站) is conveniently located just on the outside of the northern city walls at the end of Jiefang Lu. A taxi from the train station to the city center (Bell Tower) will only cost around ¥8-10, though it can be a bit difficult to grab a taxi in the chaotic train station crowds. Bus #610 runs from the train station to the city center (the Bell Tower). As a gateway between east and west and, to an extent, between north and south, Xian Train Station is well connected to the rest of China.
There are numerous fast, high-quality ‘Z’ and ‘T’ trains each day to Beijing which take between 11 and 12.5 hours (trains arrive at Beijing West station). Fast trains also run to Shanghai (15 hours), Lanzhou (7 hours), Urumqi (28 hours), Chengdu (13 hours) and Guangzhou (21 hours). But as the fast trains to Lanzhou, Urumqi, Chengdu and Guangzhou do not originate in Xian, it can be a little more difficult to purchase tickets on them. There are also slower trains to Chongqing, Guilin, Nanning and Kunming among numerous other destinations. Trains to Lhasa also pass through Xian.
Buying tickets at Xian train station can be a nightmare due to horrendously long queues. Almost all hotels and hostels will arrange tickets for you for a service charge of ¥30-100 or more. If you decide to brave the crowds, there is supposed to be an English-speaker on duty at all times. Even if you can’t spot which window they’re at from the back of the ticket hall, the English-speaker will usually be summoned to the window you choose.
Traveling to Xian By Bus
There aren’t a lot of long-distance trips you would want to make by bus from Xian. Heading to Zhengzhou (12 hours), Luoyang (8-10 hours) or Taiyuan (12 hours) by bus might be convenient, cheap and just bearable, but in general you’re better off taking the train when possible. The main reason to travel by bus is to reach other destinations in Shaanxi. The Provincial Bus Station is located opposite the train station, on the west side of Jiefang Lu. From here you can catch buses to Huashan (2-3 hours) and Yan’an (7-8 hours).