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Getting around

Xī’ān’s Xianyang Airport is about 40km northwest of Xī’ān. Shuttle buses run hourly from 6am to 6pm between the airport and the Melody Hotel (Y25, one hour), stopping off at other hotels on the way. Taxis into the city charge over Y100 on the meter.

In the city itself, it’s easiest to bike or take taxis, which are relatively cheap with a flag fall of Y6. You can hire bicycles at the youth hostels (average Y10 for four hours).

Of course, seasoned China travellers will no doubt be itching to try out the public buses, which go to all the major sights in and around the city. Bus 610 is a good one: it starts at the train station and passes the Bell Tower, Little Goose Pagoda, Shaanxi History Museum and Big Goose Pagoda. Remember that the packed buses are a pickpocket’s paradise, so watch your valuables.

The official word on the city’s first metro line is that it will be completed in 2009; many residents, however, say the year 2100 is a better estimate.