Getting there & away
The most central long-distance bus station (qìchē shěngzhàn) is opposite Xī’ān’s train station. Note that many more buses run to Huá Shān (10am to 6pm) from in front of the train station.
Other bus stations around town (where you may be dropped off if you arrive by bus) include the east bus station ; chéngdōng kèyùnzhàn; Changle Lu) and the west bus station ; chéngxī kèyùnzhàn; Zaoyuan Donglu). Both are located outside the Second Ring Rd; bus 605 travels between the Bell Tower and the east bus station, and bus 103 travels between the train station and the west bus station. A taxi into the city costs Y20 to Y30.
For day trips around Xī’ān, see the relevant sights for transport details.
A new train station (huǒchē zhàn) north of the Second Ring Rd is planned for 2008; until then a temporary station may be set up south of the city, although no-one could confirm this. At the time of writing the old station was still operating as normal.
In any case, buy your onward tickets as soon as you arrive, as sleeper berths are hard to come by. Most hotels and hostels can get you tickets (Y40 commission); there’s also an Advance Train Ticket Booking Office (Dàishòu Huǒchēpiào; Nan Dajie; 8.30am-noon & 2-5pm) in the ICBC Bank’s south entrance. Otherwise, brave the surging chaos of the main ticket hall.
Xī’ān is well connected to the rest of the country. Deluxe Z-trains run to/from Beijing West (soft sleeper only Y417, 11½ hours), leaving Xī’ān at 7.23pm and Běijīng at 8.28pm. Several express trains also make the journey (Y274, 12½ hours); departures begin late afternoon.
Other destinations include Chéngdū (Y122, 16½ hours), Chóngqìng (Y113, 14 hours), Guǎngzhōu (Y430, 26 hours), Guìlín (Y334, 27 hours), Jǐ’nán (Y208, 15 to 17 hours), Kūnmíng (Y343, 37 hours), Lánzhōu (Y175, 7½ to nine hours), Luòyáng (Y87, five hours), Píngyáo (Y86, nine to 11 hours), Shànghǎi (Y333, 16 to 21 hours), Tàiyuán (Y99, 10 to 12 hours), Ürümqi (Y287, 31 to 40 hours) and Zhèngzhōu (Y79 to Y133, six to eight hours).
Within Shaanxi, there are two overnight trains to Yúlín (Y160, 12 to 14 hours) via Yán’ān (Y100, eight to 10 hours) departing at 10.10pm and 10.40pm. Buy your tickets in advance. There is also a 7.15am train to Hánchéng (Y24, 4½ hours).
Xī’ān’s Xianyang Airport is one of China’s best connected – you can fly to almost any major Chinese destination from here, as well as several international ones.
China Northwest Airlines (Xīběi Mínhángjú; 8870 0000; Laodong Nanlu; 8am-9pm) runs most flights to and from Xī’ān. It is also somewhat inconveniently located, 1.5km from the West Gate (Xī Mén). Daily flights include Běijīng (Y1050), Chéngdū (Y630), Guǎngzhōu (Y1490), Shànghǎi (Y1260) and Ürümqi (Y2050).
On the international front, there are four flights weekly to Hong Kong (Y1858) with both China Northwest Airlines and Dragonair ; Gānglóng Hángkōng; 8426 0390; Sheraton Hotel, 262 Fenghao Donglu). However, many Hong Kong residents choose to depart from Shēnzhèn (Y1630), which has much better connections. China Northwest Airlines also has flights to Macau, Seoul, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, and Nagoya, Fukuoka, Niigata and Hiroshima in Japan.
There are numerous other outlets around town, as well as at most hotels, that sell airline tickets and are more centrally located.