Shaanxi (陕西; Shǎnxī) is where it all began for China. As the heartland of the Qin dynasty (秦朝), whose warrior emperor united much of China for the first time, Shaanxi was the cradle of Chinese civilisation and the fountainhead of Han culture. Xi'an marked the beginning and end of the Silk Road and was a buzzing capital long before anyone knew of Beijing and its Forbidden City.
Shaanxi’s archaeological sites make it an essential destination. Around Xi'an there’s an excavated Neolithic village and royal graves, including the tomb of Qin Shi Huang and his Army of Terracotta Warriors, one of the world's foremost heritage sites. Shaanxi has contemporary history too; the caves around Yan'an were the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) base in the 1930s and '40s.
Xi'an is an emergent travellers' hub, with hotels, restaurants, museums, ancient pagodas, and a marvellous city wall and Muslim Quarter. Rural areas have fascinating villages barely touched by modernity and mountains that were once home to hermits and sages.
These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Shaanxi.
Whether it’s a guided tour of a historic landmark, private tasting of local delicacies, or an off-road adventure — explore the best experiences in Shaanxi.