All hostels and hotels offer wi-fi access, as do many restaurants, bars and cafes. Note that wi-fi signals in hostels can vary from room to room, so it can be a good idea to test out the room first.
Pick up a copy of the widely available Xi’an Traffic & Tourist Map (¥12), a bilingual publication with listings and bus routes. It’s available at the airport and some bookshops. Chinese-language maps with the bus routes are sold on the street for ¥5 to ¥6. Shūyuàn Youth Hostel has useful free maps with key bus routes. The English-language magazine Xianese (www.xianease.com) is available at some hotels and restaurants that cater to tourists.
The China International Travel Service (CITS) is really only useful for getting people on tours. You're unlikely to be offered independent advice here as it is purely a commercially driven operation. It has two branches.
Opening hours may vary slightly through the year. We've provided high-season opening hours; hours will generally decrease in the low and shoulder seasons. Some museums and sights may be shut either on a Monday or a Tuesday.
Banks 9am–5pm Monday to Friday, and sometimes Saturday and Sunday
Bars 7pm to late
Restaurants 9am–10pm, sometimes closed 2pm–5pm
Temples Open early, from 7am or 8am to around 6pm or 7pm
Travel with Children
As an historic city with few attractions for children, Xī'ān can be a challenge for parents. The metro has made getting around town less of a challenge for parents with kids in tow, so use it as much as you can. Prams can be navigated down the road with relative ease. More and more restaurants come with baby chairs, but these can still be hard to find. Baby change facilities will be hard to find in restaurants but easier to find in department stores.
Children may find the full-on Terracotta Warrior history tour rather dull, but may enjoy walking around the Xī'ān City Walls or exploring the sights, sounds and aromas of the Muslim Quarter. Consider a side trip to Huá Shān for athletic teenagers keen to burn off calories and tick off some spectacular views.
As with most cities in China, Xī'ān is not a very easy city to navigate for those with mobility problems. Pavements frequently have high kerbs and may be littered with obstacles, especially along the smaller back alleys and side streets. Some metro stations have lifts, but not all, and braille is widely used.
The Army of the Terracotta Warriors is generally quite accessible, although not everywhere at the site. The Xī'ān City Walls are usually not accessible to those in wheelchairs. Four- and five-star hotels are far better equipped to deal with travellers with disabilities than three-star hotels or hostels.
Like everywhere in China, but especially more in the conservative north, the gay and lesbian scene in town is low-key, low-profile and subtle. For a list of gay and lesbian spots in town, see www.utopia-asia.com/xianbars.htm.