Both ways are OK. If you take the train you could take an overnight train and save the cost of a hotel room.
You do not need a guide but it can enhance your experience to use one.
Either the plane or train are all good ways to travel to xian from Shanghai depend on what time you will arrive in this city, if you arrive in Xina by the overnight train, you have full day to finish most of the important sites in Xian. Then the next following day, you take fight to the next city.
If you quite know this city through the net or guide book, guide is not very necessary to you.
Enjoy you stay in
It depends on your time and budget. If you take flight from Shanghai, it takes you about 2 hours. While the train takes you at least 14 hours so I suggest you plane. As for the place to stay, Sheraton, of course, are the best hotel which are close to Xian Railway Station. And many three or four hotels are easy to find. Because Xian is an historical and cultural city which houses historical relics such as Terracotta Army, it is necessary to invite a tour guide. According to my travel experience, I once visited Pingyao Ancient Town for twice. First time, I travel alone without tour guide and just watch the old buildings but don't know the story and allusion behind the building. So you need a local English tour guide.
Both train and flight are fine.The flight discount sometimes appeal. Check it in ctrip, elong, travelzen. Sofitel on Renmin Square(5*),Citadines Apart Hotel Xi'an Central(4*), ibs(budget) are popular staying options of different levels.
Very nice to reply to your question. We have the same name Alice. Hahaha...
And Shanghai-Xian-Beijing, personally, you can choose one journey by overnight train to experience the long journey in a train in China. I think it is special for you. Additionally, it can save your cost.
If you can speak a little English, it is quite convenient for you to explore the city without a guide. But if you want to know more about attractions, like history,culture, you know they all have many stories, especially Xian is a city full of culture and with a long history. Maybe a guide is quite good for you to learn more about the city.
Usually tourists will spend two days in Xian, one day for the cotta warriors, another day visiting the attractions in city center, like City wall, Museum ...
Hotels are easy to find. While, I am not very sure what level of a hotel you prefered. So, it is difficult to recommend.I know HNA Hotel Downtown Xi'an, it is a 3 star hotel. Myself have not stayed there. I heard it is OK. You can also make an inquiry from an agent.
Take air will save time. In my opinion,you'd better hire a guide(guide drive a car).Because most sites had more history. Thanks beiping w
Within the city walls it's not really needed to have a guide unless you want to get all the historical details first hand as you walk around.. you can get most of the same information from a guide book though... but sometimes it is just nicer to have it told to you as you walk around.. personal preference.
For Terracotta Warriors and other sites outside the main party of the city (ie. beyond the city walls), then I would suggest a guide unless you have an ok amount of Chinese. I went there on my first trip to China by myself after only self-taught studying Chinese for 9 months and while it was certainly an eye opener (or more to the point, ear opener) to realise how bad my Chinese language skills were.. I managed to get to and from the Terracotta Warriors without much trouble. Once I got there, there are actually government employed guides that will take you around the site.
you can save money by overnight train to xi an .but also airline tickets are cheaper that time .try to find in ctrip .
you do not need guide in city area.that is easy to look around by youself .
for the terra cotta museum .i suggest it is better to have a guide and driver .because that will help you understand chinese history a lot .you can also just go there by bus306 from train station .then hire a guide right outside the terra cotta museum .and later taks same bus back to city .bus ticket is 8yuan per person only .
hope this can help .
Well, Alice,please alow me answer your question one by one.
First, if you have ample time, and want to have a real China experience, then, overnight train is highly recommended as you may meet some friendly and talktive Chinese people and make a new friends, and learn some simple Chinese as well as save money for a night hotel and cheaper than the flight. But the overnight train is quiet long- more than 14hours, it has hard sleeper and soft sleeper , if you never tried overnight train before , you'd better get a soft sleeper which have a door with 4people in one room, but hard sleeper are six people and no door no curtain. So think about it before you purchase a train tickets.
Choices for overnight train:
Z92/Z93 18:55/09:16 14.5hours soft sleeper is nearly 500RMB
D306/D307 22:00/08:40 11hours soft sleeper is nearly 850RMB
By flight, only two hours, and save time , sometimes got good discount, but better to purchase earlier.
Second,their are so many good place to stay in Xi'an according to your budget, you can stay in Shuyuanmen youth hostel which is nearby the City Wall if you are more a backpack traveller, you can also stay in Hilton, Sheraton, softel as those are definetely the best hotel among five star hotel.
For guide service, Xi'an is a ancient city which has a very long history, if you are the people intersted in history , culture and also wan to know the local people 's life , then a guide is necessary as he/she knows not only the history but also the culture and people's life, any of your question will have a answer and you definitely knows more with a guide beside you. More also , laguage barrier do exist in Xi'an if you want to go to see terra-cotta warrior as it was located outside of the town.
Their are some Chinese website and Foreign website have good choices for tours and flights, for Chinese website, I recommended ctrip.com; for foreigh website, one of my foreigh friends told me www. viator .com supply good transfer, but I didn't tried myself.
Hope my answer would be helpful for you.
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