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South Gate Old City Wall

Nan Men Huan Dao

Walk Along the Moat

This was a wonderful night walk along the moat on the outside of the South Wall. Traditional music softly plays and the dim lighting highlights the beauty of the lit-up wall. There's also talk of opening the boats on the moat up to tourists, which would make for a lovely evening ride.

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AFAR Local Expert
about 4 years ago

Don't Be Afraid Of These Rocks That I Got

File this under "That's Weird": Right by the South Gate, there's an informal marketplace where some men from the Muslim neighborhood sell jewelry and other interesting items. Also, giant rocks. Don't get me wrong, they're beautiful, polished rocks. Perhaps even valuable (I'm not a geologist). I just thought it was really funny, because how do you get them home?
AFAR Local Expert
about 4 years ago

Biking the Top of Xi'an's Old City Wall

Xi'an's old city wall stretches about 14 kilometers around the city and has been carefully restored. Built to help defend the city, and wide enough to allow four carriages to travel along it side by side, it's been kept pretty much empty except for the nicely restored corners and four gates. That means you can hire a bike and cycle along a really surreal, empty stretch of the wall—with a bustling modern city on one side and the old city down on the other. I cannot recommend this enough: It's one of the coolest things I've done on vacation in a while. My favorite part was when the sun set and the lanterns and wall were lit up for the night. It was absolutely beautiful. The South Gate is the main area for hiring bikes, and stays open until 10 p.m. But you can drop the bike off at any gate if 14 kilometers is too much. There are also tandem bikes and big motorized carts that can take you around faster.
AFAR Ambassador
about 3 years ago

Bike Above Old Town Xi'an

An old watch tower provides a great vantage point of Xi'an. The old city wall built in the 14th century of mud, limestone, and glutinous rice has been refurbished and runs 9 miles around the city with watch towers every 400 feet. Surprisingly the wall was never put to the test as Xi'an was never attacked in ancient times. In modern times though it's used as a park. People can walk around it or rent bikes and go for a ride to get a complete view of the old city. Sherry Ott traveled to China courtesy of the China National Tourist Office (www.cnto.org) and Wendy Wu Tours (www.wendywutours.com/china/USTOATravelTogether) as part of AFAR’s partnership with The United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) (www.ustoa.com), whose members provide travelers with unparalleled access, insider knowledge, and peace-of-mind to destinations across the globe. For more info on Sherry’s journey, visit the USTOA blog (http://ustoa.com/blog).
AFAR Ambassador
about 3 years ago

Square Dancing with no Cowboys

Square dancing in China isn't what you think. I kept thinking it meant a fiddle, a cowboy hat, and some good country hoedown. But I learned pretty quickly that it simply meant dancing in the public square. Done mainly by older women, square dancing is serious stuff. There is a leader, and everyone comes out in public to follow her dance moves nightly. This is a key past time for the older Chinese population and the younger generation rarely joins in. I watched this group dance at the base of the old city wall in Xian. Sherry Ott traveled to China courtesy of the China National Tourist Office (www.cnto.org) and Wendy Wu Tours (www.wendywutours.com/china/USTOATravelTogether) as part of AFAR’s partnership with The United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) (www.ustoa.com), whose members provide travelers with unparalleled access, insider knowledge, and peace-of-mind to destinations across the globe. For more info on Sherry’s journey, visit the USTOA blog (http://ustoa.com/blog).