Last year, my friends and I decided to book our flight towards Beijing not only to see the sights but to experience winter and snow for the first time. My friend’s parents decided to join us, so my plan on “backpacking” Beijing—meaning no tour guides, with only the 4 of us wandering around with a map in our hand- went down the drain. 🙂
Nevertheless, I loved the idea that we will have a tour guide, a van and a very knowledgeable tour. 🙂 Knowing that I won’t stress about where to go, or to speak in Mandarin just to get to our destination.
I chose Rain. Rain was very accommodating, very knowledgeable about the history of Beijing, as well as very trustworthy. We paid her after the tour, and she even offered us a discount. 🙂 Moreover, her rate is cheaper compared to other tourguides, upon searching for the cheapest PRIVATE TOUR in Beijing. I found Rain in synotrip.
Rain is a certified tour guide, as seen in her website. She is very smart, and very kind. She is patient enough for us while we take pictures in the very cold winter day/night. Our driver is none other than her husband, who is really “handsome” haha, and very accommodating. However, unlike Rain, her husband, rarely talks to us since he only knows basic English. Rain on the other hand, is very knowledgeable in English. Rain is good in conversational english. She doesn’t eat her words unlike other Chinese tour guides, so you don’t need to worry in asking again and again “pardon” “please repeat that” what’s that? “sorry” since you don’t need to. You can easily understand her. 🙂
Her rate is:
600RMB or Chinese Yuan per day (for 9 hours) with van and tour guide.
300RMB one way airport transfers
400RMB tour guide and van within the city
If you exceeded the 9 hours per day tour, these are the charges: 60RMB per hour
Here’s my 3 DAY ITINERARY WITH RAIN
December 21 : Airport Pick Up Service (12:05 am)
6:30/7:00am Pick up from hotel, go to Juyongguan Pass (2hours), then Badaling Great wall(4 hours) Then we are going to tour the following: Olympic Green andWangfujing St., Houhai Area, Qianmen Street. Payment is 600RMB with 60RMB/hour overtime charge.
Our first day is so tiring, but we really wanna see all the highlights in Beijing. So, please understand. and mind you, it is doable. 🙂 not that tiring especially since it was cold and you won’t sweat.
December 22,: Tian’an Men Square, Forbidden City (please take note that we want to tour every inch of Forbidden City, like going to the museums etc.), Jingshan Park, Behai Park and Ghost Street (if time permits) 400RMB fixed rate with additional 50RMB/hour for overtime (just tour guide with no transportation anymore, since they are near each other)
December 23: Summer Palace (3 hours), Temple of Heaven, Lama Temple, Silk Market . 600RMB with 60RMB/hour overtime payment then transfer going to the airport (300RMB)
During our 2nd day in Xian, we went to the Terracotta Army and Horses Museum.
I think you are familiar with those action movies where people goes to the tomb and then raid all of the jewelries or treasures inside; and then suddenly, the statues which looks like human beings were awakened; then the people got scared and the warriors started to fight those tomb-raiders… Have you seen or watched this kind of situation? If yes, then, one of the most depicted “living” warriors are these set of man-made army in Xian, China.
Well, we traveled from Beijing to Xian to see this wonderful man-made creation. I really wanna see this because I always heard that the Qin Dynasty is one of the greatest and grandest dynasty in China. Moreover, as a moviegoer especially of Asian films I always heard of Qin Dynasty (The Myth portrayed by Jackie Chan etc.). I was enchanted by these movies and I wanna to see this in person.
The Terracotta warriors museum is a sight to behold! although majority of the collection has no heads or has broken pieces, it is still a beautiful and an education place to visit. Just always remember that there’s a 2000 year old history that wraps each and one of the terracotta bodies you will find there.
This warriors remained unknown for humans for the past centuries and only until the 1970s that it was discovered. But, it wasn’t discovered by archaeologists and instead they were discovered by farmers who are digging for their water supply.
The funny part is the farmers ran away as soon as they saw the faces of these warriors. The farmers got scared; since during those times, the Chinese believed that any sculpture with a face of a human is considered evil and/or creations of the devil. And they also believed that once you saw this kind of sculpture, you will face death anytime after the encounter… That is why they hurriedly left and didn’t bother about it for sometime. Until one of the farmers who originally saw it, went to the government and showed what they discovered. And then, archaeologists and tourists alike became interested in this heritage left by China’s 1st dynasty.
There are 3 pits that have been discovered by the Archaeologist, and now, it is open to the public.
In the Pit 1 where a lot of these warriors can be seen is a wonderful sight since most of them are excavated; and there are a lot of warriors that are standing. And you can also see that the archeologists are doing their best to piece up the broken pile of these warriors. It is kind of long walk in this pit, but it is worth it.
In Pit 2 and Pit 3, you won’t see a lot, only some broken chariots or places where the chariots once stood. There are a lot of broken arms and body found on that pit.
Don’t expect to see 2000 warriors lining up to you when you get there. In Pit 2 and Pit 3 and some on Pit 1, other warriors are still unearthed because the archeologists says that if such will be done, the warriors will be damaged due to oxygen and such. So, most of the things you can see are earth and dust which is formed like huge anthills. Now, It all depends on your imagination to visualize what is beneath that surface.
Moreover, you will see only a few that are still standing (with their whole body), maybe 500 of them (this is a mere estimate). Almost all of the warriors were already damaged. But don’t worry the archeologists are doing their best to make them whole again.
What makes it more interesting is on how the warriors are sculpted…our tour guide David, told us that they are modeled from one and each of the soldiers during the Qin dynasty. They are modeled from real human beings. They are made in a process that they are all unique, no terracotta warriors are alike, they are all different.
They are made in order to guard the tomb of the emperor who had unified China for the very first time (which, is Qin Shi Huang). That man is a great person although extravagant, just like the Empress Dowager Ci Xi 🙂
Well. What really scared me was the fact that there are still warriors with their original paint in them. what I mean is that they are still well-preserved even after 20 centuries. Like the archer which is now inside a glass (it is also in the museum), has still its red paint on it. Please take note that these warriors are not plain brown when they were buried; they are painted with lively colors.
Moreover, our tour guide said that the archeologists believe that there are more of them out there, and they are waiting to be discovered. Just like the Qin tomb (tomb of the great Qin Shi Huang) is still closed, and archaeologists are dying to find a way to open it.
1. Well, I say I can recommend you guys to come visit this place, especially if you are the history buff like me. But if you are going to this place without knowing what it is, or if you have folks that does not like history, or Children who are 2-4 years old. well, you better pass first and visit some other place in China. Since the place is still undergoing development, you might not know, that years from now, Emperor Qin’s tomb will be open to public and more of the warriors are unearthed or pieced back together.
2. But if you have the time and money to go here, then why not? This is a good experience since you will have a glimpse of a 2000 year old history. This is the real deal of 2000 years old history since the Great wall of China you see in Beijing is not. The Chinese claim that the Great Wall has 2000 years of history but it is not, It was made during the Ming dynasty, the real great wall which should be 2000 years old was the one built during the Qin dynasty which is already gone since it was just made of soil. The great wall you see now is still history but the terracotta warriors is an older history which is worth the visit
3. well I still recommend going to this place but if you don’t have money and time, you can visit it some other time, but if you are going to China for a long vacation, try this and it won’t disappoint you
1. Wear Comfortable shoes and clothes! You will do a lot of walking
2. There is a bus going to the warriors museum in front of the railway station, it is cheap. I think it travels every hour, it costs about 5-10USD.
3.There is this distance from the bus stop to the gate of the museum, you should walk since there is no other way. Bring with you a water jug or any water
4.You have a choice to go to the museum after you’ve reached the gate of the museum, it is either to walk or to ride the golf cart. The golf cart ride has a price but it is just less than 5USD as far as I remember
5. Go to Pit 3 first, then 2, then 1. Going to Pit 1 will just ruin your awe for the other Pits since pit 1 is the best among the three
6. Watch in the cinema theater which features the history of this warriors if you don’t have any idea what you are looking at
7. The food buffet there is nice, try it, but I don’t know about the price since mine is part of a package tour
8. ALSO, go early in the morning and weekdays and make sure it is not holiday so that there won’t be a lot of people around
9. Bring a camera, with lots of lots of batteries!
10. Make sure to have a good night sleep!
11. Visit the nearby areas, we also went to the hotspring of the emperor nearby (sorry, I forgot the name)
WELL, this is all I can do for you, if you have questions you can contact me. Hope this helps!