The Great Mosque in Xian is a mixture of Chinese and Muslim Architecture. This was created in 742, in the middle of the reign of the Tang Dynasty (618-907). It was the immediate consequence of the introduction of Islam to the Chinese.
This is one of the biggest place of worship for the Muslim in China… it contains a big prayer hall and a courtyard (where I took a lot of pictures).
This place was really old and when you see it in person, you will realize that it is untouched by modern hands—It wasn’t renovated and seems pretty old and seems dangerous. But, the oldness of this place is what makes it much stunning. The place makes you go back in time and really see what it looks like centuries ago.
The untouched architecture is astonishing. It is old.. yes… but it is beautiful… Maybe, I can say, that all the things that I have seen in China, this is the place I really liked, due to the gracefulness and beauty of this historical place
I don’t have words to compensate how beautiful the place is. I might just understate whatever this place can offer you. This might be small (unlike various palaces in Beijing) but the art and the old architecture will compensate for such deficiency.
Moreover, upon going to this place, you will be passing a market usually run by Muslims. You can buy souvenirs there, but be careful, they might just pester you like other Chinese do. When I say pester, they might follow you until you buy their product…
Nonetheless, If you know Chinese and how much the real thing cost, then buying in the market is a good catch.. You can visit the market and the Great Mosque in one sitting 🙂
How to go here DIY?
25CNY, 175PHP, 4USD (March-November);
15CNY, 105PHP, 3USD (December-February)
You can go ride a taxi (it is just near the city center
Take bus Take bus 4, 7, 32, 201, 215, 222, 251, 252 or Tourism Bus No. 8 (610) and get off at Zhonglou (Bell Tower) Station. Walk to the Drum Tower and find entrance to the mosque in the Huajue Lane to the northwest of the Drum Tower.
Even though we are so tired from walking all day (Going to the Ming Tombs and The Great Wall), we still have to walk again for our night tour! I made my itinerary as jump-packed as possible, in order for us to visit everything in just 5 days. Well, my idea was a good idea when I was just planning it but when I’m already there, I realized that it was really a bad idea! We are already tired and so exhausted and just wanna rest but because of my miscalculations and “greediness” we are forced to attend this night tour.
Although I should still applaud myself because our night tour was quite cheaper than the other tour operators in Beijing, and also, we enjoyed a lot!
Our night tour itinerary includes a visit to the Olympic stadium and the Water Cube! the visit during the night in this WIDE park was really spectacular! They called this park as Olympic Green. Also, in the park there is a McDonalds and other fast food chains.
The park area is really huge with good landscaping. There are colorful flowers planted in the park that made it more attractive. Walking here is really tiring especially when you are already exhausted from your previous itinerary during the day.
The water cube which looks like an ice cube with a surface (like of a bubble wrap) is really cute. It houses the Olympic size swimming pool. I wasn’t able to enter but we just took pictures outside of it. According to Wikipedia, it has a capacity of 17,000 persons during the Olympics but was reduced to 6,000 after the event.
The Birds Nest or the Olympic Stadium is really one of the greatest architecture I’ve ever seen; Its size and shape is really eye-catching, thus, it made me look at it as if I’m a child who saw a living unicorn. I was amazed and just stared for it for about 5 minutes.
This Stadium, also according to Wikipedia, has a capacity of for 91,000 people, but the capacity was reduced to 80,000 after the Olympics.
In the Olympic Green, you can also find the Linlong Pagoda which houses a broadcast station. I think this is their modern version of a Pagoda… Great Isn’t it?
The next stop of our night tour, is the Wangfujing Street!! In this street there’s a lot of vendors selling different kinds of food stuff and most of them are put in a stick. There you can also find some exotic food like scorpion-on-stick instead of the usual hotdog-on-stick! I tried eating one of the things that I don’t recognize… I still don’t know what it was… but all I can say is that the taste was great!
By the way, we are about to ran out of Chinese Yuan, we only have US dollars and Philippine Peso with us. We are looking for money exchanges in Wanfujing but we cannot find a single one. We just realized that there are no money exchange counters that are open 24/7 in China or let me say there is none at all! You can only find one in some good hotels like Novotel. Anyway, we experienced having not enough money in China because we can’t exchange our dollars or Peso in CNY. I got stressed a lot because I didn’t know that unlike Hong Kong or Singapore or any other country, they don’t have Currency Exchange counters. I learned that you can only exchange your money in the airport or in the bank (since the bank closes by 5pm… we are too late to exchange our money and the next day is a Saturday!). But Thanks to the internet, I learned that we can just withdraw money from the ATM. J Good Lord! I was really scared!
After that, we went to a place called Houhai Area. According to our tour guide/driver, the place is where locals go for drinking. This is there night life area. You can also buy souvenir stuffs here.
Once you enter the Houhai area, you will immediately feel the Chinese vibe. It has small alleys where shops are facing each other. It is a beautiful sight.. It is as if you are walking in a market centuries ago.
We also stop-by the Tian’an men Square—the largest square in the world and we did some photo-ops. We just stayed in one corner and took a lot of photos.
Then, after that, we went back to our hotel by around 11pm. We are all dead tired. But the night tour was fun!
Our night tour with Shane costs 500CNY or P3500.00 or $81USD. The tour lasted for five (5) hours and it was a private tour. The costs is still cheaper than the one offered by big travel agencies in Beijing. Anyway, if you want to contact him, you can go to his website http://www.yangshane.weebly.com.
Shane is a good man, and helpful. He will leave you alone to enjoy by yourself, unlike being in a group tour where your time is limited in every place that you visit, and you just keep on walking… Being in a group tour makes your picture taking time really limited because you are scared to be left out by the group. What is good about Shane is that he also explains some facts and trivias about the place. He will also give you a mobile phone for his customers to use if ever they lost their way or if they have any questions.
I will definitely book with him again if ever I’ll be back in Beijing! 🙂
Anyway, overall, this night tour is a night to remember. Walking in a foreign place with your family makes you feel relaxed and happy.