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“Chinese Shadow Puppet Show iin Xian”
Review of Xi'an

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Level 2 Contributor
3 reviews
6 helpful votes
“Chinese Shadow Puppet Show iin Xian”
Reviewed 5 June 2009

Chinese Shadow puppet show (play) is ancient and amazing folk art, popular in Guanzhong and other areas of China. Some introduction said the puppet is made of cow's leather or donkey hide, but they are all colorful and vivid, can’t imagine the complicated process one piece involved. Shadow play figures are very popular with collectors and as home decorations. On my tours to Xian, I found many tourists bought them as souvenir.

In Chinese the name for shadow puppet silhouette is "pi ying", which means shadows of hides or leather. The figures of the shadow puppet show are from the Chinese myths, legends and stories even the classical books. And their designs follow the traditional moral evaluation and aesthetics. The audience can tell a figure's character by seeing his mask. Above pictures indicated the most famous legend in China – Journey to the West

Children are very interested with the puppet, and they were all playing with their way and telling own story…

To overcome the limit imposed when only the profile of puppets can be seen, shadow puppets use exaggeration and heavy dramatization. The faces and the costumes of puppets are vivid and humorous. Leather silhouette coloring is usually bright and transparent, mostly in black, red, yellow, and green. Most Chinese at site could tell something about the puppet.

4 Thank donY4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
McGregor, South Africa
Level 6 Contributor
149 reviews
103 helpful votes
“Sloppy Sofitel”
Reviewed 29 May 2009

Not getting a reply from an e-mail enquiring about transfer from the railway station, I asked the concierge at the Sofitel Beijing to organize it, which he willing did – even though I thought the Y300 was exorbitant for what I knew to be a max 5 minute ride. However, when I exited the station from an overnight Beijing train, there was no sign of a Sofitel driver – so I ended up walking. On arrival at the hotel, there was no welcome, no help with luggage etc. Having stayed before, I knew where to go. The receptionist could hardly speak English, could not understand any of the conditions of the business package I had booked. After formalities, I was just left to find my own way to the room, carrying my own bags. Other than the fact that it was not a problem having the room at 10am in the morning, first impressions were not good!

The bedroom itself was compact (smaller than when I had stayed as a single guest), it was clean and in good condition but so full of ‘clutter’ that there was hardly nowhere to put anything.

Breakfast the next was frankly chaotic and I also had to provide written proof to the manager (who was actually quite sweet) that my rate did include breakfast.
In the bar, G+T’s were served without the tonic!

Check-out was extremely poor – the receptionist, as at arrival had no clue as to the package I had booked and asked me what she should charge. She got it all wrong. There was no thanks, enquiry as to my stay etc. The ‘free’ internet was charged, I was refused the ‘free’ pressing but was given a Y337 reduction instead of the Y280 originally quoted!

However, it was not all doom and gloom, the new (to me) Café Ren (wine/coffee shop was very stylish and had good staff, cakes and coffees and Le Chinoise, Chinese restaurant, again provided excellent food and service, particularly from waiter Mike.

Beware if you fancy a game of snooker in the pleasant games room – it will set you back Y100 an hour!

This may well be the best hotel in Xian, but next time I will try the Hyatt – I was impressed with the service and staff attitude on just a daytime visit and it did not appear as dated as I had expected from the TA reviews.

1 Thank macsym
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York, NY
Level 5 Contributor
67 reviews
77 helpful votes
“30 hours in Xian”
Reviewed 2 April 2009

I recently travelled to Xian, China primarily to see the famous Terracotta War Soldiers which had been on my list of things to see and places to visit for quite awhile. Prior to my journey i had read and re-read comments and reviews on Trip Advisor as well as researched on other websites which is something I actually enjoy doing before each trip. I flew to Beijing, stayed three nights and then flew to Xian late afternoon arriving early evening. I consulted the concierge at my hotel in Beijing who suggested I only fly to Xian for the day however due to my curiosity and research and reading Trip Advisor reviews I had originally planned two nights so I compromised and planned one night with then a full day in Xian to explore and see the Terracotta War Soldiers. I also researched and read reviews of hotels; I decided to stay at The Grand New World and forget about real luxury and settle for a safe, clean hotel with a low rate and convenient. I flew down from Beijing on China Airlines which uses outdated 737s but it was perfectly fine for the short 1hr 40 min flight. I arranged for an airport pick up which again is very safe, efficient and relatively inexpensive. Upon arriving in Xian; i could see why the concierge suggested to stay only one day to just see the terracotta war soldiers; the city is extremely run down, poor, chaotic but in many ways it probably represents a real Chinese city as opposed to the modernization and clean up of Beijing and Shanghai. The Grand New World is not very Grand at all but sort of a large cheap version of a modern hotel catering to large groups although I must say the rooms are quite spacious, clean and tastefully furnished with every amenity imaginable. The Main Lobby and Public Rooms are quite tacky and filled with plastic flowers; the breakfast room and buffet is not good quality at all and is quite busy and load with all types of tourist groups rummaging through the food. Off of the Main Lobby is an extremely overpriced gift shop adjacent to a massage parlour that is open to 3AM, a barber shop open to 1AM and a large pool hall/bar/disco with all types hanging around soliciting their wares and/or services. I opted to stay in for dinner and went to the more upscale Chinese Restaurant in the hotel which actually serves very good food; I was only one of three tables occupied nevertheless it was quite relaxing and the service attentive. The next morning I was met by a lovely guide with a driver and immediately set out to see the sites; we decided to drive through the center of town to see The Bell Tower, Muslim Quarter and stop at The Big Goose Pagoda Park which is worth seeing. If you are looking for decent luxury, safe clean hotels not catering to such large tour groups necessarily ; i would suggest The Sofitel, Grand Hyatt or Shangri La which although is outside of town; The Shangri-La offers a good package for one night including airport transfers and a private tour with guide to the terracotta war soldiers, upgraded accommodations with breakfast and a massage. Which is what I probably should have chosen. Now back to our day of sightseeing with the guide; we proceeded towards the town where the terracotta war soldiers are located and stopped for lunch in a very large hotel similar to where I stayed in Xian; had a rather decent banquet chinese luncheon with lots of other tour group participants; passed through a large room with multiple vendors of high priced souvenirs of all shapes and sizes. Then finally to magnificent terracotta war soldiers; which was probably the second most spectacular site in China first being The Great Wall. After view the three hangar like pits and strolling around the grounds; we then went to the Tea House and was given a lovely demonstration of tea etiquette and tea preparation. The Tea House was quite charming with a wide range of teas to purchase and sample and the staff were all very informative and attentive as well; i highly suggest stopping there. We then proceeded to the airport to check me in for the China Eastern Flight to Shanghai. If one difficulty decided which airline to chose for internal flights; China Eastern has much more modern equipment; updated airbuses with TV monitors as well as headsets; a choice of either Chinese or Western food even for short flights; however the captain took us right through a severe cloudburst which caused the planed to go out of control for about 10-15 minutes with people screaming. The young Chinese girl sitting next to me said the airline is notorious with their daredevil former airforce pilots who think nothing of putting the passengers through severe turbulence. I think I would opt for China Airlines the next time and deal with the old beaten up 737! If you are going to Shop save the shopping for Shanghai! If you want to buy a replica of the terracotta war soldiers you can do this at the airport where you can spend your last rmbs and get a very good price and a good selection. If you stay in Xian and do not want to eat in your hotel; do go to the De Fong restaurant across from the Bell Tower!

6 Thank Italexplorer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sanya, Hainan, China
1 review
3 helpful votes
“Delhi Darbar Indian Restaurant”
Reviewed 19 September 2008

I just returned from a three-day trip to Xi'an, and I would like to tell everyone about a little gem of a restaurant I found. It's called Delhi Darbar Indian Restaurant and is located on Da Yan Ta Xi Lu, a short walk directly West of Big Goose Pagoda. Address in Chinese: 新德里餐厅雁塔区大唐通易坊东头路北. Absolutely delicious and authentic North Indian cuisine. The place is managed by a wonderful Indian man. Prices are very affordable, averaging 45rmb(US$6) per person. Mango lassi for only 10rmb is Highly Recommended! We loved it so much that we ate there 4 times in 3 days! I can't recommend this place enough.

3 Thank whenry83
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
2 reviews
9 helpful votes
“Xian - A Must See in China but 2-3 days max.”
Reviewed 8 June 2008

I recently traveled to Xian for a flying trip. I stayed for two nights / three days and my objective mainly was to check-out the famed Terra-Cotta Warriors [bee ma yong – in Chinese] and some of the other sites of this ancient Chinese capital. As a foreign inhabitant of Shanghai, I had never traveled to Xian so on a spare long weekend, along with some very cheap fares, it had to be done! I stayed at the Good World Hotel which was very cheap and was selected in a hurry although I was (erroneously) influenced by another website’s review. If you are traveling to Xian, chances are that you may be on a package and, ok, you will probably be driven by your limited time and your agent’s program. If you are an independent traveler with limited time looking for a medium quality and price hotel (Chinese 3or4 star) somewhere near the hub of local transport, sightseeing, restaurants and nightlife, I would suggest staying somewhere in the southern half of the old city. Anywhere near the Drum Tower or Bell Tower is ground zero for sightseeing travelers. The northern half inside the old city walls (where the Good World Hotel is located) is away from it all – and I'm a quiet type and wasn’t looking for party-world but the area around my hotel was unbelievably quiet, deserted and dark at night – for a Chinese city. There weren’t even any of the ubiquitous Chinese convenience stores within sight. Ok, so the old city does not cover an expansive area and all taxis and mini-cabs are as cheap as chips - but why disappear into the night a few kilometers away when there are plenty of alternatives that are more convenient and just as quiet. On China hotels, one learns to be flexible regarding China hotels - regardless of the purported star-gradings. Part of visiting China is the experience, right? One needs to be prepared for the different building standards and service conditions – so there is little point in mentioning details about a little ‘peeling paint’ or the little grime marks in the bathroom. My hotel was true to form but secure and the bed was ok. If any of these issues are a problem, I suggest travellers should go for no less than four or five international stars and, importantly, buildings less than three years old. On sightseeing, in and around Xian, of course the Terra Cotta Warriors are obligatory. The site of this world heritage area is actually 40-50km (about one hour) north-east of the city centre. As I had no pre-booked package tour, I took the local tourist bus service to the site (Bus 306) for about RMB25 (US$3.60). Agencies, taxis and touts offer a whole range of prices but why bother with them when you can take an air-conditioned bus without the inevitable hustle enroute and you get a chance to meet some ordinary people. Bus 306 departs about every 20 minutes from the front of the main Railway Station (right side when facing the front of the main station building). It stops at 3-4 other places enroute including a major university and the Huaqing Hot Springs - the second last stop. The Hot Springs are worth a visit if you have time. Inevitably, if you have traveled to other paradise waters and pristine wilderness areas, even with the local hype and stories of the emperor’s bathing, these springs don't quite cut it. The last stop for Bus 306 is the Terra Cotta Warriors – you can’t get lost. The return trip is also RMB25 and operates in exactly the reverse back to the Railway Station, leaving the Terra Cotta Warriors carpark also about every 20 minutes. If you are going late in the afternoon, you may need to check the departure time of the last bus (ask your ... conductor??). As the bus stops at a major university along the way, you can probably engage an English-learning student – that is if they don’t approach you first. Back at the railway station, it is suggested that you keep in mind these places are the crossroads for teeming throngs of humanity in China. Xian is a particularly busy railway junction. Keep your wits up and protect your valuables although my experience in China over many years has been that the security and safety of foreigners is well above the international average. In Xian many younger people study English. Xian is also an important tourist town and it is a major university hub. Therefore, you’ll be able to get assistance in English from most young people if you can’t find your bus or need other info. While walking to your bus, after taking a taxi to the railway station, you can admire how they have re-built the ancient city wall to accommodate modern city traffic and the movement of humanity in the locale. If you have time, also sample a burger, fries and coke at the conveniently located McDonalds on the corner virtually under the new city walls. Take a few moments over your burger to reflect on the old and the new - the new middle class and the situation of the others from the Peoples Republic. Other sites recommended around Xian are: the Shaanxi Province History Museum; the Great Mosque – very old but quite unique and worth a quick visit; If markets are your thing then right near the mosque is a series of covered markets plus some very local restaurants where you may find a nice surprise if you are a seasoned traveler and restaurant researcher. There is a lively precinct of modern-looking restaurants, coffee shops and bars in / near FenXiang Steet (two blocks south of the Bell Tower) that is also worth studying. There are also many pagodas and sights detailed on local maps and web-sites for those with aditional time. I was also fascinated by the extensive agriculture (wheat and stone fruits) and the number of river-beds I could see as my aircraft descended over Xian. This industrial city was a little dusty and dry (in May) but obviously when it rains, it really pours. For those with sensitive eyes / contacts, take your eye drops / wear your glasses, perhaps. From the airport, if you need a transfer to your hotel, simply walk out from arrivals across the driveway avoiding the taxi touts, and take the (Line 1) airport bus to the last stop downtown (RMB25 again). The last stop for this bus is the Melody Hotel near the Bell Tower. From here you can pick-up up an English map and then use it to get a taxi to where you want to go. The same can be done in reverse when you return to the airport. These days there are two terminals at Xian airport so it's worth double checking which terminal you need before heading off. In summary, this is a must visit location in China, if you have time. Two full days is probably about right for the average sightseeing traveler.

8 Thank zd68
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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