Xian is the capital of the Shaanxi province in China. While it is most famous for its army of terracotta warriors and exotic foods at the Muslim quarter, it is also more popularly known for the ancient walls which were originally built in the Tang dynasty to protect the inner city of Xian. Here is your guide to biking these historic city walls.
Interesting facts about the wall
- The city walls of Xian is the only completed city wall in the whole of China.
- The wall was originally built during the Tang dynasty and was built atop an older wall dating from 618 AD.
- The wall has been restored many times and now contains a moat and 18 city gates.
- After restoration, the wall now stands 12 meters tall and 12 – 14 meters wide at the top while its base is approximately 15 – 18 meters thick.
- There is a rampart located every 120 meters along the wall. This was originally built to defend against enemies climbing up.
Renting a bike
- While you can walk the perimeter of the wall which spans a distance of 14 km, a common activity is to rent a bike and cycle along.
- There are biking stations all around the wall and you can rent or drop off a bike at any station.
- To rent a bike, you will have to pay a deposit of approximately 200 RMB and a cost of 45 RMB per 2 hour period.
- You can also rent a tandem bicycle for 90 RMB per 2 hour period.
- If you cycle for longer than the rented 2 hour period, you will have to pay an additional 5 RMB for every 10 minutes.
- All bicycles should be returned by 18:00. The South Gate allows late returns until 20:00.
Cycling along the wall
- The wall has a total of 18 city gates but not all of these are open to the public.
- There are however, several entry points along the wall still making it easy to enter from different locations around the city.
- Enter from the South Gate, East Gate, West Gate, North Gate, Heping Gate, Wenchang Gate and Hanguang Gate depending on your location.
- Entrance to the wall is approximately 54 RMB and it is accessible between 8 am until 10 pm daily.
- Regardless of the gate which you enter from, you can then cycle the entire perimeter of the wall should you wish.
- To cycle around the entire city wall should take between 1.5 to 2 hours but it took us over three hours (most probably because I’m a slow cycler!).
How to get to the ancient city walls
- There are four commonly used access points along the ancient city walls. These are the North, East, South and West gate.
Accessing the south gate:
- Take subway line 2 to Yongningmen Station or take bus no.6, 11, 12, 23, 46, 215, 239, 600, 603, 608, 713, 910 and get off at the South Gate Station.
Accessing the East Gate:
- Take bus no.8, 22, 27, 29, 33, 37, 43, 45, 102, 203, 218, 235, 252, 300, 527, 602, 604, 714, or 903 and get off at the East Gate Station.
Accessing the North Gate:
- Take subway line 2 to Anyuanmen Station or bus no.6, 26, 28, 33, 37, 39, 117, 205, 206, 208, 214, 229, 236, 238, 336, 506 or 511 and get off at the North Gate Station.
Accessing the West Gate:
- Take bus no.4, 10, 15, 23, 31, 201, 205, 206, 215, 221, 222, 223, 300, 407, 504, 611 or 701 and get off at the West Gate Station.
Watch me biking on the ancient city walls of Xian below: