I strongly recommend this tour! I was working in Shanghai and wasn't sure what to expect of traveling solo in China. This private guided tour gave me exactly what I wanted: all logistics taken care of so I could just relax and enjoy what Xi'an has to offer. The Terra Cotta Warriors are some of the coolest things I've seen in China, and I thought Xi'an, with its arching trees and city wall, was beautiful. My guide spoke English very well, and she provided exactly the kind of color commentary that makes site-seeing more interesting.
Some additional things to expect: In this tour I learned that there are China-themed restaurants that exist just to indulge tourists. The food is average at best, you're surrounded by other tourists, and there's an unfortunate assumption that you can't handle chopsticks. The tour guide will also want to take you to some silk, jade or terra cotta warrior "factories" or a "tea house." At these places, they share some educational info, and then they try and sell you stuff, and they don't negotiate much on price. Tour companies can offer better prices on tours like this thanks to arrangements they make with these centrally-run "factories." My advice is to not resist the factory visits as it isn't your tour guide's fault that the company expects them to go there. The tours are actually interesting when you look at them as learning opportunities, and once the salespeople figure out you're not buying anything, they show you the exit pretty quickly.
All in all, it was an interesting and memorable weekend. Based on my great experience in Xi'an, I used Chinatour.net the very next weekend for a Beijing trip. Another great tour!
Rating: [5 of 5 Stars!]
Date Added: 12/08/2008
—— review written by Lisa