Cycling Xi’an city wall

Xi'an city wall 015

After cycling around Hangzhou I was eager to get back on the bike again, and so when we got to Xi'an, the capital of Shaanxi province, I took advantage of an opportunity to cycle the city wall.

The 12-metre high wall, which is just under 14km in length, is one of the oldest in China.

Together with a fellow traveller, we paid the 40 RMB (£4) entrance fee at the South Gate, went through security and climbed the stairs to the top of the wall.

Xi'an city wall 004 Xi'an city wall 071

Cycle hire was easy to arrange — and cheap. After paying a 200 RMB refundable deposit for the bikes, we were charged 20 RMB per 100 minutes.

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I was pleasantly surprised at how few people were on the wall. I had expected the place to be heaving with tourists and I wasn't particularly looking forward to weaving in and out of them on two wheels.

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But during the entire 14km journey we spied only a handful of cyclists, and an equal number of pedestrians. It was a bit like discovering Xi'an's best-kept secret.

The surface of the wall was a little bit bumpy in places, and, typically, if there was a pothole to be found my two wheels found it!

But we weren't in any rush and spent just as much time off the bike as on it, while we took photographs or peered over the edge of the wall to check out the neighbourhoods below.

Of course, we didn't get around the circuit in 100 minutes and had to fork over extra cash for being late (an additional 5 RMB for 30 minutes extra time on the bike), but it was worth it. Cycling Xi'an's city wall was definitely one of the highlights of my trip to China!

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