Since we were in China to allow our child to immerse in Mandarin at the best school in Beijing, we just had 3 days to explore Xi'an and we took the overnight train from and back to Beijing. I wasn't sure where we were going to stay when I just happened to get an email from the folks at Wimdu who offered to sponsor our stay. What luck!
Our guide picked us up from the train and brought us to the apartment where we met the owner in front of the modern building with 24 hour securty guards in a fantastic location in the city center, just a short walk away from the famous bell and drum tower and Muslim street with it's fabulous food and history.
I really like vacation rentals like this as they allow one to travel like a local, but I actually had never heard of Wimdu until they contacted me, probably because we are unplugged so much. They are a fast growing, cool company and have over 50,000 accommodations across 5 continents and the easy to use portal is available in 16 language. I was impressed!
This apartment stood out to me as it looked liked the perfect place for a family to experience ancient Xi'an, feel comfortably at home and make history come more alive for our daughter. Staying here, you are not going to forget that the Terracotta Warriors are a center piece of China's history and this special city, which was the national capital for 12 dynasties.
It is a very Chinese apartment on so many levels and with 23 lifesized Terracotta Warriors, you know you are in a unique spot. We liked that and the very accommodating owner and his wife who knew so much about the history of the Terracotta Army that he wrote a book about them.
The location was ideal and we loved being so close to Muslim street with it's exotic, medieval atmosphere and yummy food that took us back to Marco Polo sensibilities on this Silk Road starting point of the ancient trade route between Asia and Europe. We spent time there every day and no matter what time it was night or day, we were captivated.
We went grocery shopping before going to the apartment, so picked up some basics like eggs and veggies, so we could have relaxed mornings before heading out to tour or wander about. The kichen was clean, handy and had everything we needed.
Xi'an has the most complete ancient city wall in China, so of course we had to explore it as well on our own. Independent travel is possible in China, so we did some on our own and some with our guide which worked out nicely.
Even the bathroom had Terracotta Warriors with these hand made tiles and funny warriors with their backs to participants for a little privacy. The bathroom worked well, had everything we needed, and we enjoyed the novelty.
There were two big bedrooms, but we ended up just using this one. It was a little strange having warriors look at you all the time, but one adapts.
We had a few minor glitches, like the internet not working at first, but the owners handled things immediately and soon the internet was working great. We even called home and got a few things done while kiddo watched a little Mandarin TV. Living a round-the-world lifestyle, we are use to making our travel office everywhere and witopia VPN gave us access to all despite the Chinese firewall.
We loved how our stay at this apartment enhanced our time visiting the Terracotta Army site. Our vacation rental even had terracotta warrior costumes to try on which our daughter enjoyed.
While we were relaxing in our Xi'an home, we couldn't help but get into
conversations about this amazing archaeology site from the 3rd century
BC with over 8000 soldiers. His book was there too and other reading
materials about the area.
The apartment rental even had a sand box for kids where they can play at being an archaeologist discovering the warriors.
All the little touches made it interesting. The folks at Wimdu and this couple ( who lived nearby) did a great job at making our stay special and easy.
His wife didn't speak English, but luckily Mozart speaks great Mandarin and he spoke good English. We were there in the off season, so there were no crowds. We even arrived on the day that there was a huge festival at the Pagoda which was televised "live" all over China, so that added to the magic.
Thanks so much Wimdu for the sponsored hospitality which allowed us to experience what a vacation rental is like in China. We will definitely be using you again!