We had been very relaxed with reservations, but some fellow travellers advised us to reserve a hostel bed in Xian due to holiday’s high demand. We emailed Shuyuan Youth Hostel, recommended by many travellers and of course Lonely Planet, but they replied saying they were full. Our new Australian friend Ryan E. suggested we use hostel bookers. We did so, and miraculously, we had a reservation confirmation.
We were worried…wasn’t the hostel full? Ryan E. offered to make sure we had a room since he was arriving to Xian a day before us. We gave him all our information, but we were unable to communicate with him. We arrived around 9am to Xian unsure, if we had a place to sleep.
Sure enough, as soon as we exited the train station, there was a sign waiting for us! When we arrived to the hostel, we saw Ryan E. getting ready for a tour, we tried to join but the tour was full for the day.
Shuyuan Youth Hostel was very nice, it had 3 courtyards, a restaurant/coffee shop, and even a bar. Rooms were clean and bathrooms were decent. Many of the travellers we met in Beijing we saw again in Xian. The hostel offered a lot of information and maps and free welcome coffee.
We spent the rest of the morning deciding what to do next. We knew we had to buy our train tickets immediately because of the holidays. After much discussion and frustration we decided to go to Chengdu and skip the Yangzi River cruise because it was going to take too long and it was going the opposite direction where we wanted to go.
Once we decided, we were ready to explore the city. We walked around the city, the Bell Tower, the Drum Tower, which we decided not to climb, and the Muslim Quarter. We also visited the Great Mosque, which was very interesting; it was a Chinese style Mosque. Later, we walked around the market looking for souvenirs.