Xi’an is one of the few cities in China where significant sections of its outer walls remain. In fact, the local government has done a spectacular job of restoring what is now a 14km (8.75 miles) perimeter that borders Xi’an’s city center. Military buffs will learn a lot from the displays strewn across the walls, which rise 12 meters (40 feet) above ground. And if you are decent shape, the best way to enjoy the walls are by bicycle.

Entering the walls by the South Gate offers the most spectacular entrance, but you can rent the bikes almost anywhere. Depending on the weather, you may want to combine walking and bicycling. But exploring the walls by bicycle is pure joy: for a 200 yuan deposit and a 45 yuan fee for 2 hours, you can circumvent the entire length of the walls if you hustle. The bikes are not of the highest quality, but they will do as the entire length of the walls is flat, with the occasional ramp. Personally, I found south and west walls most interesting: construction is ongoing in the northeast area within the walls. For couples traveling together, there are double bicycles available, too.

Bring plenty of snacks, and buy your water before you enter the walls—while there are plenty of snack and drink kiosks, the prices are way more expensive. This is a great way to spend a morning, especially during summer, when Xi’an’s temperatures can be scorching. You won’t regret setting aside time for traipsing about these 14th century walls—one of many reasons why Xi’an is one of the best places to visit in China.

Image credits: Leon Kaye

Xian, China, travel, bicycling, city walls, Leon Kaye

Go early, when it is not too hot or crowded

Xian, China, travel, bicycling, city walls, Leon Kaye

You won't be disappointed by the views

Xian, China, travel, bicycling, city walls, Leon Kaye

View from the north side of the city walls

Xian, China, travel, bicycling, city walls, Leon Kaye

Hopefully the skies will be blue the day you rent a bike here

Xian, China, travel, bicycling, city walls, Leon Kaye

You may even make a few friends

About The Author

Leon Kaye

Leon Kaye is the founder and editor of GreenGoPost.com. Based in California, he specializes in social media consulting and strategic communications. A journalist and writer since 2009, his work has appeared on Triple Pundit , The Guardian's Sustainable Business site and has appeared on Inhabitat and Earth911. His focus is making the business case for sustainability and corporate social responsibility. Areas of interest include the <a Middle East, sustainable development in The Balkans, Brazil and Korea. He was a new media journalism fellow at the International Reporting Project, for which he covered child survival in India during February 2013. Contact him at leon@greengopost.com. You can also reach out via Twitter (Leon Kaye) and Instagram (GreenGoPost). Since 2013, he has spent much of his time in Abu Dhabi, UAE, working with Masdar, the emirate's renewable energy company. He lives in Fresno, California.