A Night of Bells, Drums and Dice
If you had only one night to spend in Xian, I would ask you to skip the fancy Chinese restaurants with their elaborate lauriats and cultural shows. Instead, I invite you to have a bowl of piping hot noodles at your neighbourhood shop, plop onto a low stool with a couple of skewers lamb, beef and chicken, and down them all with the mighty bai ju.
Take time out to say hi to your neighbouring table – they most probably won’t speak a word of English, but they’re usually friendly to visitors. There’s also this drinking game you can play – the name escapes me but it involves dice shaking followed by swills of drinking. It’s educational too, see how far you can go and say numbers in Mandarin.
And if you can do it right near the city center where the Bell and Drum Towers are in view, that would be just plain awesome. The Bell Tower rang at dawn, signalising the opening of the city walls, and the Drum Tower beat at sunset to indicate their closing. You can start the evenings with beating drums, and enjoy the night with bai ju and games while waiting for the Bell Tower to signal the start of a new day.