Get in Xi'an by plane
By planeXi'an Xianyang International Airport (IATA: XIY) is located 40 km northwest of the city centre, in Xianyang. Flights are available to Beijing, Chengdu, Chongqing, Dunhuang, Fuzhou, Guangzhou, Harbin, Hangzhou, Hohhot, Kunming, Lhasa, Lanzhou, Nanjing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Urumqi, Wuhan, Xining and Zhangjiajie within China, International flights are available to Bangkok, Hong Kong, Macau, Seoul as well as Nagoya, Fukuoka, Niigata, Tokyo and Hiroshima in Japan, and Singapore via Kunming. As Xi'an is located in the heartland of China, it takes no more than 2 hours to fly to most major Chinese cities. AirAsia recently launched new route Bangkok-Xian.
Get in by fast train
The high speed train from Xi'an North to Luoyang-Longmen is now available many times a day, starting 7am. The distance of 400km takes about 1.5 hours. The high speed train station is located about 10km north from the Xi'an north gate (do not get mix up with the Xi'an North gate train station). The last train returns around 7pm. Schedules may change, so it is best to check it out at the station or website.
Get in by trainThere are plenty of trains transporting passengers to and from most of the major cities inside China. Keep in mind train tickets may only be available if booked far in advance (most ticket sales open 10-21 days in advance; an agent can help book but will probably charge significant commission fees). Traveling in a seat (hard or soft-class) means you will share the car space with lots of locals. You will most likely encounter smokers, loud noise, and constant activity in the aisle while you try to sleep. *Do not* travel hard class if you are uncomfortable with these settings. Sleeper cabins are limited to 6 people each (4 for deluxe soft sleepers, which are only on a few trains from Beijing); bottom bunks cost a bit more because they're a couple cm wider and could be sit on. If traveling alone, be especially careful of your luggage! Also note that bathrooms and washrooms may be closed (and locked!) 30-60 minutes before getting to the train station.
Trains run to several domestic cities including: Beijing (5-13 hours), Chengdu (13-18 hours), Chongqing (14 hours), Guangzhou (8-24 hours), Kunming (36-53 hours), Lanzhou (8-10 hours), Lhasa (36 hours), Shanghai (11-20 hours), Urumqi (31-56 hours), Wuhan (4-18 hours), and Zhengzhou (2-6 hours).
Xi'an Station is at the north end of Jiefang Road, just outside the northeast city wall. As you exit, there will probably be lots of people offering cheap hotel rooms; just ignore them if you already have a room booked. Even if you don't, you probably don't want to get one from them anyway. Also, don't fall for the people who offer to exchange a Xi'an map for your used train ticket - they reuse them for some shady purposes, e.g. re-selling them to people who just want to get into the station or try to sneak on a train.
In Xi'an, it is very easy to get to the railway station by city bus from anywhere in the city. There are several stops within 200 m of the station (look for train station East or North on a bus route. Many hostels also offer free pick-up if you arrive between 6 and 9 AM.
Xi'an North Station serves the high-speed rail. It is connected by the metro system. Destinations include Luoyang, Zhengzhou, Wuhan, Shijiazhuang, Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing, Changsha, Guangzhou and Shenzhen.
Get around by subway
The first subway line, running north/south, although still partially under construction at the southern most end, opened September 2011. You can connect to and from the Xi'an North Train Station for the high speed rail network. Since the subway is now only partly completed, the stops are limited, and it is, therefore, of limited use to tourists.
Get around by taxi
Taxis are very limited. It can take a rather long time to find a vacant one and even then - given their choice of fares - they may decide to decline your destination for a more profitable one that is closer. Watch the taxi drivers in Xi'an as the industry is not regulated as it is in other larger cities. You may find yourself being taken on a long ride around town to get where you are going. It can also be difficult to convince them to take you anywhere (even to the railway station). If in doubt get your hotel or hostel to write down the place you want to go in Chinese. Between 3 and 5 o'clock in the afternoon the taxis change their shifts. This means the drivers are rushing to their handover points, so they won't pick you up even they are empty.