Arrive 30 minutes before the ticket counter opens. Buy tickets then get in line, make a b-line for the electric cart tickets once you enter. That way you get to Pit 1 before the crowds. We hired one if the official guides who gave a tour in English using headsets. The guide has pros and cons. The good is that she knew how to navigate and get us around quickly, staying ahead of the crowds andlearning about the history as we went. The down side is that the guides get commission at several of the souviner shops, so you are going to do some window shopping. That being said, if you buy some of the terra-cotta miniatures, they will take tou up stairs for a tea service. If you havent had a tea service, this is a great way to experience several types of tea. This did delay us from pit 3 where you can actually see a few pieces up close. By the time we fot there it was wall-to-wall people, uncomfotable, and we just hurries through. Adter the tour you come out in a large shopping district with lots more sovieners, including more terra-cotta miniatures. These are supposedly not kiln fired and more probe to breakage, but who knows. Also, we went to a jade shop, but the prices seemed too low, probably color enhanced jade and the pink jade was quartz. Finally, we went to a shop that had the farmer who discovered the first pit (other folks have said that he is he son of the farmer) though the book was nice and he uses an impressive stamp in addition to his autograph. All in all though an impressive experience if you get there early.