As i have mentioned on my Xiamen page Xiamen is famous with its University and there are many students studying there form all over China.Most of these students take part-time jobs on Gulangyu island in order to practise their English by speaking to the foreign visitors.By the way you can get great knowledge and good tips about the country , Xiamen city and Gulangyu Island itself.They are very friendly and honest as those students would never try to sell you something like the touts at the other touristy places but only want to speak to you.You might need to take the first step because most of them are very shy and the only thing that they say remains as a warm hello and if you don't reply them kindly and speak more they wouldn't speak to you more.
Keep on mind that offering a cigarette means they want to start a conversation for Chinese people
Favorite thing: While exploring the city it is always good to stop for a few minutes at a small market on the streets of Xiamen for a drink when you are thirsty.The soft drinks in refundable bottles would cost only 1yuan , the cheapest way to have drink.
When visiting many Chinese temples, you will see Chinese characters carved in the stone or rock.
There are many writing styles of Chinese characters depending on the historic period and the choice by the author (carver).
Often, the characters are also painted in red or in Nanputuo, the character "Buddhism" ("Fuo")is painted in gold.
Famous Chinese epithets or idioms or good luck wishes are often depicted.
So do stop and ask your Chinese tour guide to translate the some of the more famous sayings and the history behind it to appreciate these rock inscriptions.
At Nanputuo temple, this beautifully carved and brightly colored hanging carp drum caught my eyes.
It reminded me of the one in my hometown Penang at the Kek Lok Si temple. Similar wooden carp drums can be found in Buddhist temples from Japan, Korea, Taiwan, China to Malaysia and Singapore.
The carp is also associated with the dragon in Chinese legend.
The wooden carp will be sounded at sunrise and sunset in many Buddhist temples. Often this is preceeded by the procession of monks to the main hall for prayers.
This was my first trip and second destination in China and I quickly observed that the local Chinese like Malaysians must have a photograph taken at every famous scenic spot and famous destination.
So do be patient and give way for photographs to be taken. At some places, it can be a long queue and some will try to quicky rush to the spot or scream at their family members to get there next. In the spirit of travelling, it should be tolerated and so instead you may want to just take the photo of others being photographed.
Should you ask a stranger to take a photo for you? No, unless it is someone you know. As you may have heard, cameras have been stolen that way.
Lots of reasonable priced goods at the day or night market, however you must bargain for lower price, about 30-50% lower. Most of the time, we have to act like we're not interested if the price is not dropped half. if the peddlers see that you really want the product, they will only drop the price a little.
Downtown ZhongShan Road has a plenty of retail shops & departmental stores but the prices of branded goods are hiked up much higher. The branded clothes are mostly made in China but with higher price.
Favorite thing: just walk around the island and explore this beautiful island full of parks , sea views and beutiful nature