One of the great things to do in the South Putuo Temple is to enjoy the views from Wufao Peak. You can see the entire Xiamen University and the ocean of Xiamen Harbour.
Try your best to walk up to the top to catch the best views!
Oversea Chinese Museum is one of the museums that I planned to visit while in Xiamen. This is the museum where I can learn the history and the reasons why my ancestors moved from the mainland to Southeast Asia. Or other Chinese moved to another part of the World including America, Australia, Europe, and Africa. And what happens when they arrived in the foreign land in term of work, living conditions, and their passion toward their homeland.
At the old time, it was less paperwork in term of immigration application. As long as one could get a job and continued to live in the country, eventually he or she would adopt the local lifestyles including languages and food. No doubt, some immigrants would face prejudice and difficulty in certain countries, but the Chinese often worked hard to overcome their difficulties. Many had made succeed and fortune in their foreign land and returned their homeland to build schools, and donate money to the society.
This museum would give you an understanding of the foreign Chinese' history and background information. Visit its website
In Chinese: 华桥博物院， hua qiao bo wu yuan.
When I walked on Siming Road to the Oversea Chinese Museum, I passed by this Old Railway Cultural Park. It is near the Hong Shan Park, the old railway crosses Siming Road, surrounded by local shops and houses. The railway had not been used since the war. It was part of the Hong Xia railway track in 1950s , and used as one of the stops for the city rails. In Aug 2011, the government has beautified the place and created a railway cultural park for the public. It is quite unique, don't miss!
In Chinese: 夏门铁路文化公园， xia men tie lu wen hua gong yuan.
After visiting Sunlight Rock, I visited Shuzhuang Garden. The primary site of Shuzhuang Garden is the Zigzag Bridge, a garden built and designed by a wealthy businessman from Taiwan, Lin Erjia. Lin Erjia built this bridge when he was 44 years old, that's why some people called this bridge as "The Forty-Four Bridge". Zigzag Bridge is a unique Chinese garden bridge built in the Guangzaihou beach of Gulangyu islet
There are gates underneath the bridge for diverting sea water into the garden. The sea and the inner and outer ponds conceal the garden. The bridge zigzags over the heaving sea waves like a frolicking dragon. Standing on the bridge are the Fish Viewing Platform, Duyue Pavilion and Qianbo Pavilion. The couplet on the Duyue Pavilion reads, " A long bridge stretches over the sea for ten thousand meters, a bright moon shine over twelve columns."
It is common for the locals to visit the bridge and garden for a night with a bright moon. Sitting in the pavilion where you can gaze at the shiny moon, look at the silent shadows and reflections on the sea surface, listen to the soft whispers of the waves, and let their imagination soar.
In Chinese: 四十四桥，si shi si qiao
This is one of my favorite buildings in Gulangyu. It was designed and built by John Otte in 1920. The designed of the house stands upon a triangular foundation and shaped like a ship headed out to sea. That's why it was named "The Ship House".
It is a 400sq meters of 4-storey brick and concrete mansion. The building features both Chinese and western architectural design. It looks beautiful at night. It is operating as villa now.
American government built this consulate in 1865, but destroyed by fire in 1905. It was re-built in 1930 of the current building with red bricks from the U.S.
During Japanese occupation, the Japanese closed the consulate in 1941. After the war, all the U.S affairs were transferred to Shanghai consulate. The building was rented out as the Philippine consulate.
In 1979, it was the Fujian Provincial Oceanographic Research Institute.
Today, It is Jinquan Villa.
It was closed during my visit so unable to see the interior.
The waterfront on Yanping Road has fantastic views of Xiamen Island of the city skyscrapers at night. I walked out from Longshan Cave, and a short walk to the waterfront. There are tourists and locals enjoying the views and hanging out at the waterfront. This is one of the best things to do after dark at Gulangyu.
Gulangyu is the main attraction of Xiamen. It was home with 200 to 250 foreigners in the 19th century. The colonial charm remains part of the beauty of Gulangyu. In addition to its beautiful harbor and grand hills around it, Gulangyu has become one of the famous attractions in China. Today, this island remains its charming alleys with Mediterranean style buildings being hotels, shops selling selling arts and crafts, souvenirs, gifts, bookshops, and etc, and restaurants. The more historical and beautiful side of Gulangyu has been guarded with admission charges. The main attractions include:
1) Sunlight Rock Scenic Area ( including Summit of Sunlight Rock, Zheng Chenggong Memorial Hall, Qin Park & The Aviary, Mid-Autumn Mookcake Gambling Game Structure, Kanqing Villa).
2) Shuzhuang Garden ( including Zigzag Bridge, Piano Museum, The Twelve Grotto Heaven).
3) Bright Moon Park ( including Stone Sculpture of Zheng Chenggong, Bething Beach, The Poetry Screen of Zheng Chenggong, Bronze Sculpture of Zheng Chenggong).
4) International Character Engraving Art Gallery.
5) Organ Museum or Diagrams Building
* Joint Ticket available Y100 to see all the attractions within a day!
Or, you can spend a day or half day to explore historic buildings and churches remain in the Island at the same time walk pass the Longshan Cave and Bishan Cave.
1) Former U.S Consulate
2) Ship House
3) The Yang's Villa
4) Fanpo Lou Villa
5) Trinity Church
6) Lin House
7) The Gospel Hall
9) Haitingtang Building,
10) Lin's Residence
11) Chen's Residence
12) Former Japanese Consulate
13) Catholic Church
Staying in one of those charming hotels will gain a more memorial experience to the Island. It is quiet, car free and a perfect place to have your marriage photo taken in here. Don't miss....
Find out more, visit Gulangyu Website.
The Gulangyu International Character Engraving Art Gallery is the first character engraving art gallery in China. The gallery displays hundreds of character engraving works from China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, and Malaysia. I did not spend much time in this museum as I was short of time. If you are interested of engraving art, it is worth spending time to learn the history and different art works from different part of the world. It is a two storey building with a modern art display gallery.
In Chinese: 国际刻字艺术馆，guo ji ke zi yi shu guan
Organ Museum is in Gulangyu Islet's iconic Diagrams Building. This museum has started to put together Organs from different parts of the world since November 2004. Its first preview of the exhibition on 1st February 2005. The collections exhibited include pipe organs, reed organs, accordions, harmonicas and others from the United Kingdom, Germany, United States, Australia and other countries. During the preparation, other collections such as cinema pipe organs and electric organs will be shown to the audience successively.
The most impressive exhibition is the pipe organ. The pipe organ named "Norman & Beard" was born in the UK in 1909, have 3 layer keyboard and 32 draw stops. It is still under good condition and rare pipe organ in the world since it can stir up with the electric power, there is a delicacy that can use the manpower ancient manners. It is one of the world top pipe organs manufacturing industry of 20 centuries.
All organs in the museum are contributed by Mr. Hu You Yi, a Chinese Australian who was born at Gulangyu Island. These organs are some of his valuable collections of his lifetime. He loves his hometown deeply, and that is one of the reasons he sets up this museum. He once said " I will devote all my life to build Gulangyu Island Organ Museum into the largest and most excellent organ museum of the world.".
In Chinese: 风琴博物馆，feng qin bo wu guan
It is also known as The Bronze Sculpture Of "Driving away the Invaders by Cane Shield Army". According to the record, the Cane Shield Army was organized by Zheng Chenggong, they were incomparably capable and vigorous and brave and battlewise, and won many victories in driving the Holland invaders out of Taiwan. The bronze sculpture of "Driving away the Invader by Cane Shield Army" lies in the center square of the Bright Moon Park. It's 13 meters long, 4.7 meters high and 18 tons. It's the largest bronze historical-figure sculpture in China at present. The foreground of the sculpture is Zheng Chenggong galloping ahead with a sword drawn in the middle, and escorted by the generals and advisers. The background is the huge and grand cane shield army, the grand spectacle and the various vivid molds have high artistic value. This sculpture was awarded "Excellent Prize" in the national city-sculpture competition in 1994.
In Chinese: 郑成功青铜群雕， zheng cheng gong qing tong qun diao.
The poetry screen of Zheng Chenggong is part of the exhibition at The Bright Moon Park. It is 13 meters long, and 2.5 meters high. It's a granite wall which is inlaid with 8 pieces of black marble. There are carved 8 poems written by Zheng Chenggong in his different historical periods, four of them are his calligraphy. Almost all the poems are based on his military life when he was fighting north and south, some contain profound philosophy, some have soared aspirations. Both his handwriting and poems are beautiful, free and easy like floating clouds and flowing water, and have high artistic and historical value. Unfortunately, there were no English translation.
In Chinese: 郑成功詩碑，zheng cheng gong shi bei
"The stone sculpture of Zheng Chenggong stands like a giant on Fuding Rock. It's 15.7 meters high, 1400 tons, and is carved out of 625 pieces of Quanzhou white high quality granite. It's the largest stone historical figure sculpture in China at present. The sculpture is divided into 25 layers, the base is 8 meters deep in the rock, and there is the thunder-proof equipment, so it can resist scale 12 violent typhoon and earthquake of magnitude above 8. The sculpture attracts thousands and ten of thousands of visitors by its magnificent mould and profound intrinsic ideological level. "
Notes from Signboard.
In Chinese: 郑成功巨型石雕， zheng cheng gong ju xing shi diao
Bright Moon Park is also known as " Haoyue " in Chinese. It is located on the southeastern tip of Gulangyu islet where the Huge Stone Sculpture of Zheng Chenggong is located. The park is China's only sculpture park built in commemoration of the national hero Zheng Chenggong.
The name of the park derives from the line "I had a sleepless night of Your Majesty as the bright moonlight streamed in through the curtain" from the "Two Yanping Lords Poetry Collection" composed in remembrance of the hero and the yearning for the return of the motherland's treasured island of Taiwan.
When I arrived the park, the huge stone sculpture of Zheng Chenggong is no longer my attention of the attraction. But the views of Xiamen Island from the park are satisfying plus beach and the rockery coast line of Gulangyu are wonderful. It is quite a relax place to enjoy the views and the lay back lifestyles of the locals.
Other things to see including The Poetry Steles of Zheng Chenggong and the Bronze Sculpture of Zheng Chenggong.
In Chinese: 皓月园， hao yue yuan
After visiting the Piano Museum, I continued walking to The Twelve Grotto Heaven. It is part of the Shuzhuang Garden with unique man-make rock formation.
The Twelve Grotto Heaven, also known as the " Monkey Grotto", is a rockery made of multi-colored sandstones, extended rocks and conglomerates and consisting of 12 caves. The caves and numbered according to the 12 Heavenly Branches and have the same number as the 12 animals symbolizing the 12 Earthly Branches, hence the name "Twelve Grotto Heaven".
I walked down hill through the grotto and amazed with the beauty of the formation.
In Chinese: 十二洞天，shi er dong tian