Take a ferry across to Gulangyu Island
There is a regular ferry service from Xiamen downtown to the opposite island of Gulangyu.
The island was where foreign Western traders were limited and hence the European architecture. The island is now a pedestrian only island with no cars. You can walk all around the island, there are seafood restaurants, shops selling sea products and pearls.
There is a small beach and you can see the smaller islands of Taiwan in the horizon - a big deal for the Mainland Chinese who until recently could not visit Taiwan.
The ferry runs until midnight and it is quite nice if you come back at night.
Gulangyu Island is the biggest island of Xiamen. Gulangyu's roads are short with many twists and turns crisscrossing the islet. Vehicles are forbidden on this tiny island. If you have the time, take a leisurely walk on Gulangyu's paved, 4 kilometer ring road. Numerous large, graceful colonial houses that used to serve as consulates or residences of European, Japanese and US diplomats in the late 19th or early 20th century are now still standing amidst the traditional Chinese courtyard mansions.
The island is also called the “Island of Pianos”, with its very good music tradition. There are more than 500 pianos among 6000 households on the island, Many famous musicians in China were born and brought up on the island.
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Take a ferry to Gulangyu Island for:
Sightseeing, Shopping, Beach, Museum, Park, Cats, Ghosts?...
It can be:
Interesting, Fun, Exciting, Romantic, Mysterious, even Spooky!
You can see:
Bright Moon Garden, Seasight Watch Garden, Yu Park, Xiamen Museum, Enchanting oceanfront views, Streets of souvenir shops, Swimming areas, interesting piano museum, romantic paths through the parks, stray cats, and maybe even be a part of mysterious ghost stories...
You can do:
Climb up to the Bright Moon Garden Park and sit at the foot of the amazing giant statue of national hero Zheng Chenggong who is protecting China! Buy China sea pearls from the energetic salespeople at the rows of boutiques, swim proudly with schools of silverfish in the Taiwan Strait, stroll with the stray cats that come out at night, visit the museum and find out if a ghost really lives there!
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Water Sports
Huli Hill Fort has always been considered the door to Xiamen. Huli Hill Fort is virtually impregnable, thanks to its construction built of sand, clay, camphor tree juice, lime, and glutinous rice. The fort boasts the World of Exotic Stones and an exhibition of ancient weapons, including a 60 ton German Krupp. Built in 1896, this is the last of China's over 100 coastal cannons, and the longest in the world. With a range of 16,640 meters, it could easily lay into Taiwan - occupied Jinmen island, a mere two miles offshore.
This is a popular tour destination especially for overseas Chinese visitors. This famous university was built from funds from poor Fujianese who went to seek their fortune abroad and those who turned from rags to riches, sent money back to help build this university.
It is located about 17 km from Xiamen downtown and by the sea. So the surrounding scenery is pleasant for a photo or two.
Opening time: 8:30am to 4:50pm. It was closed when we got there and already quite dark.
Buddhist Temple : Nanputuo
Nanputuo is a popular and must-see Buddhist temple in Xiamen. Went there twice myself.
The history of the temple dated back a thousand years to the Tang Dynasty. It is now a popular place to pray for local and overseas Chinese tourists. There is a series of prayer halls built on the slope of the hill and so wear a pair of good shoes to climb the steps.
There are some giant boulders where Chinese characters and sayings are carved out from the rock. Nice views from the top. Just watch your steps.
You caan buy lucky charms at the souvenir shop.
There is a nice lotus pool at the front of the temple if you rather wait and enjoy the views while others in your group climb the steps.
An old coastal fort - Huli Fort
Huli Fort is another major tourist destination in Xiamen.
At the top of the Fort, is a panaromic viewing of the harbor including the outlying island of Jin Mei of Taiwan.
Xiamen was one of the few ports first opened to Europeans by the Qing Dynasty after the defeat of the Opium War to the British. This cannon fort was not at par to handle the "hairy barbarians". Ironically, the cannons were actually German made.
Visit Xiamen University
I love visiting Universities: checking out the campus, meeting students, and finding out about events happening in the area. Xiamen University is said to have one of the most beautiful campuses in China, with beautiful architecture, a small lake, many trees and trails. There are also two small museums here: Lu Xun Bowuguan (Writer) and Renlei Bowuguan (Anthropology). Go to see this campus -- You'll love it, too!
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Jimei Scenic Sightseeing Area
Jimei is Tan Kah Kee's hometown and a college town. Mr.Tan, a patriotic overseas Chinese, set up 12 schools of different levels from kindergarten to colleges and combined into Jimei University. Jimei is also a prime tourist site with distinctive strong local culture. The buildings along the Dragon-boat Lake are especially charming with the wall half-hidden in the green trees and the roofs glittering under the sun, all of which are reflected in the lake presenting a fantastic view.
Aoyuan ( Turtle Park), one of the highlights, lies in the southeastern corner of Jimei, stretching out to the sea. The park has a marvelous display of 653 carvings, depicting various historical scenes, personage stories from ancient to modern China, and the inscriptions. The carvings are so fine and exquisite that visitors marvel at the craftsmen's skill and feat.
- Historical Travel
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Xiamen University (Xia Da)
Xiamen University, the picturesque campus by the sea, is a wonderful place to stroll around on a sunny morning or afternoon. First head for the lake in the center of campus. If you walk the paths around the lake you will discover arched bridges and an island with bronze life-size statues. From the lake, there's the view of modern architecture of the new administration and classroom buildings as well as the original ancient style dormitory buildings on the opposite sides. Behind those buildings you can hike up the mountains in the back. There are many trails that lead over the mountain to the botannical gardens on the other side.
Nanputuo Temple sits at the south foot of Wulao Peak (Five Elders Peaks). The temple's magnificent complex ornate structures were built over 1,000 years ago in Dang Dynasty. Nanputuo Temple's halls and pavilions sprawl across the Five Old Men Mountains like an oversized Chinese miniature landscape. There are many giant statues of Buddha in this temple. It is also home of a few hundred monks.
- Historical Travel
Swimming in the Taiwan Strait!!
I love swimming -- and swimming in the ocean is the best because of all of the nature around you! Xiamen is an island, so there are a lot of nice beaches for swimming! They aren't very crowded and are nice and clean. The water is very salty, so it's easy to swim in. Watch out for the tides -- locals know the right times for swimming. Otherwise -- Dive in!
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- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
Gulangyu lovely island
Most of the travelers reason for visiting Xiamen is spending a few days in gulangyu island
The best thing to do is walking around the island and explore the parks , beaches giving a look at the islands multi-cultural architecture
In the city exploring the Zonghsan Lu(walking street) and the side roads of Zhongsan Lu is the best thing to do in Xiamen
- Budget Travel
Gulangyu: Ship House
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.
- Historical Travel
Gulangyu: Piano Museum
Gulangyu Piano Museum has valuable collection of antique Pianos of Mr. Hu Youyi, a Gulangyu native who now resides in Australia. It is a beautiful piano shape architectural building on a hill looking over the ocean and Shuzhuang Garden. The collection illustrates the history of piano development in the world and is aimed to disseminate piano knowledge, promote cultural exchanges between China and the rest of the world, and highlight the image of Gulangyu Islet as an island of music and pianos.
In between the mid-19th to early 20th century, foreign missionaries brought organs to Xiamen. During that period, Gulangyu Islet was home to many churches, missionary schools and hospitals. It was time when many eager piano learners and a large number of organs and pianos were brought onto the islet. By the early 1950s, there were more than 500 pianos on the islet. To date, many great pianists and musicians have emerged for Gulangyu Islet, such as Zhou Shu'an in the 1920s, Lin Junqing in the 1930s, Yin Chengzong and Wu Tianqiu in the 1950s, Xu Feixing in the 1960s, Xu Feiping in the 1980s, Chen Zhuohuang and Xu Xing'ai in the 1990s, all of whom are China's and even the world's leading pianists and musicians.
In Chinese: 钢琴博物馆, gang qin bo wu guan.
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