"Xiamen (厦门)" Top 5 Page for this destination Xiamen by cal6060
Xiamen Travel Guide: 185 reviews and 670 photos
* Xiamen is located on the Southeast (Taiwan Strait) coast of China, mainly the Gulangyu and Xiamen Island are the tourist attractions are located. It is divided into six districts, Huli, Siming, Jimei, Tong'an, Haicang, and Xiang'an.
* Xiamen is the second largest city in Fujian province after Fuzhou, but being an important port of China. It often refers as " a gate of China". In the 19th century, the city was a treaty port and a starting point of missionary activities in China.
* The remains of old colonial buildings and churches in this seaside city, especially in Gulangyu Island has created a colonial charm along with attractive seascape. The Chinese often praise Xiamen as most livable and romantic leisure city in China.
* Due to poverty and wars between the 19th and early 20th century, many native of Xiamen emigrated to Southeast Asia, mainly Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore, and Taiwan. Many of the oversea Chinese return Xiamen to trace their ancestry and some who do well would have built schools and universities in Xiamen, a good example of Mr. Tan Kah Kee of Malaya, Xiamen native, had built Jimei University and Xiamen University.
* Xiamen has strong ties with Taiwan as a lot of its native moved to Taiwan due to Chinese Civil War between the Communist and Nationalist. A nearby island, Jinmen, is still under the government of Taiwan. After Xiamen was selected as one of the Special Economic Zones in 1980 of the China economic reform, many Taiwanese businessmen seek the opportunities by setting up factories, opening restaurants and shops in this city. The Taiwanese have similar culture, custom, food, and dialect as Minnan with the Fujian.
* Xiamen is one of the gateways of the Hakka Tulou Villages, about 3 hours drive to Nanjing district Tulou Clusters and 3.5 hours to Yongding district Tulou Clusters.
Check out My Google Map Of Xiamen
Also read, My Hubpages: Budget Trip To Xiamen
Traveling to Xiamen for the first time in 2004 from an overnight bus from Shenzhen. I had the impression of Xiamen as a seaport city with colonial buildings, shophouses with its five-foot-way, the ferry to Gulangyu. It was not crowded with domestic tourists at that time, Gulangyu was still a laid-back town without many tourists.
Travelling to Xiamen for the second time in 2012, it was a different kind of experience, especially Gulangyu. Gulangyu has slowly transformed from a laid-back Hokkien town to a tourist town with fancy hotels, restaurants, and shops. The city of Xiamen has been developed with modern skyscrapers, and better infrastructure, roads, bus network, and etc.
I arrived Xiamen Hubin long-distance bus station at 7:30am on 21.12.12. I took a bus (#10) in front of the station to Lundu Terminal (轮渡), the ferry terminal to Gulangyu. It took 10 minutes to reach the Island of Gulangyu. It was a crowded morning with domestic tourists. When I reached Gulangyu, I tried to locate Moshixiaozhu Hostel, booked from elong. I thought it was easy to find the hostel but it took me hours to find the place as I confused between the Organ Museum and Piano Musuem, and my i-phone ran out of power. Finally I managed to find the hostel with the help of the tourist information center.
After I took the shower, I walked down to those charming alleys surrounded by colonial houses, shops, and restaurants. I thought I could cover the island within a few hours, which was a mistake. First, I spent an hour finding a place to eat including snack or street food, then restaurant. Then, I discovered the Sunlight Rock Scenic Area, one of the popular attractions in Gulangyu. So, I bought a joint ticket (Y100) to visit Sunlight Rock and other attractions including Shuzhuang Garden, Bright Moon Park, International Character engraving Art Gallery, and Organ Museum. They were not recommended by Lonely Planet of things to do in Gulangyu. But I did and would recommend others to visit these attractions without a doubt. All of these attractions except International Character Engraving Art Gallery are impressed with the views of Gulangyu. I managed to visit all 5 attractions by 6pm.
After Organ museum, I returned to my hostel to rest and shower. In the evening, I walked down the streets and found a cave, Longshan dong, a pedestrian cave to the waterfront. The Gulangyu's waterfront has a beautiful night city skyline of Xiamen. After dinner in one of the restaurants, I did some night window shopping. They have beautiful shops selling arts and crafts, souvenirs, gifts, bookshops, and etc. I bought a local guide book, Discover Gulangyu, written by William Brown from a local bookstore and had tea and local pastry in MISS ZHAO's Cake and Tea, a great cafe with a relaxing environment, to read the book. After reading some pages of the book, I know there are more to be discovered in the island of Gulangyu.
On 22.12.12, I decided to spend a few hours on Gulangyu island to discover those colonial buildings. I managed to see the following buildings:
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
Then, I took the ferry to Xiamen Island. From the ferry terminal, I took a bus to Siming South Road to visit the Oversea Chinese Museum, then walked to Nanputuo Temple. There is a hill in Nanputuo Temple that has a great view of Xiamen University and the southern coast of Xiamen Island. Right next to Nanputuo Temple, it is a short walk to Xiamen University. The University entrance next to the Temple has a long queue of domestic tourists for identity check to enter the University Campus. So, I walked to Yanwu Street to enter the University from an entrance with less crowd. After visiting the campus, I exited through the Southeast entrance, also called Xiada Baicheng. Xiada Baicheng is a white sandy beach right outside the University entrance. The university is linked by an arch bridge to the Xiada Baicheng. From Xiada Baicheng, I walked along the coast for 7KM to reach Haiyun Terrace. It has a fantastic wooded beach walk of 12.76KM long including several pedestrian bridges built along with it. I think that was the most memorable walk I had in China. Around 6pm, I stopped at Haiyun Terrace and took a bus (#29) back to downtown Xiamen.
I got off the bus when I saw the beautiful night scene at the Millennium Harbor View Hotel and Zhonghua Square, a restored colonial building as a modern shopping mall, along the Siming South Road. Siming South Road is crossed streets with Zhongshan Road, as the main pedestrian shopping street in Xiamen. Walking west on Zhongshan Road, I was walking toward to Lundu Terminal (轮渡) and enjoyed the night ferry ride back to Qulangyu.
The next day, I took a bus to Fujian (Nanjing) Tulou, Yun Shui Yao Old Town.
- Pros:One of the most attractive seaport cities in China!
- Cons:Getting crowded with domestic tourists!
- In a nutshell:A beautiful Chinese seaport city blends with old colonial charm!
It comes to my surprise that the pedestrian shopping streets in Xiamen is light up so beautifully in the evening. It... more travel advice
These are some of the pedestrian bridges in Xiamen beach that I walked through after the Music Square. It was still a 40... more travel advice
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