Xiamen is a city along Fujian, China’s coast. It has a laid back vibe and a bit of everything you want to have in a modern city such as shopping streets, good public transportation, cafes and hole-in-the-wall restaurants. It is also a hub for day trips to other destinations in the province. If you’re still fixing your itinerary, here are some things to do in Xiamen.
Gulangyu Island used to be a foreign settlement a century or so ago. Foreigners lived and established their businesses here. Fast forward to today, it is a popular local and foreign tourist destination. You’ll see a mix of east and west design influences as you admire the buildings while weaving in and out of the island’s narrow streets and alleys. The ferry from the city costs CNY35 round trip. It is free to walk around but you’ll have to pay to go up Sunlight Rock and a few attractions.
This pedestrian street comes alive at night; the many shops and restaurants lining it will attract visitors to dine and shop. The buildings you’ll see here have a mix of Chinese and Victorian aesthetics. Try the local delicacies, eat burgers and fries, or just walk around and window shop.
This artsy district has an art zone, shops and a couple of restaurants nearby. The art zone has exhibits from local artists that display their creativity. The old buildings exude a distinct charm despite the modernity you’ll see in different parts of the city.
This temple in the bustling city provides a quiet space where you can leave the crowds and clear your mind. This Buddhist temple dates all the way back to the Tang epoch. There are various halls and pavilions, and Buddhist icons and images in the complex.
Shimao Straits Towers
These two towers are the most recognizable structures in Xiamen’s skyline. These beautiful buildings have shops and restaurants inside. You can hang out here after exploring the city’s attractions or after going on a day trip. There is also a viewing platform that provides visitors with bird’s eye views of the city.
After the exploring the urban jungle, board a bullet train to Wuyishan and soak in the fresh air and see spectacular landscapes. This scenic area has rivers that weave through rock formations and mountains. Locals go to this park to enjoy the vistas while on a bamboo raft. You can also follow the trails and go up the stairs to get overlooking views. Rafting costs CNY130 and the entrance fee is CNY225 for the two days’ ticket.
Also known as Earth Towers, the Fujian Tulous are a distinct architectural masterpiece built by the Hakkas. These unique communal houses in the mountains come in round and square shapes. Some of the houses are more than a century old and have maintained their structural integrity. The homes are also designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. You may have seen these in the trailer of the latest remake of Disney’s Mulan. The entrance fee to the Tianluokeng Cluster is CNY90 and there’s a separate CNY15 for the bus around the scenic area. You can take the bus from Nanjing Railway Station for CNY14 one way. There are regular bullet trains from Xiamen and Xiamen North Station to Nanjing Railway Station.
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