Xiamen is a beautiful coastal city in the Fujian province on China’s eastern coastline. The city is known for its pleasant weather, Hokkien culture and European city architecture. There is a unique mix of Chinese and western style influences due to Xiamen’s history with international trade as a Treaty Port and currently a Special Economic Zone.
Reputed to be China’s “most suitable city for living”, Xiamen has emerged as one of modern China’s hot destinations. Though weekends will probably be crowded with domestic tourists, Xiamen still isn’t as packed as cosmopolitan cities like Beijing and Shanghai, which makes it an ideal destination for a quick relaxing getaway.
Nanputuo (South Putuo) is the most famous Buddhist temple in Xiamen. Founded in the Tang Dynasty, it is essentially a rather huge temple complex with four main buildings, halls and pavilions. You can step inside to admire the Buddhist relics, including a Burmese jade Buddha carving. Located on the southeast of Xiamen Island, the temple is surrounded by the beautiful sea and mountain range. Climb to the top of the hill and you will have a panoramic view of the whole city.
From Nanputuo Temple you can walk down to Xiamen University which is actually a very popular tourist attraction. The university has a great campus ground for strolling. Apart from the lovely gardens and exhibitions detailing the history of the university, the campus even has the best views of Xiamen’s beach! Check out the Furong Tunnel which is an old railway tunnel full of graffiti-type art! The doodles on the walls are mostly done by Xiamen University students and a few from foreign countries. You will find the energy and vibes while you walk through it. Have your camera ready to capture some of the unique shots of the awesome street art!
Xiamen Botanical Garden
Built in 1960, Xiamen Botanical Garden contains more than 6,600 kinds of tropical and ornamental plants and comprises more than 12 special smaller gardens. It’s more than just a botanical garden. It includes monuments, sculptures, temples and architectural heritage. Wonderful place to spend a couple of hours where you can enjoy beautiful landscape and lots of greenery.
Gulangyu is definitely the impressive highlight when you travel to Xiamen. Gulangyu is a car-free island just 10-minute cruise from the coast of Xiamen. This tiny island is renowned for its colonial architecture due to its history of being a treaty port. Combined with lush gardens and beaches, and hip boutique cafes and hotels, wandering about Gulangyu feels a little like you’re in Mediterranean. Climb up the Sunlight Rock and you will get the best view of the island; visit the seaside Shuzhuang Gardens which is an exquisitely designed garden with over 40 bridges; see the historical instruments at the famous Piano Museum that is also located here.
The UNESCO World Heritage site is crowded every day and is especially so on the weekend. You are recommended to stay overnight to enjoy the quiet moment on the island when most of the crowd starts heading back in the evening.