In which I name my Top 5 things to do in Xiamen
I’m very lucky where I live in Zhangzhou, as Xiamen is only an hour away yet offers many things to me that Zhangzhou cannot. I am also glad I don’t live in Xiamen though, as it remains that little bit more special if I get to visit it every now and again.
Xiamen island is one of those places that some people have heard about, but not many people visit. It’s in the southern province of Fujian in China and famous for being a very beautiful and warm city. It’s got a large port and an international airport, which is very handy for me.
Here are 5 things that I recommend you do whilst in Xiamen (they are in no particular order and I’m sure as I explore Xiamen more I will have posts adding to this list!):
Eat pizza in Pizza Hut overlooking Gulang island (Gulangyu)
Yes, I know Pizza Hut is Western food, but I do like a little treat every now and again, doesn’t everyone?! This Pizza Hut however has a spectacular view across Xiamen harbour and Gulangyu, so why not indulge your eyes as well as your stomach at the same time?
Picture the scene, it’s a beautiful day and you’re happily engrossed in you latest read when someone comes over to say hello and have a quick chat. Five minutes later, someone else comes over to talk, then another person and so on it goes… They will ask you what your Kindle is “it’s not an iPad?!” and generally want to know things about you. It’s hilarious in China – if you sit somewhere still for long enough someone will eventually approach you, guaranteed!
Go to Gulangyu
This is a famous island just off of Xiamen. It’s tiny and takes all of 5 minutes to cross the water from Xiamen on the ferry. On the island there are various wonderful places to see, including Sunlight Rock, the various beaches, the piano museum and the aquarium.
You will laugh at the Chinese not being able to use beaches properly though. They just stand around, trying to shade themselves from the sun, not wanting to get tanned!
The buildings on the island are very unusual – much more European style than anywhere in Xiamen. Think terracotta roofs and you think you’ve been transported to Italy briefly, until someone around you spits on the floor that is.
Hop on buses
Buses in Xiamen are 1, sometimes 2 in the summer when the air-conditioning is being used. As long as you have a fixed point to return to – I used the railway station as I know the characters – you can potter all day around Xiamen finding random things around the city.
This is an old village on the coast of Xiamen, rather than in the centre of the island. There is a plethora of back lanes and alleys to wander down which are home to many small and homely hostels, if you can find them!
There’s plenty of food on offer and also the chance to rent a bike to cycle down the coastline for a while, which is well worth it as there is lots of coastline and beach to see.
Xiamen is a really vibrant city and so close to the sea, no wonder it is popular with people who visit it. I hope to see you here soon!