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Travel Guide: 7 Places to visit in Xiamen

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  • Travel to China

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Riccardo

CTS Horizons is the UK's number one operator for China and beyond. We offer superb private journeys and tailor-made holidays to the world's most fascinating destinations!

Xiamen became the centre of the World between the 3rd and the 5th of September during the 9th BRICS Summit 2017, the Dialogue of Emerging Markets and Developing Countries held by representatives of the five major emerging national economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. But travel to Xiamen is so much more, let's find out its best attractions in our brief travel guide

Xiamen (厦门) is a big port city in Fujian Province located on the southeast coast, across the Taiwan Strait.
 
It consists of two main islands and a third part on the mainland. 
By BreakdownDiode - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27584741
 
Its name was romanized as Amoy in the past and the port was open to British trade between 1842 and 1912. It is Xiamen's history in fact that brings us to the first subject of this article:
 
 
1. Gulangyu 鼓浪屿
Gulang is the smallest island under the Xiamen administration. During its colonial past was occupied by Westerners and has become particularly famous for its architecture and for hosting China's only Piano Museum. 
 
Nowadays is pedestrian-only and It is reachable in around 20 minutes with a ferry from downtown Xiamen for RMB35. Despite only a few people living there, it is by far one of the most popular tourist attractions in China with over 10 million visitors every year. It has been added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site on July 8th, 2017.
 
2. Nanputuo Temple 南普陀寺
Built in front of a big lotus lake, inside the Temple and in the courtyard is a rich collection that contains many representations of Buddha, other different sculptures and a golden statue portraying Guanyin.
 
Opposite to the lake and reachable from the temple is the Wulaofeng or Wulao peaks, a small mountain range, ideal for a walk and that offers also a lovely view of the surrounding area. The area covered by the temple includes also many caves and verdant areas and is also very close to the third location of interest...
 
3. Xiamen University 厦门大学
Facing the ocean and Xiamen's bay, The campus is a picturesque area including a main traditional republican-era building and a peaceful lake. It was first built in 1921 as a private institution and remained so up until 1937 when due to lack of funds was handed over to the government becoming a national University.
 
Nowadays instead is open for everyone to visit its beautiful park and enjoy the scenery. Within the campus is present also an anthropology museum that boasts two large 'boat coffins' unearthed from a cliff in Wuyi Shan.
 
4. Fujian Tulou 福建土楼
These remarkable and unique structures whose name means 'Earthen building' are a real symbol that you will not find anywhere but in Fujian Province. The Tulou are usually circular or rectangular-shaped fortified five-stories buildings that can house up to 800 people. Built between the 16th and the 20th century they are mostly located in a small area and in 2008 46 of the best preserved have been listed among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
 
Their fortress-like external look hides a proper village on the inside where the community lives in houses all with the same size and structure. Buses travel from Xiamen to the Yongding County where they are located. If you are interested, check out this amazing video by BBC for more insights.
 
5. Hulishan Fortress 胡里山炮台
Near to the just mentioned University, there is the fortress, a former German Gun artillery built in 1894. The fortress structure is quite complex, and its cannon platform architecture is characteristic of Ming and Qing Dynasty. This is, in fact, its main attraction,  a big exhibition of over 50 cannons from the same periods, and even a huge German one. Inside the museum, there is another interesting collection of weaponry.
 
From the two highest platforms, after climbing up to the top, through telescopes is possible to watch the Dadan and Erdan Islands and admire the panorama. 
 
6. Wanshi Botanical Garden 万石植物园
This amazing Botanical Garden is one of the biggest and most appreciated in China and its name meaning 'Ten thousand stones botanical garden' derives from the many oddly-shaped rocks scattered around the park.
 
It was first established in 1960 and nowadays its remarkable collection counts over 6500 different kinds of plant. The Bamboo forest is one of its most attractive scenic areas and among its 29 smaller gardens the Fir Garden boasts many kinds of pine trees and a pond with giant water lilies. The whole area is also home to a number of old temples and ideal to take a relaxing stroll.
 
7. Shapowei Art Zone 沙坡尾艺术西区
Once a small fishing village is now being renewed and is becoming a hub for local artists. As the whole city of Xiamen rapidly develops, this area popular among locals is now becoming more and more well-known even by the expat community.
 
It is a perfect place to both experience the authentic local culture and enjoy a break in one of the several cafes that are opening in this area. Especially during the weekend is possible to find artists performing or selling their works and to hear live music.
Photo by Judith Gandy: https://www.flickr.com/photos/61146871@N07

Contact Us for any info on Xiamen and don't forget to check our China Tours!
 

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