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Gulangyu Island (2 hr - 1 day)

Xiamen Gulangyu
The most popular tourist destination in Xiamen is Gulangyu Island, which is a car free island just off the coast of Xiamen. In only ten minutes a ferry can bring you to this island. The ride to the island is free, though you have to pay for your return ride. This will cost you 8 Yuan. (Between 10 and 12 pm you don’t need to pay anymore).

The island hosts China's only piano museum, giving it the nickname of ‘Piano Island’. And it has much more attractions, restaurants, shops and hotels.

It is a pedestrian only destination, where the only vehicles on the islands are electric tourist buggies. The narrow streets on the island, together with the colonial architecture, give the island a unique appearance.

Gulangyu is renowned for its many beaches. It can be quite odd if it is your first time to see a beach completely crowded with Chinese people.

Nanputuo temple (2 hrs)

Xiamen Nanputuo
The most important temple in Xiamen is Nanputuo temple. This temple exists already for many centuries, but after renovation and reconstruction in 1980s, it has attracted many local and foreign tourists with its splendid architecture and practicing Buddhists for pilgrimage.

After a visit to the temple, it’s great to climb Wulao Peaks behind the temple for a stunning view on the city and its surroundings.

The entrance to the temple is free, but feel also free to make a donation to the temple. The temple is located at Siming Nanlu on the southeast of Xiamen Island. The opening hours are from 8 am to 5 pm.

Hulishan fortress (2 hrs)

Xiamen Hulishan
Near the sea, on the south of Xiamen Island, you will find Hulishan fortress. This complex was constructed in 1890. The rectangular castle, made of granite rocks, occupies 13,000 square meters.

Xiamen was an ancient battlefield and the fortress has played an important role in resisting foreign aggressors. The east and west emplacements had two main cannons bought from the German Krupp Company (only one is remaining). The length of the cannon is 13.13 meters and its weight is 50 tons. The calibre of the cannon is 280 mm and it has a maximum range of fire of 16,000 meters.

From the fortress you get great views on beaches and surroundings. It is great to walk around the fortress and imagine yourself in the previous century.
The entrance fee is 25 Yuan and the opening hours are from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm.

Yundang lake & Bailuzhou park (1-2 hrs)

Xiamen Yundang Lake
In the middle of the city you will find Yundang Lake, a great place to escape the city. At the lake you will see a lot of local people fishing. In the middle of the lake is a park, Bailuzhou Park, where you can make a nice walk, while you get great views on the surrounding high-rise buildings.

At night you can go to Bailuzhou Park again and watch the illuminated fountains. This can be seen from 7 to 120 pm.

Nearby the park and the lake you will find Yundang Lu, the Coffee Street and Haiwan Park for evening entertainment. For these tips go to our Entertainment section.

Rent a bicycle (1-3 hrs)

Xiamen Biking
There are several ways to explore a town and it’s surroundings. One of the most fun ways to get to know Xiamen’s vicinity is to rent a bike and drive on the Island Ring Road. The fully developed bicycle lane beside the road offers you the possibility to explore the island on your own.

Nearby the Hulishan fort are many shops where you can rent a bike and ride along the wonderful beaches. Actually in front of the entrance of the fort is a rental service, but they don’t have good quality bikes and they overcharge you. They charge 20 Yuan per hour for normal bike.

There are many more shops where you can rent a better bike. You will find these shops at at Huandao Nanlu. If you are at the fort, you should go further down the street (away from the city centre) to find these shops. They charge only 10 Yuan per hour for a tandem bike.

Hakka Tulou houses (1 day)

Xiamen Hakka Tulou
Outside Xiamen you can see the traditional Hakka Tulou houses. These houses are large scaled residential buildings that provide a place for clansmen to live compactly. It also has defensive function. Since the walls are usually built by rammed earth, the building of this kind, therefore, is called Tulou house. Some of them are several hundreds of years old but the houses are still in use and you can visit them and see the places inside.

You will find these houses in Yongding County, located in the southwest part of Fujian Province. The place is famous all around the world for its beautiful landscape, unique Hakka culture, and magnificent Tulou houses.

Arrange a driver from a hotel in Xiamen and preferably a guide who speaks English. The drive from Xiamen to the houses is approximately 3 hours. There are several sites where you can watch these houses. Ask your local guide to bring you to a UNESCO site. Total cost of the trip including entrance fee to the houses shouldn’t be more than 300 Yuan per person.

Xiamen Botanical Gardens (1-5 hrs)

Xiamen Botanical Gardens
Xiamen Botanical Garden is a carefully designed botanical garden around Modanyan Reservoir on the northern slope of Shi Mountain in southeast urban area of Xiamen. It is divided into more than twenty botanical zones, cultivating grounds and display rooms for more than tens of thousands of cultivated tropical, subtropical plants including palms, bamboo, orchids, bonsai and medicinal plants.

The park has several entrance gates and the entrance fee is 40 yuan. A visit to the botanical gardens is nice in combination with a visit to Nanputuo Temple. Climb the mountain behind the temple and at the top you will find an entrance gate to the gardens.

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Language of the world

Of course you like to speak a few words of the local language onboard the plane or at your destination. Here you find some simple basics of the main language spoken in Xiamen.