Top 7 things to do in Xiamen

Be sure to catch these sights to get the full flavor instead of just a taste of one of China's most picturesque cities

Ride a bamboo raft at the Nine-Bend River in Wuyi Mountains

Ride a bamboo raft at the Nine-Bend River in Wuyi Mountains

Explore the Wuyi Mountains

The UNESCO listed Wuyi Mountains are a quite a distance from Xiamen but it’s easily accessible via the high-speed railway (the ride takes only under three hours).

The area was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999 for its scenery and biodiversity. Aside from hiking, many tourists come to take a ride on bamboo rafts as it floats down the Nine-Bend River. Along the way, the boatman will point out various landmarks of odd shaped rock formations. The valleys have been cultivated for growing tea and connoisseurs of the stimulating drink will know the area for the very famous and expensive Da Hong Pao teas variety.

Admission: Tickets cost CN¥140 for one day, CN¥150 for two days and CN¥160 for three day excursions. Bus tickets are about ¥85 for 1 day, slightly more for 2 days and so on. Bamboo rafting tickets cost CN¥135 per person.

Have a pleasant stroll at Xiamen University

Xiamen University’s campus is the most beautiful in China

Located between the foothills of the “Five Men Mountain” and Xiamen’s bay, Xiamen University is recognized as the most beautiful university campus in China. Visit it and explore its traditional buildings, and stroll along the lake. Bring your passport as security will check it before letting you in. 422 Siming South Rd

How to get there: Take bus 45, 87, 17, 1, 18, 29 or 47

Take in the atmosphere at Nanputuo Temple

See the prayer halls at Nanputuo Temple

Close to Xiamen University is the grand Nanputuo (or South Putuo) Temple. It was established by monks in 1403 at the foot of the Wulao Peaks and covers an area of 25.8ha. Dedicated to GuanYin or the Goddess of Mercy, pilgrims visit the temple all year round. Drop by to see the ornately decorated prayer halls, make offerings at the foot of the imposing statues of Buddha, and see the many grottos and caves that dot the area. Located beside Xiamen University

How to get there: Take bus 45, 87, 17, 1, 18, 29, 47

Learn about the Chinese diaspora at the Overseas Chinese Museum

The history of the Chinese diaspora is chronicled vividly in the collection housed in the museum’s three exhibition halls. On display are dioramas, street scenes, artifacts, photos and maps. 493 Siming South Rd

How to get there: Take bus 48, 45, 22, 21, 18, 17, 15, 2 or 1

Check out the architecture at Gulangyu

Wander the streets of Gulangyu

Any trip to Xiamen must include a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Gulangyu. At only 1.8sq km, you can easily stroll around the car-less island to see the many colonial-style buildings. Other spots to see are Sunlight Rock, which is the highest point of the island and where you can get a fantastic view of the surrounding area; the lush Shuzhuang Garden, and the beaches.

How to get there: Take a ferry from the terminal at Lujiang Road or at the Guoji Wharf

Shop and eat at Zhongshan Pedestrian Street

Enjoy some street food at Zhongshan Pedestrian Street

Spend an evening at Zhongshan Pedestrian Street, where you can try out the city’s famed street food, including oyster omelets, stuff fish balls and spring rolls, and do some shopping.

The buildings that line the street are a must-see as well. Most were built by returning overseas Chinese in the 1920s and show British, French and German influences.

How to get there: Take bus 842, 958, or 26 to the “Binbei Zhonghang” stop from the railway station, then bus 31 to “Lundu” stop

Frolic on the beach

Guanyin Mountain Beach

Heading for the beaches is always a good idea in Xiamen. The city is blessed with near perfect weather, with average annual temperature hovering at a pleasing 21°C. Winter temperatures average 13°C.

There are several seaside spots to choose from, but the best are Guanyin Mountain Beach, Baicheng Beach and Huangcuo Beach.

Guanyin Mountain Beach is the largest beach at 3km long, while Baicheng Beach is known for its seaside views and convenient location close to Xiamen University. Huangcuo Beach is quiet, less populated and has the cleanest sand of the three.

How to get there:

Guanyin Mountain Beach – Take bus 5, 28, 127 or 68 to Guanyin Mountain Business Center

Baicheng Beach – Take bus 2, 20, 22, 29, 48, 86, 92 or 96 to Xiamen University Baicheng stop

Huangcuo Beach – Take bus 29 or 115 to Huangcuo Beach stop

Written by

Jeremy Goh

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