A busy shopping street in Xiamen

Where to stay

  • Le Meridien Xiamen, No. 7 Guanjun Rd, Nanshan; +86 592 770 9999; starwoodhotels.com. A modern five-star hotel equipped with an indoor swimming pool, gym and even a tennis court. Perfect for keeping fit while on vacation.
  • Marco Polo Xiamen, 8 Jianye Rd, Siming District; +86 592 509 1888; www.marcopolohotels.com. With its lakefront location, this five-star hotel offers panoramic views of the city. Its 300 rooms and suites boast modern interiors and large bay windows.
  • Xiamen International Youth Hostel, 41 Nanhua Rd, Siming District; +86 592 208 2345; yhachina.com/ls.php?id=38. Simple and clean lodgings, with air-conditioned rooms and free WiFi in public areas.
  • Zhongshan Impression Hotel, No. 108 Zhongshan Rd, Siming District; +86 592 375 3339. Provides small but clean rooms that are adequate for short layovers.

Where to eat

  • Bapopo Shaoxiancao, beside Lundu Bus Station, Dixia Tongdao, Lujiang Ave, Siming District. Offers really good xiao long bao (soup dumplings) and shabu-shabu (hotpot with thinly-sliced beef) at wallet-friendly prices.
  • Bistro 21, 21 Binhu East Rd, Hailing District. The lamb shank here is king — grilled to tasty, tender perfection and generously doused with special sauces that seep deliciously through the meat. Appetizer and main dish combos come with budget-friendly prices starting at RMB108 a set.
  • Hai Di Lao, 4/F World Trade Mall, 888 Xiahe Rd, Siming District; haidilao.comThis chain of hotpot restaurants is famous for its fresh food and superb service. The queue tends to be long, but you’ll get to enjoy free massages, manicures and snacks while waiting for your turn.
  • Linji Fish Ball Soup, 54 Quanzhou Rd, Gulangyu Island. Enjoy a meal of freshly-made traditional fishballs served in a bowl of piping-hot soup.
  • Lucky Full City Seafood Restaurant, Jianye Building, No. 28 North Hubin Rd, Siming District. This restaurant, which is a hit among locals and tourists alike, serves up the best dim sum in town.
  • Mike’s Hotdogs & Beers, 15 Daxue Rd, Shapowei. Owned by a German basketball coach and businessman, this eatery serves up delicious homemade sausages on freshly baked hotdog buns.
  • Sea View Restaurant, 54 Lujiang Rd, Siming District; +86 592 266 1398. Enjoy stunning vistas of the ocean while feasting on authentic Xiamen delicacies.
  • Taiwan Snack Street, Renhe Rd, Siming District. Sample a wide variety of Taiwan-inspired street food, such as grilled squid, peanut soup, and stinky tofu, at the various food stalls.
  • Ze He Huang Peanut Soup Shop, 22 Zhongshan Rd, Siming District; +86 592 202 4670. Enjoy a bowl of warm and sweet peanut soup – the perfect snack for a cold day.
  • Zeng Cuo An Village, beside Huandao Rd. Head here for a taste of Xiamen’s street food, such as barbecued oysters and pineapple cakes.

What to do

  • Fujian Tulou, Fujian. Visit the elaborate, centuries-old circular dwellings of the ancient Hakkas, which were built as such for defensive purposes. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is located three to five hours away from Xiamen by bus.
  • Gulangyu Island. Take a 20-minute ferry ride to this pedestrianized island, which translates as “Drum Wave Island”. It’s renowned for its beaches, colonial-style architecture, and numerous attractions such as Sunlight Rock, the highest point on the island. Check out the Piano Museum (+86 592 206 0238) and the Koxinga Statue, too. Then there’s also Longtou Road, where you can pick up kooky souvenirs like impressively hand-drawn maps of Xiamen City, brightly colored pottery, and beaded embroidery pieces.
  • Hulishan Battery Scenic Spot. This coastal battery harks back to the Qing dynasty, and comprises barracks, a tunnel and several fortified buildings. Don’t forget to check out the Rongguang Museum, where you’ll find firecrackers, guns, swords and more on display.
  • Nanputuo Temple, 515 Siming South Rd, Siming District; +86 592 208 8554; nanputuo.com. This famous Buddhist temple, located at the base of Wulao Mountain, was founded during the Tang dynasty. One of its many highlights is a cave at the rear, with thousands of wooden and stone statues featuring an astonishing variety of Buddhist incarnations.
  • South Putuo Temple, 515 Siming S Rd, Siming District; +86 592 208 8554. Also known as Nanputuo Temple, this picturesque Buddhist temple is ensconced amidst verdant hills and surrounded by the sea.
  • Tong An Film and Television City, Xiyang Rd; +86 592 730 2870; taysc.com. A popular tourist attraction that’s a replica of Beijing’s Imperial Palace, the Hall of Supreme Harmony, the Long Corridor of the Summer Palace and the Gate of Heavenly Peace.
  • Wanshi Botanical Garden, 25 Huyuan Rd, Siming District; +86 592 202 4785. This green lung offers a welcome breath of fresh air from the metropolis, with more than 6,000 species of plants, pristine lakes, sprawling lawns and flower-laden plots.
  • Xiamen University, 422 Siming South Rd, Siming District; +86 592 218 0000; xmu.edu.cn/en. This picturesque university sits by Baicheng Beach, and boasts scenic spots like Lotus Lake and Lover’s Lake.
  • Zhongshan Road Walking Street, Siming District. A world-famous pedestrian corridor lined with plenty of hole-in-the-wall shops and eateries.
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