XiamenCopyright: Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
XiamenXiamen ranks among China's most appealing tourist destinations, with a fine mix of urban and natural attractions. Located on the southern coast of the Fujian Province, Xiamen is, in large part, set on a separate island. With origins dating back 5,000 years, trade has been the lifeblood of Xiamen and the city has grown on commerce generated by merchants, both Chinese and European, who used Xiamen as their gateway to China.
The CityWith a sense of rich history, Xiamen has developed on the trade of merchants from around the world, attracted by its location at the mouth of the Juilong (Dragon) River. Traders in previous centuries included those working in a less than legal fashion, commonly known as pirates, but all contributed to the success of a city which today is one of the more important commercial centres. Whilst it is actually built on an island, Xiamen is linked to the mainland by a bridge. Just a ten-minute ferry ride will land you on another island, Gulang Yu. There is a remarkable collection of colonial buildings, main mansions built by traders from near and far. Today the city has the status of a Special Economic Zone, which offers the visitor great shopping opportunities whilst the local beach areas, the offshore islands and some nineteen public parks and botanical gardens make Xiamen a great city to explore and enjoy.
Do & See
Xiamen offers the tourist a balance of cultural and historical, natural and man-made attractions. The city has miles of coastline and nice beaches to choose from. The city does not only offer historical sites like a Buddhist Temple and Huli Shan Fort but also amazing gardens like Wanshi or the Underwater Sea World.
Xiamen has a good mix of restaurants with a varied range of Chinese provincial specialities represented, from Shanghai to Mongolia. With the Straits of Formosa and the South China Sea close by, it’s not surprising that many of the local delicacies are based on seafood. Fujian restaurants often specialise in crab dishes and other local dishes include ginger duck, jellyfish salad, seasoned oysters and Xiamen fried noodles.
Xiamen is one of the first Chinese cities that was open to the world and is naturally one of the first cities that came into contact with coffee. Xiamen actually boasts the highest density of independent cafés in China. In the business district around Hubin Bei Lu and Yuandang Lu, there has been an upsurge of coffee shops and cafes, catering mainly to guests of nearby hotels, business people and office workers.
Bars & Nightlife
Xiamen is known to be a fresh and artsy city during the daytime, but when night falls, the city starts buzzing with open bars by the sea and night clubs in the city. The bars are mainly in the Haiwan Park Area which makes it the ideal place for a relaxing walk in the rays of the setting sun along the coast, and then picking a bar to have a drink and enjoy the summer breeze.
Xiamen is a great place for shopping for it has been a foreign trading city for centuries. Today, the choice ranges from western designer shops to the smallest back street market. All are conveniently located on or around Zhongshan Lu, which runs from the Zhongshan Park to the harbour area and the Ferry Wharf. The typical items you´ll find here include art and crafts, spices and olive oils, so make sure to save some time for shopping.