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How to Plan a Short Trip to Xiamen – And Things to Do There

Here's how to plan a perfect little trip to Xiamen

By Pavithra JinadasaPublished 3 years ago 3 min read
Fujian Earth building lantern|Image via Pixabay

The Garden City on the Sea has so much that you can do and see. If you are planning a short trip to Xiamen, you can be guaranteed to have a great time especially if you are a lover of history and culture. In Xiamen, you can do a lot of fun things such as have a homestay with locals in Yongding or explore the historical relics of South Putuo Temple. Here’s how to plan a perfect little trip to Xiamen.

Gulangyu Island

It is recommended that you at least spend half a day exploring Gulangyu Island. There are many points of interest in this island that includes European style architecture. The story behind this is that after the Treaty of Nanking in 1842, the island began to garner a lot of European-styled buildings including churches and villas as it was designated an International Settlement in 1907. Japanese and Europeans settled on the island which is why it still looks more like something you would find on the Amalfi Coast that in China. Today it makes for an excellent location to explore by foot, visiting pretty little flower gardens, the Piano Museum, Sunlight Rock and Shuzhuang Garden. This is one of the best trips that Xiamen hotels recommend when in the area so don’t forget to inquire at the front desk of your selected accommodation provider for details and they are sure to help you out.

South Putuo Temple

Also known as Nanputuo Temple, this is located in between the Wulao Peaks and the roaring sea. The temple is located close to Xiamen University, and a very quick ride from a hotel nearby such as Pan Pacific Xiamen. The temple can be traced back to the Tang Dynasty and is set on the banks of the Lu River. It is believed to have been the holy residence of Guanyin. Over the years, it was known by various names. Within the temple complex, some of the sites you must visit are the 1936 pavilion which is home to an array of Buddhist images, sculptures and scriptures which were brought over from Burma. There are also restored artworks, the Hall of Great Compassion and the Hall of Heavenly Kings – Danxiong Hall which is a must-visit whether you are a devout Buddhist or are interested in architecture and history.

Hulishan Fortress

Hulishan Fortress or Huli Mountain Fortress is situated south of Xiamen Island along the coastline. It is a fortress which was initially completed in 1894 and is preserved by the government as a known site of historical significance from the Guangxu Era of the Qing Dynasty. When the Japanese invaded China in 1900, this was one of the first lines of defence. The barracks, commanding tower, a sentry platform and an ammunition depot make up the 13,000 square metres of the fortress and it is advised that you take about one to two hours to explore it all.

Earth Buildings of Yongding

Considered a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Earth Buildings of Yongding were more recently featured in Disney’s live action of the legend Mulan. These homes are the abodes of the Hakka People who fled persecution from the Tang and Song Dynasties. The reason for adopting the fortress-like homes which are called a Toulou is due to the need to protect themselves. You will be able to see over 4,000 homes across these clusters.

Nanjing Earth Buildings

Nanjing is home to yet another 15,000 of these earth homes or Tulous. The Hakka Culture Tour that begins in Xiamen takes 4 days and if you are interested in learning more about these buildings you would do well to join the tour.


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Pavithra Jinadasa

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