4 Hours In

Once known to Western­ers as Amoy, this island city is south­east China’s hot spot for both busi­ness and leisure

Business Traveler (USA) - - CONTENTS -


1 GULANGYU The small island of Gulangyu is big with Xi­a­men’s tourists. From early morn­ing un­til late af­ter­noon, its wind­ing nar­row streets are chock-a-block with visi­tors tak­ing in the sights, mar­veling at the old colo­nial ar­chi­tec­ture, snap­ping pic­tures of the great city views from Sun­light Rock and the large statue of the an­cient Chi­nese mil­i­tary leader Koxinga, or just chill­ing on the sandy beaches. China’s only piano mu­seum is also found here as are many seafood restau­rants, as well as shops fa­mous for beef or pork jerky and snacks made from dried seafood, such as Huang Sheng Ji (89 Long­tou Road). Get­ting to the island is an easy 5-minute ferry ride from the pier op­po­site the island, but for­eign­ers must catch a ferry from the In­ter­na­tional Cruise Ter­mi­nal on the west coast – a 45-minute boat ride cost­ing RMB35 ($5) each way.

2 ZHONGSHAN LU There’s more than enough on Gulangyu Island to keep you busy for the en­tire day, but the rest of Xi­a­men is worth ex­plor­ing too. Near the lo­cal Gulangyu ferry is Zhongshan Lu, a pedes­tri­an­ized street lined with old shop­houses that have been turned into both sou­venir and lo­cal re­tail shops plus an abun­dance of restau­rants, great for sam­pling lo­cal food. Just look for the long­est queues to find the most pop­u­lar eater­ies. At Num­ber 20 you will find Huang Zehe, fa­mous for its sweet peanut soup (RMB3/$0.50). It’s also great for things like tea or choco­late. But if it’s pearls you want, this is your go-to place. Al­ley­ways lead­ing off the road are worth ex­plor­ing too.

3 NANPUTUO TEM­PLE A short drive east from Zhongzhan Lu brings you to Nanputuo Tem­ple, one of Xi­a­men’s most an­cient Bud­dhist sites with a his­tory that dates back over a thou­sand years. Lo­cated at the foot of Wu­lao Moun­tain, the orig­i­nal tem­ple was built dur­ing the Tang dy­nasty; in the cen­turies since it has been re­built many times. To­day’s lat­est it­er­a­tion was re­built in the 1980s, af­ter the pre­vi­ous tem­ple was de­stroyed dur­ing the Cul­tural Revo­lu­tion in the 1960s and 70s. Led by Chair­man Mao Ze­dong, it re­belled against China’s an­cient her­itage. To­day, the tem­ple grounds are a peace­ful nat­u­ral re­treat and home to beau­ti­ful art­work. The Wan­shi Botan­i­cal Gar­den and the Qing-era Hul­is­han Fortress are lo­cated nearby.

4 ZENG CUO AN VIL­LAGE Once a quiet fish­ing vil­lage for the Zeng clan, this en­clave on the south­east cor­ner of Xi­a­men Island has gone bo­hemian. Be­gin­ning in the 1990s, the place has been dis­cov­ered, first by artists, then by stu­dents from nearby Xi­a­men Uni­ver­sity and now by tourists from all over. To­day, the vil­lage’s nar­row lanes are packed with art gal­leries, beach­front mu­sic venues and quirky shops sell­ing home dec­o­ra­tions and col­lectibles. The dis­trict is dot­ted with places to eat, from the very tra­di­tional Xi­a­men cui­sine of Ji­aLi Seafood Restau­rant to the un­mis­tak­ably Western fa­vorite Uno Pizza and Beer Bar. But if it’s seafood you crave, this is a great, off-the-beaten track des­ti­na­tion for seafood lovers.

5 HAIWAN GONGYUAN As your day in Xi­a­men winds down, jump in a cab and head to the west coast of the island to Haiwan Gongyuan. Built in 2006, this green space is the largest ur­ban park in Xi­a­men. It’s di­vided into seven gar­dens, and the en­tire park is split into two main parts – the North Park and the South Park – by the thou­sand-foot­long Av­enue of the Stars. In the mid­dle of the av­enue is a com­puter-con­trolled foun­tain with 240 wa­ter jets and over 2,000 lights chore­ographed to mu­sic.Visi­tors stay­ing close toYun­dang Lake should join the lo­cals for a stroll around the lake or over the pedes­trian bridges into Bailuzhou Park in its midst. Xianyue Park is also worth vis­it­ing, its many paths lead­ing to pago­das, tem­ples, gar­dens and view­ing points. BT






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