Year-around sunshine, salty sea breezes, leisure lifestyle…what do these words remind you of? You would probably think of Hawaii, but another answer matching the description is a city of China–Xiamen (Amoy), which is ususally praised as “Oriental Hawaii” by vistors home and abroad. Apart from mild climate and clean sea air, impressive colonial architecture and a remarkable cuisine culture contribute to the uniqueness of Xiamen.
Due to the Western colonial history and the costal location, Xiamen embraces a mixing culture of the West and the East, mainland China and Taiwan. Legacy of the history-the extensive concession-era villas, townhouses and consulates of Gulangyu-testify to that past. Maybe foreigners find a building of western-style, say Portugal, nothing new, but the architecture is localized on this soil, adding a stroke on the particularity of the city. Besides, the close tie to Taiwan has left a great influence on every aspects of it. You can cruise to reach the closest point to Taiwan-the nearby area of an island belongign to Taiwan and sense the subtle political ambience of the Strait.
Xiamen wil be one of your best destinations for every foodie. If you are in a mood for seafood, seafood booths can be found eveywhere – the more the closer to the dock. Not all of them are worth going, but you can definitely find someplace where food is served sanitarily and at a reasonable price. One recommendation is Dayanjing Seafood Booth (大眼睛大排档). It is actually a restaurant but the price is reasonable and its food is yummy. Long line is usual but it won’t take a long time to wait. Wanna have a nibble on local snacks? Taiwan Snacks Street across the dock is your best coice. If you have no idea where to start, Zhong Shan Road (中山路) is an ideal place to seek for a surprise, where you can find almost any typical local dishes and drinks.
Among an array of interesting spots, Gulangyu Island (鼓浪屿) is a must visit. The journey begins from taking a 10-minute ferry with the crowd to the island. The relics of colonization and tradtional Chinese traditional gardens are scattered on the island. Also known as the “Piano Island”, it’s an adorable place to stroll and spend a whole day. The island is getting increasingly crowded with its bigger reputation, but peaceful places hidden in lanes behind the mainstreet are waiting for you to explore. Also, it is home to the most yummy meat products and local pies.
Xiamen also makes a fun weekend getaway. Almost all things to do in Xiamen can be easily achieved by walk and public trasportation. A ride around the island is also a good choice. If you are on a business trip around but have one-day spare time, come visit the city and just do a whole lot of relaxing and enjoy a laid back vibe!
Another tip for accomodation. There are plentiful places to stay of all types for every kind of tourists, but if you look for something different, special inns transformed from personal residences run by local residents come to your choice. These places have mushroomed espcially on Gulangyu Island. Isn’t it lovely to have a chat with local inn-keeper and encounter friends all over the world
Oriental Hawaii, Little Taiwan or Another Macou…whatever you call it, any tags only touch a part of Xiamen but never tell you about its whole story.