Located on the southeast coast of China, Xiamen is a city that boasts a rich history and heritage. Those visiting the city have much to see and do including visiting ancient temples, scenic parks and indulging in some fun family shopping. Those wanting a change of scenery should definitely make time to head to the island of Gulangyu which can be found off Xiamen’s coast.
A charming island that is entirely free of cars, Gulangyu spans an area of around 2 square kilometres and can be easily reached by ferry from Xiamen. The ferry ride is approximately 5 minutes and soon you will be exploring this fascinating locale which has become a well known tourist destination.
One of the country’s National Scenic Spots, Gulangyu Island has idyllic coastal areas where you can spend time with loved ones at the beach enjoying the sun, sand and surf. Not to be missed is a chance to wander around the winding lanes and streets that will take you past traditional and Victorian style architectural structures rich in history. Known as Yuanshazhou Island during the Ming Dynasty, Gulangyu was also the place where several countries such as France, Great Britain and Japan had their consulates following the treaty signed after the First Opium War.
One of the major highlights worth visiting here is Sunlight Rock. The island’s highest point, this rock measures around 92 metres in height and offers breathtaking vistas of the surrounding areas including views of Xiamen University and Nanputuo Temple. At the site’s base you will find the Memorial Hall of Zheng Chenggong which is dedicated to a national hero, while as you make your way up the rock you will come across several ancient inscriptions made by poets. Also here is Gu Bishu Dong or the Old Summer Cave which offers welcome relief from the heat.
Formerly a private villa, Shuzhuang Garden is home to the Garden of Making-Up Hills and the Garden of Hiding the Sea which lets you appreciate classical garden design which features “hidden elements”. Also at the site is the Tower of Tide-Viewing from where you can take in stunning views of the sea.
Other attractions on Gulangyu Island include Marine World, the Xiamen Museum, the Bright Moon Garden, Seasight Watch Garden and the Piano Museum.