Things to do in Xiamen
You won't find yourself short of things to do on a visit to this busy, metropolitan city...
One of the most popular tourist hot spots is the island of Gulangyu, the area's bohemian, artistic enclave. As well as grand old houses in the European colonial style, you'll also find lots of interesting handicrafts, street food stalls and portrait artists, as well as a plethora of upmarket restaurants and cafes where you can enjoy a quiet meal and a drink as you watch the world go by. Back on the mainland, the Nanputuo Temple is particularly worth a visit.
You can go inside the temple and look around for a small fee, but it's free to climb the surrounding mountainside for wonderful views over of the city, as well as many Buddhist statues and other works of art. At the east end of the temple, enjoy a reflective stroll around the pretty lotus pond, and grab a bite to eat at the notably good vegetarian restaurant, serving traditional, local food.
Xiamen Shinegood Culture Gallery is one of the standout cultural attractions of the area. Not only is it the largest private gallery in China, but its contents are among the most beautiful, with the main focus of the museum being jade- one of ancient China's most popular decorative materials. Slip inside and spend the day walking through history, and then exit to enjoy the gorgeous scenery surrounding the museum, including the beach, popular with local university students, and the upmarket docks area, where yachts are moored.
If you fancy trying something a little bit different on your trip to China, why not pay a visit to the Lam Soon Crocodile Farm? There is a large performance pool where you can watch a crocodile show, a beautiful ornamental pool and a wide range of crocodile themed products for sale in the shopping hall. It's easy to while away the afternoon on the farm, enjoying a walk along the pavilions and looking at some of the artistic stone models.
Between April and December you'll find the conditions in Xiamen are perfect for kite surfing, which may be why it's one of China's premiere destinations for the sport, and plays host to multiple international competitions. Come down to Haiyuntai to enjoy the best of the kite surfing scene, with plenty of professional surfers to compete with as well as an English and Chinese speaking kite surfing school for beginners.
Finally, it's the ideal place to brush up your Chinese, as home to one of the only private schools teaching English to foreigners, the Xiamen Mandarin Fun School.