by Bhoomi Shah
Xiamen: Sashay away to China’s new cosmopolitan tourism capital!
Why is this fusionistic tropical city in the Fujian province CREATING a buzz in TOWN?
Xiamen, the self-proclaimed “Garden City on the sea”, is rapidly emerging as a tourism magnet in China. Frequented by only the Chinese travellers initially, the former port town of Amoy, has transcended into the cool cosmopolitan Xiamen city, exhibiting a unique fusion of colonial antiquity and sophisticated urbanism, and has now expanded its horizons to welcome the foreign incursion of international “jetizens”. So what’s all the hype about? Xiamen offers a plethora of attractions and activities to trigger the wanderlust in a variety of zealots: from immersing in the gorgeous tropical seascape, or marveling at the medley of varied architectural designs, exploring historical and cultural relics, experiencing homestay in earth Castle, biodiversity conservation venture to immoderate shopping sprees and scrumptious seafood- Xiamen has a little something in store for everyone, so scroll down to find your idea of a perfect indulgence!
1. Gulangyu Island, the flagship attraction of Xiamen
A wayfarer’s Paradise, Gulangyu is a vehicle-free islet which allows nothing on wheels beside golf carts for tourists. Feast your eyes upon the enticing scenic beauty of this tropical city and varied architecture accorded with the status of a UNESCO world heritage site which comprises of a thousand old provincial buildings that were once European consulates complemented by the contrasting traditional Fujian architecture in the Chinese art deco mansions. Ramble on the winding lanes, or visit the chic Bohemian Café’s nibbling on some noodles or succulent dumplings.
2. Nanputuo Temple and Hulishan Fortress
For a historical and cultural experience: These are your tickets to the historical ride through the olden days of Tang dynasty. Nanputuo Temple is over a kilo-year-old Buddhist temple complex constituted by a cluster of magnificent wooden buildings zigzagged on the face of a hill, which attracts a multitude of pilgrims every year. Also known as the South Putuo Temple, surrounded by the sea and Wulao peaks it’s picturesque location gives a whole new dimension to the spiritual significance of the place. Hulishan Fortress is an important historical landmark for its defensive role against Japan in 1900, embark on a vicarious journey in the exploration of the granite Castle, Ammunition Depot, commanding tower etc.
3. Fujian Tulou - reminiscing the authentic tribal culture
Explore Fujian's distinctive earth buildings (Tulou) of Nanjing, Yong ding and hua'an clusters. Lose yourself in the rustic charm of these ones of a kind primitive constructions by the Hakka tribe, recognized as a UNESCO world heritage site for being the unrivalled mythical mountain village architecture of the world. The rammed earth buildings hail in a variety of shapes apart from the classic round ones, such as fan, umbrella or turiform shaped, so choose one that suits you best and swap your urban quotidian for a bucolic homestay experience at these Tulous.
4. Xiamen University
Boasting a beautiful, modern infrastructure sprawling over an expansive land mass, the Xiamen University campus oddly ranks among the top sightseeing spots in Xiamen because of its picturesque location at the foot of the Wulao Feng hill, neighbouring the sea and Xiamen bay. It also houses the beautiful Furong lake swarming with black swans and occasional guests like egrets. Get your eyes glued on to the graffiti of Furong tunnel in the campus which showcases some serious offbeat artistry.
5. Zeng Cuo An Village
A foodie’s dream: Give in to your gustatory lust and treat yourself to the most amazing seafood and artistic ice cream creations in the maze of streets of this village. Some of the Must try delicacies are butter oysters, shrimp omelette, juicy dumplings etc.
6. Biodiversity conservation at Mount Wuyi
For nature lovers, thrill seekers or those seeking an escape from the monotonous urban jungles, Xiamen offers a nature retreat in Mount Wuyi– a biodiversity conservation. Soak in the lush greenery and explore a baffling diversity of fauna or work a sweat hiking in the cliffs, crank up your adventurous gear to experience rafting in the snaky, nine-bend river and venture out to the skinniest walkways called “thread of the sky”- no matter wherever you stand at the adventure spectrum, Mount Wuyi has got your back, catering to both daredevils as well as safe players!
7. World’s longest elevated cycling path - A Must Visit
Yep, you heard it right! Xiamen brings to you the longest, elevated cycling path in the WORLD.
8. Overseas Chinese Museum
A peaceful Haven amidst the bustling urban life, the museum is an aspiring celebration of the overseas Chinese communities reflecting the spirit of nationalism embodied in its picture gallery, dioramas, historical artefacts, cultural relics and Street scenes.
9. Taining Danxia Landform
The reddish sandstone landform formed after billions of years of geological transformation, it encompasses towering peaks, red cliffs, convoluted canyon complexes and the dramatically spectacular caves which are another UNESCO world heritage sites in Danxia China. Taining Danxia perfectly combines streams, lakes, waterfalls and ponds to form a unique natural water wonderland which facilitates cruising, rafting and hiking adventures.
10. The beach and the seaside promenade
What’s a tropical city without good beaches? Xiamen is no exception because it flaunts sun-kissed sandy shores and the coastline is accompanied by two domineering sail-shaped buildings that have become the landmark of Xiamen city reflecting the fusion we were talking about in the most obvious manner.
The island metropolis is all set to enthral the visitors with its diverse range of attractions, and the charming oddities which make Xiamen unique among other destinations are perhaps the paramount reason behind it’s drawing a distinctive kind of globetrotters who are looking for a multi-faceted holiday experience.