Monday, July 11, 2011

Xiamen - China

Hello fellow travelers/ bag-packers

Much apologies for the long hiatus- Have not been able to travel as often as I hoped for.

Anyway, here's one about my Xiamen China Trip 厦门 ( In Fujian).
Xiamen is a major city on the southeast (Taiwan Strait) coast of the People's Republic of China. It is administered as a sub-provincial city of Fujian province with an area of 1,573 square kilometres (607 sq mi) and population of 3.53 million. It borders Quanzhou to the north and Zhangzhou to the south.
(from Wikipedia)

On our first day, we made our way to the famous Gulangyu 鼓浪屿 as recommended by everyone on the island . You can see the island from the main shores of Xiamen.

It is an island connected to the Xiamen main land only by Ferry - no cars allowed. There are rental buggies though if you feel tired or have old people with you.

At the entrance, we were persuaded to take the speedboat when we were caught in between throngs of people trying to get on the normal slow boat to the islet.
Though it was close to 10 times the price of the normal boat per person, the speed boat will bring you around the whole island of Gulangyu. It was nice (I guess) but a little bumpy- so for those with sea sickness, I would recommend the slow boat.
At the island, we decide to hire a guide to explain to us the history of the place ( but in actual fact, personally I felt that you could read the free guide at the entrance) and just enjoy the walk leisurely.

It is known as a piano island as told by the guide because of its Piano museum (supposedly the only one in China). It was also the place of residence for the westerners when Xiamen become a treaty port during the Opium War and the Treaty of Nanjing.

The Chinese name also has musical roots, as gu lang means drum waves so-called because of the sound generated by the ocean waves hitting the reefs. Yu means "islet". (quoted from Wikipedia)

I love the feeling that the island gave.

Couples taking their wedding shots.

Traditional buildings architecture

Walkways free of traffic
Shops selling cute and interesting things

Cafes and hostels to chill at

Locals doing their work via the manual way- free of technology
Statues - for picture taking

And lastly the piano museum.

And after 6 hours of walking around, its time to make our way back to the main island.

Now to take the regular boat back. Tickets, Squeeze, get on the boat.

ps: Upper level if you sit on the chair, must pay extra 1 rm.

Gulangyu was a good one day chill out tour. To relax and just enjoying.

*ps: but if it is in summer, I would suggest umbrella and lots of water. Water is expensive there so bring bottles of it with you.

The following day, we wanted to explore the areas near our hotel. And much fun it was. We went to the area where the locals were staying.

Their residential

Their message of educating the public
Their staples

Their seafood - oysters manually dig out and put in bottles

Their freshly self-grown walnuts. yummy!

Their agriculture - in the open and....

cleaned on the spot.

Here you get your skinned chicken. Amazing right.
(Sorry for sounding sua-gu but even in Singapore, you do not see this at the markets.)

And in the afternoon, decide to do some shopping in Zhongshan Lu.
Its a whole street full of shopping - for tea, for shoes, for clothes, for food. for DVDs - anything you name it, they have it. (You can try to bargain at the stores. Unless they say its fix price!)

I bought many sunglasses , DVDs and T-Shirts.
And being a foodie as I am.
Tried the peanut soup thing that the reviews online were recommending.
It was well, nice - but similar to that in Singapore - the soup was sweet but less sweet than that of Singapore, and their peanuts were softer and fresher.

Wanted to also try the following recommendation by a local taxi driver as well. But did not get to try it. I am going to find it the next time I go there.
(Taken from another site)
Dazhong Shacha Noodle Restaurant is one of the restaurants where one can taste authentic Shacha Noodle in Xiamen. A Taiwan TV program has even given high praise for its shacha noodle. The well mixed blends of Shacha sauce, peanut sauce and tea make an appetizing Shacha noodle. You can add any food materials you like in the noodle like pig's liver, pig's kidney, duck's tendon, and dried tofu. Whilst in Dazhong Shacha Noodle Restaurant, you can also taste other Xiamen snacks such as spring roll, Mianxianhu (Gluey Noodles) and rice glutinous dumplings.

And for the final day in Xiamen, we decided to go outskirts. So we went with a local to the nearby town of Quan Zhou (i think) for a short trek and sweet potato roasting and bbq. Scroll down for more....(Yipee!!) - you can take a local bus down there.

For the short trek, we only climbed to the midway.

Watched some local gymnastics and acts

Enjoyed the scenary

And went to take the long slide down. That was the highlight. It was exciting. Have you seen such a long slide up in the (hills?) to go all the way down?
Here it is!Only for 25 rmb. If you have a huge group, can bargain. Safety gear will also be provided to prevent friction.

And you will reappear in the dragon's mouth! hahahahahaha
And after you get to take pictures with the 8 immortals.

After the exercise up, we went to a nearby village to start our roasting and BBQ,

First we dig a hole in the ground for the sweet potatoes.

Then we lay rocks to build the covering.

Start building it. Big rocks to small rocks. Slow and steady!

And the final gap, small rocks balancing on each other and TADA, its done!
Start the fire in the tunnel to heat it up. Dry leaves, twigs - burn burn.
Getting ready the sweet potatoes. In they go!
After around 20-30 minutes, time to take it out.

Crushing the covering.

Take out the sweet potatoes. smash the covering.

gently dig out the sweet potatoes.
(Oh no. too rough, We 'cut' the sweet potatoes! cannot eat that one - dirty already)

Gently. Gently. Here it is!

Wonderful experience!!!!!!

Enjoy yourself in Xiamen. It is not difficult to get around. You can rent a bicycle too. There are bicycle lanes!


  1. Hi, you make xiamen sound really exciting!! That island very chio loh. I now only wish I have the time to go trekking and go down the slide too. Such good fun. They should install this in bukit timah hill as well :)
    - cheers, esther

  2. i am also interested in the slide. hahhah

  3. Its nice! But you need to know a local to do all these I would think. cheers!


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