Xiamen

A charming car-free island with colonial mansions, ancient temples and markets, fresh seafood and China’s best kite-surfing breezes awaits at this port city.

Xiamen is an attractive coastal city in China’s Fujian Province, which overlooks the Taiwan Strait and the East China Sea. The name Xiamen means “door to the house”; for centuries the city was a vital seaport and gateway to China. Xiamen is renowned for its colonial architecture, magnificent temples, tree-lined beaches and rapidly growing kite-surfing scene.

Geographically diverse, Xiamen consists of Xiamen Island, tiny Gulangyu Island and a stretch of rugged mainland. Most of the city is centred on Xiamen Island.

Learn about the island’s days as a flourishing port at the Huli Shan Fort. The original fortification dates back to the late 19th century and features German-made cannons and a museum displaying Ming and Qing dynasty weapons and uniforms.

Delve further back into the Xiamen’s past at the Nanputuo Temple. This towering Buddhist temple was built in the Tang dynasty (618-906) and features magnificent wooden carvings and statues. Enjoy a meal at the temple’s on-site vegetarian restaurant. Stop by the Xiamen’s Culture and Art Centre, a fascinating cultural complex housed in converted factory warehouses. The centre features a comprehensive library, Science and Technology Hall, Culture Hall and Museum.

Thanks to its great beaches and favourable winds, Xiamen is rapidly developing as China’s premier destination for kite surfers. Haiyuntai Beach is the most popular place to kite surf, and you’ll find numerous clubs, outfitters and schools nearby.

Take the 10-minute ferry ride to the tiny island of Gulangyu to experience the car-free, colonial ambience of Xiamen’s treaty port days. Explore the narrow laneways on foot, admiring the wonderfully preserved colonial mansions and see vendors wheeling produce and seafood in wooden carts.

Xiamen is located on China’s southeast coast. Xiamen Gaoqi International Airport is a key air hub in eastern China offering direct connections to other major cities in the country and around the world. Downtown Xiamen is just a 10-minute ride from the airport. Xiamen summers are long, warm and humid. Winters are reasonably mild and dry.

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