Xiamen and Gulangyu Island Day Trip


  • Spend a pleasant day on Gulangyu Island, a serene pedestrian-only island filled with gardens, villas, and unique architecture
  • During this trip you’ll have your own travel-guide, who is a native of the area. This will ensure that your trip is a safe, informative, and enjoyable, experience

(Lunch included)

Detailed itinerary:

In the morning you will be picked up from your hotel in Xiamen by your English-speaking travel guide. We’ll then drive to the ferry for a 7-minute boat ride to Gulangyu Island. Gulangyu Island is renowned for its delicate natural beauty, its ancient relics, and its varied architecture. The island is on China's list of National Scenic Spots and also ranks at the top of the list of the ten most-scenic areas in Fujian Province. It is a car-free island, and is a welcome respite to the frantic activity of the Special Economic Zone just across the water.

On the island, we will visit Shuzhuang Garden, a former private villa. It became a garden park open to the public in 1955. It is divided into two parts-the Garden of Hiding the Sea (Canghaiyuan) and the Garden of Making-Up Hills (Bushanyuan). It was exquisitely designed to embody three important characteristics in gardening---hiding elements, borrowing from one's surroundings, and combining movements. We will also take a look at China’s only Piano Museum (housing over 200), the Hi Heaven Museum the largest old villa on the island where you can enjoy ancient South Music performance and traditional puppet show. If we’re lucky we can catch the local style of entertainment, Nanyin Opera.

In the afternoon, we’ll take the boat back to Xiamen, and we’ll then head to the South Putuo Temple. South Putuo Temple is an ancient temple with great fame in Xiamen. It has the name of Southern Putuo for the reason of its main conformity to Guanyin and Bodhisattva as well as its location to the south of Putuo Mountain, one of the four great Buddhist fields in Zhoushan of Zhejiang province. Sitting on the principal axis from the south to the north are the Hall of Heavenly Kings, the Precious Hall of Great Hero, the Hall of Great Mercy and the Buddhist Scripture Garret. There are annexes on both sides of the axis, such as corridors, Bell and Drum Towers, Haihui Hall, Puzhao Hall, Taixu library, classrooms of the Buddhist Institute, and so on. All these buildings are spread over a mountain slop of complicated topography with a generally solemn and magnificent atmosphere.

Over the recent years, to the south of the Hall of Heavenly Kings lie the Free Life Pond, two newly built Longevity Towers, two pavilions and a lotus pond, etc. Between the two ponds is the Seven Buddha Tower, which is composed of seven statues of Buddha, such as Sakyamuni and Kasyapa. The Longevity Towers have 11 layers in the style of Buddhist buildings of South Asia, enriching the scenery of South Putuo Temple.

We’ll cap off your day with a visit to the fortress of Hulishan, which was built in 1894 near the end of the Qing Dynasty period. The fortress is composed of the barracks, a secret tunnel, a tower, a sentry platform, the ammunition depot, the trench, and the castle. The rectangular castle is made of granite and occupies an area of 13,000 square meters. It was a major Chinese fort and the main one of several in the area. There are two emplacements that were connected by a secret tunnel and places for soldiers to guard both exits. The two emplacements both had huge cannons that were bought from the Krupp Company of Germany that was famous for its big cannons. The cannons were 13 meters long. Only one is left. There is a trench outside the fort.

From the fort, you can see two islands owned by Taiwan called Dadan and Erdan through telescopes. There are also ancient weapons including Qing Dynasty era cannon and swords on display.

On your way back to your hotel, we’ll make the scenic drive on the island ring road along the east coast of Xiamen. You’ll then be dropped off back at your hotel, ending your day tour.

        Mary Deaver, East Lansing, MI, USA:

Really loved the laid back and sunny atmosphere of Xiamen. Gulangyu Island was really charming, and the whole town had a sort of “don’t worry be happy’ vibe to it. The tour was a good mix of history and fun, and the time went by so quickly. Can’t wait for my next visit! A big thank you to China Adventure Club!