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Xiamen: An island city with a dynamic personality

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Book flights to Xiamen

Located in China’s southeast Fujian province, Xiamen is famous for its attractive seascape and urban city vibes. Surrounded by outstanding natural beauty, ancient architecture, and edgy new developments, this multi-cultural city is a lively hub not to be missed. 

Xiamen has long been an important international seaport and the shores of the city offer residents and visitors the opportunity to relish the desirable beach lifestyle, with all the amenities of a city close at hand. The well-being of city-dwellers is well catered for, with plenty of water and land-based leisure activities available. Though the high-tech industries and standards of living are flourishing in this little city, you’ll find plenty of nods to its historic past –  from the narrow alleys lined with traditional shops to centuries-old temples still echoing with soft melodic mantras. Fly to Xiamen with Qatar Airways and experience all this unique city has to offer.

Xiamen travel highlights

Whether you’re exploring one of the city’s ancient temples, lounging on one of the island beaches or browsing a contemporary art gallery, you’ll be struck by the laid-back, welcoming vibe of this beautiful seaside city.

  • Tourist attractions

    Nanputuo Temple: Expect the air to be filled with the scent of incense and the soothing sounds of monks chanting at this tranquil Buddhist temple complex. Set before a glorious lotus lake, the temple and adjoining halls boast stunning architecture, towering golden Buddhas, and intricately carved statues.

    Hulishan Fortress: A key national historical and cultural site, the fortress is located at the top of Huli Hill, overlooking the sea. Built in 1894 to protect the island from invasion, the fortress and artillery make for an interesting day of exploring. Wander through the neat rows of canons before stopping to admire the captivating ocean vista, where the islands of Erdan and Dadan can be spotted in the distance.

    Xiamen Botanical Garden: Considered a ‘green museum’, the Xiamen Botanical Garden is a park of winding paths featuring over 5,000 species of tropical plants in a beautiful natural landscape. Designed around the Modanyan Reservoir on the northern slope of Shi Mountain, the garden is a perfect place to spend an afternoon hiking and sightseeing – and a great option for families with children. Must-see highlights include the Pine and China Fir Garden, the Bamboo Forest, the Rose Garden, and the Tiger Stream Temple, where it is said to have once been a home to a tiger who lived in a nearby cave. 

  • Leisure activities

    With its glorious coastal position, Xiamen is a hub of fun. Here are a few activities to enrich your stay.

    Explore Gulangyu: This picturesque island boasts pristine golden sandy beaches, lapped by azure waters. Swim in the calm surf or explore the coastline on hired sea kayaks and paddleboards. Gulangyu is a perfect place to break away from the city and enjoy natural scenery. What makes the island even more special is that it is completely traffic-free, with no cars or motorised vehicles allowed – a true walkers’ paradise.  

    City Cycling: Xiamen offers a superb stretch of cycling path on Huandao Road along what is known as the Golden Coastline. Cyclists can pedal for kilometres along this picturesque route, spotting sculptures and stopping off at the dreamy Huangcuo Beach. Xiamen’s astonishing 8-kilometre cycling skyway – the longest in the world – is also a safe and enjoyable option for cycling enthusiasts.

    Railway Culture Park: There’s something rather magical about the hiking trails in this park, set along abandoned railway lines through some of the oldest parts of the city. This bougainvillea-lined stretch of trail, which celebrates Xiamen’s railway heritage, is a wonderful spot for a quiet stroll, with delicious food stalls to sustain you along the way. 

  • Food

    As a multi-cultural city, Xiamen hosts a diverse global dining scene with everything on offer, from fancy waterfront restaurants to local family-run food carts. And because of its location on the port, local cuisine features plenty of fresh seafood. A popular dish to try when in Xiamen is hailijian, a fluffy oyster omelette infused with garlic. Another must-try is yuwantang, a delicious and light soup made with fish balls, vegetables and green onions.

    The street food in this city is a revelation, with tantalising options such as satay noodles, steamed filled buns, ginger duck, deep-fried tofu dumplings and more.

    If you’re visiting during summertime and feeling a little daring, be sure to check out the local delicacy, tu sun dong – a chilled jelly made of sandworms freshly dug up from nearby beaches

  • Shopping

    A city of endearing contrasts, the retail experience in Xiamen is no different. Visitors will find both glamorous department stores and bustling flea markets, neither of which should be missed.

    Wander along the charming century-old Zhongshan Road whose architecture is as exciting as the wide variety of stores available to browse. If you’re keen to browse local-made crafts, hop on the ferry and immerse yourself in the stalls and quirky little shops of Longtou Road, found on Gulangyu Island. This busy thoroughfare is a treasure trove of jade, porcelain, ceramic, lacquer, and pearl crafts, alongside antiques, clothes, and food. Remember, this is a car-free island, so only buy what you can carry back with you.  

    This affluent city holds plenty of opportunities for designer shopping trips as well, including the effortlessly chic MixC  mall, which houses brands such as Hermès, Gucci, Rolex, and Louis Vuitton. If you’re looking for smaller boutiques and independent specialty shops that offer a more local flavour, then head to the popular SM Supermall.

Essential facts about Xiamen

Enjoy a hassle-free journey with all the information you need to know before your trip

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