Xiamen #3: Botanical Garden

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February 18th 2018
Published: May 30th 2018
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For my last day in Xiamen, I decided to head to the botanical gardens. There area few entrances, and I decided to head to the main one, which meant I went back through the train tunnel that I'd had a look around the day before. From the tunnel, it was about further 10 minutes walk to the gardens. There were about a million people there. The queues for the ticket office were pretty long, but one seemed to be a lot shorter than the others so I joined that and got my ticket fairly quickly. I headed inside, the botanical gardens are massive and I decided to try and see as much as I can.

I took a random path that didn't really lead to anywhere special, but there were some nice views of the city and I perched on a rock to read for a bit. The first part of the gardens wasn't too exciting and there was just a big grassy area for people to chill and picnic on, more like a park than a botanical garden. I followed the road around The edge of that and then took the steeper path, which lead to Tianjie Temple. I had a look around the temple, which was quite pretty and also took in the views of Xiamen. I think the views from here were better than the ones from the mountain I had climbed at Nanputuo Temple the other day. From the temple, I could see a path leading to higher ground so I decided to explore that area. The trail had lots of steps and some cool architecture. It led to Wulao Peak and there were a couple of big boulders covered with writing. It's times like this when I wished I could understand Chinese to know what the writing said. I headed back down the way I came and rejoined the main road that ran a loop around the main parts of the botanical garden.

I headed to the rainforest section next as that was close by. It was a lot busier than the temple, I think due to the fact that the garden's shuttle bus stops right by it. There were lots of gorgeous, brightly coloured flowers in this section and at the back there were some pools of water. I continued along, past a small stream and took a path across it. I headed to what I think was the vine garden next. It was a nice covered walkway and I enjoyed walking through it. I headed to the succulent garden next which was just over the rise. There was another bus stop here so the place was rammed. This garden was really cool as it was filled with cacti and other plants that grow in arid environments. There were a couple of greenhouses to look around, too, but it was too hot inside for me.

The weather was boiling hot and although I was enjoying the gardens I didn't have enough energy to lug myself up another hill to look at another temple, so I took the path downwards. I headed to the flower hall, which was a collection of building with things on display, not too interesting, but the pool in the middle and one of the buildings on the edge of it did make a nice picture. I came to the Palm Garden next and enjoyed walking through all the leafy trees and bushes, it was very tranquil and the trees providers a nice bit of shade. There was a really nice lake called Wanshihu, which I took a walk around to complete my visit of the botanical garden. The lake had one of those traditional Chinese bridges, i.e. steep with lots of stairs and as I walked to the other side I got some great views of the bridge, all though I was sure I was going to get sunburnt again as the weather was pretty fierce.

I decided to head back to the Siming Road area for a lunch. That was a mistake as I he streets were totally rammed. I ended up getting a sandwich and a coffee in a Starbucks and I was quick to nab a table inside. There was some nice outdoor seating but that was filled mostly with people who didn't seem to have bought anything from Starbucks. I spent an hour or so relaxing with my book. One of the perks of being the only foreign face in the place was that the staff brought my order to me, instead of me having to go and collect it. It was so kind of them.

I decided that for my final afternoon, I would take about more of a walk along the coast. I headed for the coast and walked along by the Chinese Navy base, there were some big warships in the port, but I didn't try and take any photos of them in case a soldier tried to kill me. My walk took me onto an elevated walkway that was next to the ocean. It was pretty nice, but the traffic was above and to the side of me. There were plenty of people about but it wasn't too busy. I got slightly better views across the water, but it was still a bit hazy. I watched the boats speeding along in the sea. I was surprised to find a little beach at the end of the elevated walkway. It was nicely hidden underneath it and not too busy. From there, I continued on until the path met up with the main beach. I had planned to continue walking further past the beach nearest to where I was staying so I could see what was further down the coast, but by the time I got to that beach I was feeling to tired and hungry so decided to head home.

When I got back to the area I was staying in, I went to look for some dinner. There are loads of small restaurants in the area, so I had a look at a few of those. I found one that had a giant picture menu outside, that determined that I would eat there. I ordered their pork rice. The restaurant was pretty quiet, only a couple of the other tables were occupied. After a short wait, My food arrived and I tucked in. There was a mountain of rice with pork, tofu, vegetables and half a tea egg. It was yummy and I was stuffed by the time I had finished it. The meal was very cheap too, under 20 RMB, if I remember correctly. I headed back to the hostel to pack up as I had an early start the next day. I had really enjoyed my time in Xiamen and would like to come back to see more of the island, but I think I would like to stay in the downtown area next time. Anyway, I was excited to explore more of Fujian province.

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