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Published: February 9th 2017
So! This is my first official blog. I've decided that living in China for a year and travelling may as well have benefits for others as well as myself. I have now lived in Xiamen for 5 months and have, without doubt, fallen in love with the place. It is a beautiful, unique part of China. Not only have I lived in Xiamen, but I have taken it upon myself to travel to as many areas of Xiamen, attractions, scenery etc. and areas around Xiamen as possible. With each blog post I will detail another one of my adventures, but for now I will simply give an idea of Xiamen's overall beauty and the top things to do here!
Xiamen is a bit more rural than other parts of China. As of yet, it doesn't even have a metro system, however they are working on it! Not that the lack of a metro system stunts travel in any way, with buses covering every inch of the place. (Buses that cost a maxium of 2 yuan, might I add.) It's very easy to navigate and travel to different parts of Xiamen.
The weather here is also different to other parts of China. It is a beautiful, warm, temperate area of South China. Another benefit of living or travelling to Xiamen is that the beach is never far away. You really feel like you're always on vacation. It's amazing. I am living near the University, Xiamen University or Xiamen "Da Xue" as the locals call it, which I would absolutely reccomend. The top sights and attractions are extremely near, the beach is close and this area is extremely well served by public transport, not to mention the international bars that are within a ten minute walk.
So, apart from the weather to enjoy, cheap bus journeys, beach and bars, what else should you do in Xiamen? I'm going to keep it simple with a top 10 list of things to do here, things that noone should miss! A short description of each will follow, but keep a close eye on blog posts for more detailed information on each individual attraction..
10. JIMEI EDUCATION VILLAGE - a beautiful, old village full of old school buildings, natural scenery and a real traditional Chinese atmosphere. Great for a half day visit.
9. WUYUWUAN WETLAND PARK - an outstanding view of glorious blue waters, an amazing walk or cycle, and also a beautiful wooden walkway along an equally beautiful lake. Again best for a half day visit.
8. TONG'AN DISTRICT - This place is amazing, if you want to see real rural China. Take a bus to Tong'an and then hop on another that takes you most of the way up towards the mountain. Here you will be dropped off in a rural Chinese community, full of rice fields, small houses. A very quiet, different area of China.
7. HAICANG TIAN ZHU MOUNTAIN - A mountain that is simply built for tourists. Amazing walk up, you can take a bus either for minimal costs. Views are outstanding. You can chill and have a picnic in a pleasant, people filled park at the bottom.
6. ZHONGSHANLU - Shop here! This is a very famous street in Xiamen, with ancient origins, however it currently inhabits many modern high street stores, along with cheap China markets and both Chinese and Western Restaurants. Perfect for a day of shopping and chilling.
5. SM SHOPPING MALL - Just to take in the complete China experience, it's essential that you visit a big Chinese shopping mall. This place is massive. You literally have to cross a busy road to get from one area of the mall to another. Full of high street stores and great restaurants.
4. RAILWAY CULTURE PARK - If you're feeling sluggish after too many Tsingtao or Mian Bao, this is a pleasant, relaxing walk, with some interesting, intricate views. I definitely reccomend walking from the end of the park that starts near Zhongshan Lu all the way to Railway Station, grabbing a bite to eat in the more "city" area of Xiamen and getting a 1 yuan to wherever you're staying after!
3. NAN PU TUO TEMPLE - What can I say about this place except wow. The temple is out of this world. So intricate, so amazing. Following the experience of taking in this outstanding temple you can climb the steps behind it, which will bring you to a viewpoint that allows you to see Xiamen in all its wonderful glory. I can't explain how amazing it truly is.
2. XIAMEN UNIVERSITY - Being a University, it's strange that this place is seen as one of the best parts of Xiamen, but it truly is. Each building is so detailed in its design. The magnificent lake in the middle is a relaxing, beautiful chill zone. The Furong Tunnel is a must visit attraction conjoined to the University, with amazing artwork painted along the walls throughout the entire 2.5km walk. Do not miss either the tunnel or the University itself.
1. GULANGYU ISLAND - I really did save the best until last with this place. It is a wonderful part of Xiamen and of China. A padestrian island full of souveneir shops, cultural shops, traditional foods, views that will take your breath away, an Underwater World that is fun for all of the family, even the ferry ride over and back is brilliant. I urge you to take the opportunity to visit this amazing place.
Xiamen is really and truly a miracle part of China. I am so grateful to have spent a part of my life here. The local people are welcoming and helpful. Beautiful weather and a great atmosphere make it a great place to experience and to live in. Due to the abundance of attractions and scenery you can never be bored here. Coming to Xiamen is really experiencing China in a different sort of way. I cannot reccommend this place enough. I do ask you future visitors one favour though; while you're here, treat it well. Xiamen has a special place in my heart and I feel it always will.
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