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25 Of The Best Things To Do In Xiamen, China - Updated 2021

things to do in xiamen china
Shawna
Shawna
Updated

Across the strait from Taiwan lies the port city of Xiamen. Lying along the southern coast of China, the area enjoys mild weather most of the year making it an ideal tourist destination. Originally known as Amoy, when the British ran the area, it is made up of two islands and the city on the mainland. The ferry to Gulangyu Island runs throughout the day. Gulangyu only allows electric vehicles so it makes a nice escape from the noise and smells of the city. When visiting the island, you will relish the natural beauty, shop for souvenirs, or grab a bite to eat in one of the trendy cafes. Back on the mainland, you will find activities that almost everyone will enjoy. History buffs will enjoy exploring the temples and historical sites, while foodies will delight in the many tasty restaurants around the city. To help you get the most out of your visit, we have put together this list of 25 of the best things to do in Xiamen, China.

1. Explore the incredible underwater world at Gulangyu Seashell Museum (from USD 7.0)

The museum houses a collection of over 6,800 shells found on the planet, in destinations like the US, Australia, and Southeast Asia. Located inside a renovated air raid shelter, you will feel like you are exploring the ocean depths. Along with the tanks full of fish and other marine life, you will see holographic images that entertain and educate. Delight these senses with the high-tech visuals and acoustic optoelectronics that accompany many of the exhibits. You may even see a mermaid.

Gulangyu Seashell Museum Ticket

13 reviews

2. Experience a day in the life of the locals (from USD 246.0)

This one-day tour takes you through the old quarter of Xiamen. You will learn about the history and culture of the people living there. You will see the oldest Buddhist temple in China, the 8th Seafood Market, and the Nanputuo Temple. Strolling along Zhongshan Road Walking Street, you will get to see the old post office and Catholic Church. You will be treated to a vegetarian lunch at the Temple, or carnivores can choose to eat at a nearby restaurant. After lunch, the tour continues to the Huli Mountain Fort and the Jimei School Village. At the fort, you will learn the history of the weaponry used to protect China over the ages. This tour includes hotel pick up and drop off.

Private one day Xiamen culture and history tour

Duration: 5 to 10 hours

3. Treat your eyes to the scenic beauty of Gulangyu Island (from USD 147.0)

You will be picked up at your hotel and transported to the ferry to Gulangyu Island. On the island, you will get to enjoy the stunning views from the top of Sunlight Rock. Enjoy the unique shops as you walk along the coastal roads. Once back in Xiamen, you can shop for souvenirs along Zhongshan Pedestrian Street while enjoying some of the local cuisines.

Private Old Xiamen Experience of Gulangyu Island, Zhongshan Road, 8th Market

Duration: 9 hours

4. See Xiamen's highlights with an English speaking guide (from USD 280.0)

Your guide will meet you at your hotel and take you to the ferry for you to cross the Egret River. Explore Gulangyu Island, known as the “Garden of the Sea”. When you are done there, take the ferry back to Xiamen for an authentic Chinese lunch before heading on to Jimei School Village. Here, you will see the Turtle Garden, Tan Kah Kee’s Former Residence, and Tan Kah Kee Garden.

Xiamen Private Tour: Gulangyu and Jimei School Village

Duration: 8 to 9 hours

5. Drive along the scenic Island Ring Road (from USD 264.0)

For this whirlwind day tour of Xiamen’s attractions, you will have a private, English speaking guide. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes as you will be on the move for most of the day. The tour starts with a visit to Gulangyu Island and it includes a visit to Xiamen Shuzhuang Garden. You will then be treated to lunch in one of the area’s restaurants. From there, you will visit Nanputuo Temple, Hulishan Battery and enjoy a scenic ride along Island Ring Road.

Private Day Tour: Highlights Sightseeing in Xiamen

Duration: 8 hours

6. Pay a visit to the beautiful Xiamen University

Xia Men University Jiannan Auditorium 2
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user 螺钉 used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Founded in 1919, Xiamen University was originally named the Amoy University. It is located in the mountain foothills surrounded by Xiamen Bay. The main campus is a popular tourist attraction with its huge libraries, Lotus Lake, and landscaped grounds.

Xiamen University

Address: No. 422, Siming South Road, Siming District, Xiamen City, Fujian Province

Website: Xiamen University

Opening hours: 5pm - 12am (daily)

7. Browse through the displays at Gulangyu Piano Museum

Piano Museum, Xiamen, China
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user User: (WT-shared)... used under CC BY-SA 4.0

On Gulangyu Island is the Piano Museum which houses the largest collection of pianos on the planet. They are housed in unique red-roofed buildings and were brought here from every corner of the globe. You will see pianos built in shapes and sizes you have never imagined, from mini pianos to grand, lavish works of art. Depending on what time of day you visit, you may be treated to the music of one of the resident pianists who plays at random times throughout the day.

Gulangyu Piano Museum

Address: 45 Huangyan Rd, Siming Qu, Xiamen Shi, Fujian Sheng, China, 361210

Website: Gulangyu Piano Museum

Opening hours: 6am - 9:30pm (daily)

Price: 43 USD

8. Enjoy breathtaking views at Wanshi Botanical Garden

Wanshi Botanical Garden
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Popolon used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Wanshi Botanical Garden is actually 10 gardens in one. It spreads across the rolling hills at the base of the Wanshi Mountains. Enjoy moving from one landscape to the next, like the Palm Island landscape or Rainforest World. Some of the most popular areas of the garden include “Laughing Rocks of Eternal Peace”, “Dawn Bell Ringing from Heaven’s Border”, “A Thousand Scepters Facing Skywards”, “Jade Scepter on Central Boulder”, “Road on Purpled Cloud”, and “Melodious Instrument Cave”. You will see plants from the local region growing next to plants from around the world, even cacti.

Wanshi Botanical Garden

Address: 25 Huyuan Road, Siming District, Xiamen, Fujian 361003 China

Website: Wanshi Botanical Garden

Opening hours: 6:30am - 6pm (daily)

Price: 6 USD

9. Enjoy the fresh air at Bailuzhou Park

Bailuzhou Park
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user lienyuan lee used under CC BY 3.0

Located in Nanjing, is the beautiful Bailuzhou Park. Sitting on Egret Island, the park features a huge pavilion in the middle with panoramic views. You can see the egret statues in the lake to the west of the pavilion. Bailuzhou Park is full of other interesting statues and sculpted hedges. One of the most photographed statues is one of a goddess. Kneeling on a rock combing her long hair, she is a symbol of the island. Also throughout the park are some lovely landscaped bridges and the Jiufeng Temple.

Bailuzhou Park

Address: Siming Qu, Xiamen Shi, China, 361210

Website: Bailuzhou Park

Opening hours: 12am - 12am (daily)

Price: 0 USD

10. Shop your heart out at Zhongshan Road

Zhongshan Rd., Xiamen
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Caiguanhao used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Zhongshan Road is the heart of Xiamen’s commercial district. The pedestrian road is lined with over 200 unique shops, restaurants, and street vendors. It comes alive at night and it is one of the main entertainment areas of the city. The markets in China are highly competitive so the shop owners work hard to maintain Zhongshan Road’s integrity of no fake shops and it works to earn the coveted “good manners” credentials. You will find big-name brand department stores alongside independently owned shops. Mixed in will be fruit juice stands, spa facilities, and cafes.

Zhongshan Road

Address: Xiamen Commercial District

11. Indulge in a late night bite at Taiwan Snack Street

Xiamen-Taiwanese xiaochi market
Source: Photo by user Popolon used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Taiwan Snack Street features stalls and vendors selling popular dishes from Xiamen’s neighbor Taiwan. Open till late, it is a popular place for anyone who wants a late night snack or dinner. You will find everything from oyster omelets to grilled squid. As you explore the city, you will notice that street food is extremely plentiful. This stretch of food vendors makes it easy to try all of the best items at an inexpensive price. Roasted ears of corn pair well with kebabs of grilled meat then finish it off with a refreshing shaved ice or favorite local dessert peanut soup.

Taiwan Snack Street

Address: China, Fujian, Xiamen, Siming, Dazhong Rd

12. Enjoy a bike ride on the Kulangsu Huandao Road

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

The Kulangsu Huandao Road runs along the coastline of Xiamen. As you ride your bicycle on the road, you will see many of the best attractions that the area has to offer. You will also pass souvenir shops, beaches, bars, and shops, where you can rent quality gear for water sports.

Kulangsu Huandao Road

Address: Xiamen East Side Waterway

13. Soak your cares away at the Riyuegu Hot Springs (from USD 111.0)

Riyuegu Hot Springs rests at the foot of the Tianzhu Mountains. You have a choice of pools and baths to soak in that are fed by carbonated hot springs. Eggs are cooked in the hot springs so they absorb the natural minerals and make for a tasty treat. You might also enjoy the milk bath that was loved by Cleopatra. Alongside many of the pools are slabs of granite that are heated naturally by the hot springs. Lying on the warm granite will help to ease the aches and pains from your muscles. Don’t forget to check out the natural remedies for sale at the Herbal Garden, and grab a sweet treat from The Bouquet.

Xiamen Riyuegu Hot Spring Experience with Private Transfer

Duration: 5 hours

14. Experience the rich culture of the Minnan people through dance (from USD 26.0)

This extravagant stage show will immerse you in the history of the Minnan people with the use of dance. The 90-minute show is performed in six parts featuring colorful sets and dramatic lighting. Not only will you enjoy the music but you will be treated to a display of Shaolin kung fu that is practiced in this region.

Skip the Line: Xiamen Minnan Magic Cultural Show Ticket

Duration: 1 hour 10 minutes

1 review

15. Enjoy a visit to the Ancient Courtyard Folk Culture Garden (from USD 41.0)

The Ancient Courtyard Folk Culture Garden has six main areas to explore. Each area offers a different perspective of the region, such as fishing or architecture. Enjoy a peaceful stroll around the garden, before grabbing a bite to eat, or buying souvenirs at the shopping center. Inside the Grand Theater, you can see the popular “Legend of Southern Fujian” show, which is performed on a 360-degree revolving stage.

Xiamen Ancient Courtyard Folk Culture Garden & Penguin world & Legend of Southern Fujian Ticket

11 reviews

16. End a day of sightseeing with a foot massage and seafood dinner (from USD 46.0)

You will be picked up from your hotel at around 4:00 pm, and then you’ll be taken to one of the local massage facilities. Here, you will get to enjoy a one-hour foot massage, perfect after a day of trekking around the city. You can also upgrade the foot massage to a full body massage, or any other body treatment, for an additional fee. Just ask your guide who will help you accomplish this. After you pamper your feet, you will be transported to a local seafood restaurant where your chef will share Southern Chinese dishes with you.

Tuina Massage Experience in Xiamen including Round Trip Transfer

Duration: 2 hours

17. Witness a beautiful sunset at Báichéng Beach

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

With Xiamen lying on the coast you will have your choice of beaches to enjoy. Báichéng Beach is a great choice when you want to appreciate the natural beauty of a beach. Local restrictions prohibit swimming but you can spend the day relaxing or playing in the soft sand. You will likely see locals fishing off the coastal rocks here if you visit in the morning, or just before the sun sets. If you are a fan of sunsets, there is no better place to see one than Báichéng Beach.

Báichéng Beach

Address: 97 Hualin Road, Fuzhou, Fujian, P.R.China

18. Take a walk through history at the Railway Culture Park

Xiamen Railway Culture Park
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user BreakdownDiode used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Located on the west side of Xiamen’s train station is the Railway Culture Park. Designed within the unused space of the old train yards, is a popular park for strolling, playing and jogging. The kids will love walking along the preserved train tracks, and parents don’t have to worry since no trains run here anymore. When visiting the park, be sure to check out the tunnel that runs under Yintai Mountain. On the walls are pictures detailing the history of the railroad in China.

Railway Culture Park

Address: Huyuan Rd, Siming Qu, Xiamen Shi, Fujian Sheng, China

Opening hours: 12pm - 12pm (daily)

Price: 0 USD

19. Enjoy the scenic panoramic view from Riguang Mountain

View of Urban Area of Amoy from Mount Riguangyan
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user そらみみ used under CC BY-SA 3.0

When you visit Gulangyu Island be sure to make the climb up Riguang Mountain. The locals call it “Sunlight Rock” and the small hill is an easy climb for most people. At the top is a lookout tower where you can take in the stunning views of the island and the city of Xiamen across the bay. The trail does get quite crowded so try to visit in the morning or late afternoon, and don’t forget your camera.

Riguang Mountain

Address: 62 Huangyan Lu, Siming District, Xiamen

Opening hours: 7am - 6pm (daily)

Price: 0 USD

20. Get a bird's eye view of Xiamen on the Zhonggu Cableway

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

The Zhonggu Cableway will give you a new perspective on the city of Xiamen. With 82 cars moving up and down the mountain, you won’t have to worry about a long wait. There is one stop at the midway point that features a lookout so you can grab some great pictures. At the top of the mountain, there are many interesting rock formations. You can also explore the replica of the RMS Titanic and hang out until you are ready to ride back down.

ZHONGGU Cable Car

Address: Siming, Xiamen, Fujian, China

Opening hours: 12am - 12am (daily)

Price: 10 USD

21. Visit the Overseas Chinese Museum

Overseas Chinese Museum, Xiamen, China
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user User: (WT-shared)... used under CC BY-SA 4.0

The Overseas Chinese Museum was founded by Tan Kah-kee, and it opened to the public in 1959. The museum is home to over 7000 exhibits, displayed in six main areas. Each area has exhibits or handcrafts tailored to their themes. Some of these themes include “tragedies overseas”, “friendship between the Chinese and their host country”, and “contributions made by Chinese people to the motherland”. The museum is located by the South Putuo Temple and the Xiamen University.

Overseas Chinese Museum

Address: 493 Siming S Rd, Siming Qu, Xiamen Shi, Fujian Sheng, China, 361005

Website: Overseas Chinese Museum

Opening hours: Tue - Sun: 9:30am - 4:30pm (closed on Mon)

Price: 0 USD

22. Visit the famous South Putuo Temple (from USD 12.0)

See the most popular attractions in Xiamen on this day-long tour. You will be picked up at your hotel and taken to the first stop, Amoy Circular Road. Enjoy a pleasant stroll along the coast before boarding the ferry to Gulangyu Island. Here, you will visit the Shuzhuang Garden and the Piano Museum, before you get in some shopping and then have lunch. Afterward, head back to the mainland to explore the South Putuo Temple. The tour takes about eight hours to complete.

Xiamen South Putuo Temple Walking Tour

Duration: 2 Hrs Duration

1 review

23. Visit three of Xiamen's best sites in one day (from USD 214.0)

visit three of xiamen's best sites in one day

The first stop on this day tour is Gulangyu Island where you will get to enjoy the morning breeze as you stroll along the streets to see the old church and other colonial European structures. Browse through the many shops or grab a bite in one of the cafes. After taking the ferry back to Xiamen, you will be driven to the Hulishan Battery. Learn the history of the fortress and tour the Rongguang Museum there. The last stop on the tour is the Nanputuo Temple, one of the oldest Buddhist temples in China.

Xiamen Private Day Tour with Gulangyu Island, Shuzhuang Garden

Duration: 8 hours

24. Spend a day in the calming Shuzhuang Garden (from USD 110.0)

Shuzhuang Garden was once a private villa that was built in 1931. The home, with its stunning tropical gardens, is now open to the public. This half-day tour includes an English speaking guide, a tour of Gulangyu Island, and a rest stop at one of the cafes, for a refreshing drink.

Xiamen Private Half-Day Tour Gulangyu Island, Shuzhuang Garden

Duration: 4 hours

1 review

25. Take in views of the city on this Lujiang River night cruise (from USD 10.0)

This one-hour cruise takes you along the Lujiang River, where you will get a new perspective of Xiamen. You will pass under the three main bridges in the area and see the city lit up for the evening. On the boat, you will also be provided with tea and snacks, and a couple of entertaining shows.

Lujiang River Night Cruise Tour

Duration: 1 hour

A wealth of history and culture

Xiamen
Source: Pixabay

The city of Xiamen and the region surrounding it is rich in history and culture and the area enjoys pleasant weather all year long. With so many fun and interesting attractions and activities to choose from, you may need to visit the area more than once. The city has something to attract almost everyone, from foodies to history buffs, you won’t be disappointed. Whether you are climbing Sunlight Rock, or just enjoying a day at one of the beaches, Your Xiamen vacation will be one to remember for many years to come.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Shawna is a domestic goddess living by the sea in the beautiful state of South Carolina. She has earned two degrees in Criminal Justice and Human Services but now spends her time pursuing her...Read more

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