Discovering Xiamen

Gulangyu Island  

As a place of residence for Westerners during Xiamen's colonial past, Gulangyu is famous for its architecture and for hosting China's only piano museum.

Home to more than 200 pianos, it's no wonder Gulangyu has been bestowed nicknames such as "Piano Island," "The Town of Pianos," and "The Island of Music". The Chinese name for Gulangyu even has musical significance. Kó͘-lōng, translated as "drum waves," refers the sound of ocean waves crashing upon the island's reefs.

Gulangyu is also host to a Koxingga museum, Hai-toe Se-kai Marine World, a subtropical garden containing plants various foreign and exotic plants, as well as Xiamen Museum.

A pedestrian-only destination, the only vehicles on Gulangyu are fire trucks and electric tourist buggies. The narrow streets on the island, coupled with varied international architectural styles, make it rife for exploration. The site is classified as an AAAAA scenic area by the China National Tourism Administration.

Nanputuo Temple 

Nanputuo Temple consists of four separate halls of worship, as well as monks' quarters and some of the pristine grounds and landscaping you'll find in any Chinese temple. Stone carvings, lotus-filled ponds and secluded caves are scattered about the grounds. If it's good luck you seek, try tossing a coin onto the rock behind the main temple. Legend has it that if the coin stays put, good luck is in your future. Behind the smoky courtyards you will discover libraries, the monks' quarters, temples and statues of chubby Buddha Milefo (Wǔlǎo Fēng, 五老峰). Stroll out upon the "peak of five old men," which overlooks the South China Sea and offers stunning views of Xiamen University campus and the sprawling urban metropolis of Xiamen.


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