Xiamen, a beautiful city in Southeastern China, is an underrated coastal gem filled with wonders of both nature and culture. From savouring the freshest seafood, to exploring a nearby European-Chinese cultural island, and pampering yourself in a hot springs haven, Xiamen provides travellers with an immersive and all-rounded experience. This green city is lined with trees and spacious gardens, making it perfect for a relaxing holiday. If you are looking for an adventure away from the busy capitals, you should definitely check out Xiamen, just less than 5 hours away from Singapore.

Top attractions in Xiamen

gulangyu island gulangyu island

Discover the cultural richness of Xiamen with a visit to South Putuo Temple (Nanputuo Temple), an iconic Buddhist temple, Gulangyu Island and the stunning architecture of Xiamen University.

1. Gulangyu Island

This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a vehicle-free island off the coast of Xiamen, where the lack of traffic allows you to take peaceful and undisrupted strolls through the island. Accessible by an 8-minute ferry ride, Gulangyu Island is an architectural gem and cultural melting pot with a blend of Chinese and Western influences. Expect colonial-era mansions amidst calming gardens and breathtaking panoramic views from the top of Gulangyu’s hilly terrains. Each building that lines the narrow alleyways has its own unique characteristics and charm, making every corner a perfect spot for a photo-taking session with your cameras for the gram. Gulangyu is also known as “Piano Land” for its flourishing history of music ever since pianos were first brought to the island by foreign residents in the 1840s. This is also why you’ll find a Piano Museum on the island, which boasts the world’s largest collection of grand pianos. The European-Chinese classical music fusion is a rare tradition that you can probably only find here, making this place worth visiting.

2. South Putuo Temple (Nanputuo Temple)

The South Putuo Temple, also known as Nanputuo Temple, was first built in the Tang dynasty on the foot of Wulao Peak, overlooking a serene sea. The beautiful temple is one of the key national Buddhist temples in China as well as one of the eight scenic spots in Xiamen. Covering 30,000 square metres, this temple houses four main architectures namely the Tianwang Hall, Daxiong Hall, Dabei Hall, and the Depository of Buddhist Sutras. Step into South Putuo Temple and be greeted by Tianwang Hall, home to the serene Maitreya Buddha flanked by Four Devarajas. Then, explore Daxiong Hall's grandeur, where monks impart wisdom, and marvel at Dabei Hall's octagonal elegance worshipping Thousand-Hand Kwan-yin. Finally, ascend to the Depository of Buddhist Sutras, housing treasures like the Lotus Sutra and a White Porcelain Kwan-yin Statue.

Even if you are not religious, the scenery and majestic historical architecture will be a feast for your eyes. You can also savour delicious vegetarian cuisine in the temple or challenge yourself to a hike up Wulao Peak!

3. Xiamen University

The unique architecture and royal-like scenery have won Xiamen University the title of “The most beautiful university in China”. Apart from grand buildings, Xiamen University is home to several stunning nature landscapes like the Lover Valley Reservoir and Yingrong Lake. You can even enjoy an “afterschool” date along the sandy beaches right at the school gates. This beautiful and romantic campus will bring you back to your youthful days. In fact, many couples frequently opt to capture their wedding memories along the serene shoreline adjacent to Xiamen University's campus. This coastal spot is favoured by many for swimming, leisurely activities, and soaking up the vibrant atmosphere of the southern city.

4. Huli Mountain Fortress

Standing sentinel over Xiamen Island for more than 120 years, Huli Mountain Fort is a testament to China's coastal defences. Built during the Qing Dynasty's Westernisation Movement, the fort boasts the "King of Cannon," a 19th-century marvel of engineering that could fire two massive shells per minute. Explore the three distinct sections of the fort: the battlements, the barracks, and the back mountain area. Admire the unique architectural blend of European and Qing Dynasty styles, where the semi-blockhouse meets the semi-city wall. Get ready to immerse yourself in China's rich military history at Huli Mountain Fort.

Top things to do in Xiamen

road in southeast of xiamen island road in southeast of xiamen island

Explore Xiamen's vibrant offerings and tourist attractions, from cycling along the Island Ring Road to savouring local delights at Zeng Cuo An’s bustling food stalls—all at moderate prices, making it a perfect addition to your Xiamen city tour.

1. Cycling along Xiamen’s Golden Coastline

Embark on one of the most scenic cycling routes along Xiamen’s Huandao Road, which is known as their Golden Coastline located in the southeast of Xiamen Island. Also known as Island Ring Road, this stretch is built along the coast and leads from Xiamen University to the Old Convention and Exhibition centre. This journey will be a feast for the eyes with many iconic landmarks along the way, including the Hulishan Fortress, Wuyuan Bay, Coconut Village, and Zeng Cuo An Village. Passing Wuyuan Bay, you can witness the merger of seawater and freshwater as well as spot sail ships on the “most beautiful sailing harbour” of China. Park your bike at the beautiful Coconut Village and run along the captivating beach lined with coconut trees. End your cycling adventure at Zeng Cuo An village, which is a vibrant and fun-loving district deserving of a paragraph of its own.

2. Experience the vibrant cultural village Zeng Cuo An

What was once a pristine fishing village, Zeng Cuo An, is now a trendy and artistic cultural village that youngsters and tourists will love. Embark on a hip cultural experience with a stay in its youth hostels and featured guesthouses. Explore a vibrant architecture fusion of traditional courtyard houses and wooden fishing huts alongside Baroque mansions. Enjoy delicious snacks and seafood from the endless streets of food stalls. Watch the night come to life with folk songs and rows of bars opening their doors to liven up Zeng Cuo An village.

3. Take a walk in The Eighth Seafood Market

With seafood being one of Xiamen’s specialities you definitely would not want to miss out on the largest and most complete seafood market in Xiamen. Experience a local’s typical morning routine by checking out the freshest catch of the day, and you can even attempt to bargain in the Hokkien dialect. Apart from seafood, this market is also where you can find quality fruits and vegetables, and tantalising desserts and snacks to chomp on as you stroll down the market street. The market opens from 10:00am in the morning to 12:00am in the afternoon, but we would recommend going earlier for the freshest seafood and vegetables!

4. Enjoy a soak in Riyuegu Hot Spring

Indulge in ultimate relaxation and rejuvenation at this sprawling hot spring paradise, boasting over 100 open-air hot springs and 40 unique themed baths. Immerse yourself in soothing waters infused with fragrant tea, invigorating wine, calming flowers, or revitalising ginger—each bath is packed with bountiful benefits of its own. Nestled at the foothills of the Tianzhu Mountains, the tranquil environment offers a scenic escape at moderate prices. Ticket prices at the resort are reasonable, and you can easily find package options to suit your preferences.

If you have kids in tow, you can enrich their learning by engaging them in the interesting activities available there, such as sand painting, fan painting and other sorts of DIY crafts.

Food you should try in Xiamen

1. Shuyou Seafood Restaurant

With Xiamen being a coastal city with huge harvests of fresh and delicious seafood, a scrumptious seafood meal (or two) should definitely be on your itinerary. Shuyou Seafood Restaurant has a long-standing reputation and is voted by the locals as the best restaurant in town. You can savour almost the entire ocean in this seafood paradise. Amidst the extensive menu, the popular dishes ordered by the locals include prawns, oysters, and crabs cooked in Fujian-style and according to the seasons!

2. Linjia Restaurant – Minnan flavours

If you are looking for a fancy restaurant that serves authentic southern Fujian cuisine, Linjia is a popular choice as it is considered one of the best restaurants in Xiamen. This large chain restaurant serves “home-cooked” Fujian delicacies such as Buddha Jump Over The Wall, Fried Pork with Vinegar, and Radish Rice. The Huandao Road branch also features a stunning sea view that diners can enjoy from the comfort of their private dining rooms, halls or terrace of the restaurant.

3. Zhongshan Road street food

This main commercial street of the city is where you’ll be in for a treat. With endless rows of Xiamen’s best street delicacies, there is bound to be something to tickle your taste buds. Some famous snacks that you should not miss include the fresh and tender Gulangyu Fish Balls, Fujian style Fried Oysters Omelette that is generously packed with oysters and flavoured with a savoury spring onion and wok hey taste, and the thick and hearty mian xian hu (Fujian-style wheat vermicelli soup). If you are feeling adventurous, you should also try their exotic sandworm jelly that is not only tasty but rich in protein.

4. Huang Zehe Peanut Soup Store

Enjoy breakfast like a local by savouring their number #1 breakfast staple: peanut soup. The peanuts are stewed till soft, and the soup is sweet, nutty and aromatic. Locals love to pair this with some you tiao (deep-fried dough sticks) or buns, making it a hearty breakfast set that gets your body fuelled and ready for the day. While you can find peanut soup easily across the city, this store is one of the most popular go-to by locals for their favourite breakfast.


So, have we convinced you to pack your bags and book a flight to Xiamen, China? The charming city port is a captivating blend of history, modern charm, and delectable cuisine that promises an unforgettable escape for every traveller. Whether you're seeking relaxation or exploration, the various tourist attractions and places to travel to offer a unique coastal resort experience and is a destination not to be missed!

If you're feeling the wanderlust and all set to travel overseas to Xiamen from Singapore, check out the must-have mobile applications in China and learn why you should use Changi Pay on your next trip there.


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Best Time to Visit
Xiamen is the ultimate travel destination, beckoning travellers year-round, with prime seasons spanning April to November. Spring offers sunny days, while autumn presents a cosy charm. October boasts the revered Dark Dragon Tea and the Mid-Autumn Festival treats visitors to delectable mooncakes and fragrant teas amidst Xiamen's autumnal allure.

With Xiamen Gaoqi International Airport serving as the main gateway, visitors can swiftly arrive and depart from the city. The well-developed city bus system provides convenient access to various destinations, while the renowned Xiamen BRT System, boasting 7 routes, offers efficient transportation within the sub-provincial city. Additionally, travellers can opt for train travel, with Xiamen North Railway Station and Xiamen Railway Station catering to different routes. For those keen on exploring Xiamen's coastal charm, ferries provide seamless connectivity from three ports: Songgu Port, Lundu Port, and Xiamen International Cruise Terminal. And for added convenience, taxis are readily available throughout the city, ensuring easy access to transportation at any time.

China operates on the yuan or renminbi (RMB) as its official currency. Accessing cash is convenient with numerous bank ATMs, and credit cards are commonly accepted. While mobile payment options like Alipay and WeChat Pay are gaining popularity, it's advisable to carry some cash, especially when venturing into rural regions or encountering areas with limited mobile payment services.