How to Spend 2 Days in Xiamen
With two days to spend in the island city of Xiamen on China’s southeastern coast, you’ll have time to explore the island’s highlights, tour the petite nearby island of Gulangyu, and head into the countryside for a glimpse of Hakka culture, history, and heritage. Here are some tips for how to spend your 48 hours in Xiamen.
Day 1: Tour Two Islands
Morning: Start your morning with a guided tour to one of Fujian Province’s top attractions and a UNESCO World Heritage Site: Gulangyu island. As you explore the former concession, you’ll see its lovely European architecture and stroll the grounds of Shuzhuang Garden, a former private villa with a spectacular traditional Chinese garden.
Afternoon: Upon return to Xiamen, take this afternoon to see the local cultural and historical highlights on an island sightseeing tour. Visit the Tang dynasty Nanputuo Temple, still an active Buddhist temple, as well as Hulishan Fortress, built in 1894 to help defend the island against invaders.
Night: This evening, grab a seat at the Minnan Magic stage show—a spectacle of folk song, dance, and martial arts that offers an entertaining introduction to the local Minnan culture. After the show, make your way to Zhongshan Road Walking Street to eat at one of the many local restaurants in the area.
Day 2: Hakka Tulou
Morning: This morning, get an early start as you head into the countryside to see another UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Fujian tulou (earthen dwellings). These ancient circular buildings have served as multifamily dwellings and community hubs for centuries. Upon arrival in the area, stop for a traditional Hakka lunch at the home of a local family.
Afternoon: Spend this afternoon visiting several tulou clusters for a glimpse at rural life far from the busy streets of Xiamen. Explore the Tianluokeng tulou cluster, one of the best-preserved in the area, and spend some time wandering Taxia Village, known for its earthen buildings along the banks of a clear brook.
Night: After a long day enjoying the sights and sounds of Fujian Province, keep things low-key this evening with a meal at your hotel. If you’re still feeling energetic, head to Haiwan Park or Xiada (near the university)—both packed with restaurants and popular local hangouts after dark.