Take a 10-minute ferry ride across the Egret River to the scenic island retreat of the early 20th-century wealthy, Gulang Yu. Gulang Yu means "Drum Wave Islet" for the beating sound of waves rushing through hollow rocks. It was the pre-eminent locale for the international community to build their opulent mansions. Stroll through the serpentine, cobblestone streets (bonus: no cars allowed) to view a wide variety of international architecture at its finest. Along the way, you'll find Asia's largest piano museum.
Between the mountains, the beaches, the gardens and the waters ripe for sailing, you won't find any shortage of sporting outlets in Xiamen. To settle on one way to get your endorphins flowing, visit Wanshi ("Ten Thousand Stone") Botanical Garden, a beautiful backdrop for brisk strolls through unique varieties of bamboo, orchids, eucalyptus, rocks and caves.
Shopping for Bargains
The art of Xiamen lacquer thread sculpture has been in practice for more than 300 years. So is there any better place to pick up a piece? The sap of lacquer trees is mixed with brick powder and shaped into opulent yet delicate three-dimensional designs on plates, vases and urns. Look for bright red vessels covered with gilded gold dragons or phoenixes.
Treat your taste buds and enter a higher consciousness at the same time at a vegetarian restaurant located at the Nanputuo Temple, a working Buddhist monastery and tourist destination in its own right. Find your moment of Zen with a hearty bowl of black fungus soup with tofu, a tall glass of locally brewed beer and a chat with a Buddhist monk.
China's legal tender is the renminbi (RMB). The basic unit of RMB is the yuan. One yuan (or kuai) = 10 jiao (or mao). RMB are available in both paper notes and coins. The denominations of paper notes are 100, 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 yuan; 5, 2 and 1 jiao. The denominations of coins are 1 yuan; 5, 2 and 1 jiao.