A few weeks ago, I was invited by the travel agency Thomas Cook to take part in a trip to Moganshan with a few other bloggers. As soon as it comes to...
Recently we realised that we hardly travel in China anymore… and that is a shame as this country has so many wonderful places to discover. That’s why we decided to go to Xiamen, a city in Fujian region, an hour fly away from Shanghai.
The airport is located in Xiamen Island, the island in the south of the city. Take a ferry and in 5 minutes you reach Gulangyu Island, which is even smaller. This is where we spent our weekend.
Gulangyu is a small island of 2.5 km2 absolute charm: there is no cars, the architecture reflects the ancient colonies and nature, which gradually took over, literally merges with the mark of civilization.
Gulangyu is also called The Island of Music. The Chinese name of the island has musical resonances: gu lang means “drum waves”, because of the sound generated by the sound of waves hitting the rocks, and yu means “small island”. The island is also called “piano island” because it is a very popular instrument among the population. There are more than 600 piano for 20,000 citizen living in the island. There is even a piano museum!
Just one detail about this island : it is a very popular tourist destination in China … so there are a lot of Chinese tourists who come to visit. They even have to limit the amount of visitors : only 60 000 visitors are allowed to come every day. So you better book your ticket in advance!
If you are willing to fight the crowds, then I will take you to Gulangyu!
Our hotel was located on the north of the island in a quiet street away from the noise of seafood restaurants, vendors and crowd. We enjoyed our little balcony for a long while before exploring the island.
On the road, we stopped regularly to take pictures of the magnificent colonial facades. Bougainvillas take over the gates, vines and other climbing plants cover walls and balustrades. The vegetation seems uncontrollable and blend beautifully with the architecture of another time.
There is one thing we noticed : the gigantic ficus that shade the pedestrian streets. Most of them are more than 200 years old! Their roots are knotted in the walls. Some have grown aerial roots to the ground to better support their large branches.
Some buildings are completely abandoned and disappears under the vegetation. They look like haunted houses.
Others are well kept and became hotels.
On every corner, vendors offer all sort of juices : mango, coconut or passion fruit that you can drink with a straw planted in it. It’s impossible to resist : the weather is too hot and it’s delicious!
We tried the oyster omelet, or as known as the “Oh-Ah-Chian 蚵仔煎” in the Hokkien dialect. It is a famous dish in Fujian(as well as Taiwan and South East Asia). Yummy!
Tourists, again and again…
Street-food is everywhere. It’s cheap and so good! I loved these egg-shrimp balls.
These fish balls are the best I ever had.
We found a high point of view from where we could admire a 360 ° panorama. From there, you can see the intense vegetation that makes the island so beautiful.
From the east coast of the island, we can see the modern Xiamen, there are skyscrapers and the highway built above the sea, contrasting with the historic charm of Gulangyu.
The island is surrounded by beaches. Nice, isn’t it? But despite the heat, we didn’t go to swim : the sea is dirty. On the sand: bottles, plastic bags, rubber gloves, packets of laundry and other miscellaneous garbage was swept away by the waves. We hate seeing that, we went away cursing this horrible invention : plastic.
The huge statue of Zheng Chenggong, a Chinese hero who liberated Taiwan from the grip of the Dutch, facing the sea.
In the small streets, workers were pulling heavy wheelbarrows loaded with bottles of water, construction tools, stone blocks … Without any cars, they must find other ways of transportation…
Gulangyu, but especially Xiamen are well known for their seafood. So, we indulged ourselves with delicious sea view dinners.
The last day, we tried to get away from the crowd, discovering small streets where nobody dare to venture… much like the two Chinese guys under their umbrella.
We enjoyed these three days a lot. The scenery, the sea air, the sun pleased us very well. We went back home – after a few setbacks : a flight canceled and another one delayed because of a typhoon – very excited about our trip. So, would you like to visit The Piano Island?
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