Off of the coast of Xiamen there is an island called Gulangyu (鼓浪屿). For some time this small island was one of the only two international settlements in China (the other being Shanghai).
Now, due to its past, people can enjoy some of the Western architecture that remains, with an added mix of kitschy looking souvenir shops, small beach areas, parks and a piano museum.
Having Christmas day off, we ventured towards Gulangyu for the long weekend. We took an early morning flight from Hangzhou to Xiamen (on schedule!), and from the airport the express bus that takes visitors directly to the ferry port. The last ferry leaves at 6:30 pm, so booking a room in Xiamen if arriving later than that is recommended, otherwise stay on the island!
The ferry (35 RMB) is a short ride, that is usually really busy during holidays and weekends. But, as Christmas is not an official holiday in China, the waiting time was short and the ride not too crazy (the boats were still filled up).
Once on the island we made the short walk to our hotel, which was a remodelled historic house. All hotels offered, from what it looks, cozy charming rooms.
We spent the weekend walking around the island (about 2 hours), taking lots of photos of buildings, sculptures, and brides lining up with their photography crew to take shots in the “perfect spot”.
It was at the end a very relaxing couple of days, and worth the visit during a low season weekend.