11 Days Free and Easy China Tour – Day 7 Xiamen

Breakfast at Riyuegu Hotsprings Resort

After a great day of fun at Riyuegu Hotsprings Resort, we were ready to head to Xiamen City for some sight-seeing and shopping. However, first thing was to go for breakfast at this nice resort. We went to the restaurant at the lobby level. It was already very busy when we reached there. More tables were set up at the corridor outside the restaurant to cater to the crowd at the resort.

We didn’t see so many guests at the resort the day before. Perhaps they might be out visiting attractions around Xiamen. We got an empty table nevertheless and enjoyed a nice breakfast. They staff were still pleasant and friendly despite being so busy first thing in the morning.

Mineral Hotspring Bath in Room

Since we couldn’t check in to our new hotel in the city till around noon time, we still had time to enjoy the facility in Riyuegu Hotsprings Resort. Instead of heading out to the swimming pools and the outdoor hotspring pools, we decided just to use the mineral pool in our bathrooms. So we took turns and had a good soak this morning.

Once we were done having enjoyed our nice hotspring bath, we packed up and went to the lobby to check out. It was a pleasure to deal with their front desk staff, always so patient, helpful and friendly. We had already booked the shuttle bus service to Xiamen Island earlier. So we just had to wait a short while for the bus ride. The lobby was busy with new deco being set up for Christmas.

Shuttle Bus to Xiamen Island

Soon, our shuttle bus pulled up at the entrance. We boarded this very nice and comfy bus and then left Riyuegu Hotsprings Resort. We were very impressed with the resort and the staff here. My wife and I might come back on our own the next time we visit Xiamen.

It was a very sunny day even though it was winter in China. It was 11 am when we left Riyuegu Hotsprings Resort. We travelled along and then passed the high bridge connecting Xiamen Island with the mainland. After passing this bridge, the bus went into a parking area by a ferry terminal. The whole bus ride took about half an hour. So we alighted and walked out to the main road.

This shuttle bus used to terminate at downtown area in the city but was no longer allowed not too long ago to minimize congestion in the city. So the next best location was this ferry terminal slightly further away from downtown area. Front desk staff told us earlier that taxi fare to the city centre was around CNY 20. But we needed two taxis.

Transfer to Tegoo Hotel

So while walking out to the main road, we reached a junction before the main road and a few private car drivers were waiting to offer their service. One driver offered to take us to Tegoo Hotel with his MPV for CNY 50. We conversed in Mandarin as well as Hokkien and decided to accept his service. Taiwan is just across the sea so the people here speak Hokkien as well. Hence we boarded his vehicle and off we went towards the city.

Xiamen City is pretty nice and clean, a city surrounded by the sea. It was so sunny here and it didn’t look like winter had arrived. It was a pleasant ride to town. In under 15 minutes, we arrived at Tegoo Hotel and we alighted along the road as there were some road works in the vicinity. Having paid the driver CNY 50, we took our bags and walked up to Tegoo Hotel.

Interesting Rooms in Tegoo Hotel

The lobby of Tegoo Hotel was fascinating, so colourful and cheerful. We thought we had entered a theme park. There were a few guests queuing at front desk. We joined the queue and we were served not long after. The staff were very polite and friendly as well, really nice people to deal with. We were given rooms next to each other but not inter-connecting.

So we took our bags and went up to our rooms. Upon entering our rooms, we were greeted with amazing wall murals. It was such a delight. Though we were no longer small kids, we were very pleased with the deco. Our rooms didn’t come with windows so perhaps, these wall murals were there to cheer up the rooms. Everything was perfect in our rooms and we needed nothing else. Though bathrooms didn’t come with bathtub this time, it was fine.

Delicious Western Lunch at Tegoo Hotel

It was time to head out to look for lunch. Our first destination was to check out the restaurant in the hotel. The restaurant was serving buffet lunch. The selection and buffet spread were impressive, plenty of seafood. Unfortunately, we were not much of fans for seafood, so we gave it a miss.

Hence we ordered from the a la carte menu. We ordered western meals this time. We had pasta, burgers and fish and chips. The food arrived shortly and they were very delicious. This restaurant served very good western meals and we were very happy with our lunch. Hotel guests were given 10% discounts dining in the restaurant.

The restaurant’s manageress and her staff were super friendly. The customer service here was par excellent. She seemed to be impressed we had a few children. In China, the country used to allow only one child and parents found it hard to cope. So she appeared to be very happy for us and we chatted for a short while after lunch.

So far, we found the people in Xiamen really nice and friendly. Does proximity with Taiwan have an impact on the people here? We don’t know but we did meet very helpful and friendly Taiwanese during our visit to Taiwan.

Bus to Hulishan Cannon Fort and Beach

After lunch, it was time to explore Xiamen Island. Over at the lobby, concierge staff gave us a map and recommendations where we might visit during the afternoon. Clear instructions on what bus number to take at which bus stop was also given. He even walked us out of the entrance to point us which way we should take to the bus stop.

So armed with a map and instructions, we left Tegoo Hotel and walked towards Heping Ferry Terminal. Once we reached the bus stop outside the ferry terminal, we waited for bus number 2. We were recommended to head to the fort and the beach for a visit because the weather was really good for such outdoor activity. The staff also suggested we might want to rent a bicycle to explore the area like the locals here.

Soon, our bus came. We boarded the bus and bus fare was just CNY 1 per person. So we settled down to enjoy our ride plying through the city passing some narrow streets. Many students boarded the bus at the university. The bus then moved on and soon we were travelling along the road with the beach on our right. After passing the stretch of the beach, we alighted as we saw the signboard of the fort. The bus ride was only 30 minutes so the beach area wasn’t very far from downtown area.

Hulishan Cannon Fort

We then walked towards Hulishan Cannon Fort. It was a very hot day and we were glad we were walking under shades from the trees along the pavement. Over at the entrance, we could see the fort which wasn’t very high up from ground level. Entrance fees were required to enter this attraction.

We thought Fort Siloso in Sentosa Island might be equally if not more impressive. Moreover, the area of the fort wasn’t big with many other attractions within the premise. So we decided to give this attraction a miss.

Beach Park near Hulishan Cannon Fort

Hence we walked along the pavement back towards the beach we had just passed earlier. It wasn’t a very long walk and walking under shades wasn’t stressful at all. Once we reached the edge of the beach, we walked in to explore the coastal area. This place was more like a park full of people mostly locals having a great time.

There was a station where bicycles were available for rent and it was very cheap. We didn’t have the local ID and we didn’t know how to go about renting the bikes so we went on into the park area beside the beach. Along the way, there were street hawkers and vendors selling food and drinks. Further into the park were more stalls and eateries to cater to the needs of visitors here.

Wonderful Beach in Xiamen Island

It was such a hot and sunny day that the sand on the beach were glittering like gold. It would be hard to believe we were on a winter holiday in China over here under cloudless clear blue skies with such pleasant weather conditions. Though it was sunny, it was not very hot but quite glaring though. The beach was interesting with beach goers enjoying their time there.

It was such a pretty sight as we made our way along the beach with the twin sword shaped skyscrapers in the distance standing out as the remarkable landmark along the shore. These two towers were shining and glittering under the fierce afternoon sun. The sandy beach was likewise glittering under the bright shining sun.

Nevertheless, though the sun was shining in its full strength, we didn’t feel intense heat or discomfort as we roamed and explored this beach area. This was due to winter season out here where the sun was strong but not very hot. Moreover, it was very windy out here. We only had to wear sunglasses to shield ourselves from the sun glare.

Beach goers were unperturbed with the sun shining in full strength. They were enjoying themselves on this winter day, a luxury perhaps where we were quite wrapped up coming down from Huangshan and Wuyishan a few days back. A lone guitarist was performing on the beach. Unfortunately, audience seemed to be missing. Some beach goers simply sat on the huge rocks on the beach enjoying the sea breeze and looking out to the sparkling sea. The sea was rather calm too.

Great Walk along the Coast

We continued our walk on the elevated walkway and passed some rocky walls on the left and the sea on our right. On top of the rock walls was the fort with those ancient cannons positioned up there. They were not very high up from here. So we were glad we didn’t spend money to get into Hulishan Cannon Fort for a look. The cannons on the fort were fenced up on the rock walls.

Along the elevated walkway, quite a number of people were fishing from this height. It was an interesting sight to see these fishing rods extending out to the sea with the clear blue sky and the unmistakable horizon with the sea as its background. It was a really nice walk out on the sea via this elevated walkway.

As we walked on, we reached another part of the beach where more food stalls were located under shelter. This was the other end of Hulishan Cannon Fort where we walked passed along the main road earlier after alighting from the bus. From here, we could look up to see some part of the Cannon Fort.

Looking down to the beach, a lone man was sitting on the beach fishing near some huge rocks by the sea. It was another interesting sight. He was sitting on a big container but we couldn’t tell he caught any fish or were there fish in the container he was sitting on. He just sat there watching the relentless sea washed up close to him while waiting for some bite on his fishing line.

Beautiful Beach near Hulishan Cannon Fort

After reaching this location, we decided not to walk on this coastal elevated walkway. This would lead us much further to the north side of the island. So we turned back witnessing the same scene. Soon we were back to where we entered this park.

This time we walked along the road further down the beach. There were more beach goers over at this stretch of the beach nearer to the main road. We saw someone flew kite over here too. A solitary rock pillar stood near the middle of the beach. It became one of the main attractions where visitors went near to take pictures.

We walked passed the bus stop and then walked up an interesting curve overhead bridge over the other side of the road. Up on the bridge, the view of the beach and the surrounding area was pretty nice, especially under such great weather conditions. It was quite windy up here as well. Hulishan Cannon Fort was just right ahead by the beach on the vegetation covered hill. The sword shaped twin towers were on the other side of the bridge. The road below was rather busy over here.

Bus to Zhongshan Road

Having descended to ground level on the other side of the road, we walked over to the bus stop. The information board showed several bus services that would bring us back to town. This time we boarded bus number 48 to bring us back to town. Bus fare was still CNY 1 each.

This bus took a slightly different route. We travelled along the elevated highway above the sea. The views were great along the way. We then entered town again and drove passed Xiamen University. Once back in the city, we looked for an appropriate bus stop to alight to explore Zhongshan Road Walking Street.

It was just a 10 minutes bus ride and we alighted near Zhongshan Road. This part of the city was very busy with vehicular and human traffic. We walked up to Zhongshan Road and began our tour of this walking street. The buildings here were indeed very pretty, a reminder of the former colonial past of Xiamen. This place is a smaller version of Shanghai Nanjing Road.

Shops lined both sides of this walking street. Shoppers would be spoilt for choice for retail shopping as well as dining at this area. It was a very pleasant walk as we strolled down the street. At the middle junction, crowds were gathering at a stage. Some not too young ladies were having some kind of fashion show. They adorned the traditional split long dress of era gone by and crowds watched curiously perhaps expecting younger ladies to show up later.

We continued our leisurely stroll till the end of the street. We then turned left and walked back to Tegoo Hotel. Heping Ferry Terminal was on our right across the road. It was the familiar path as we walked on and arrived at Tegoo Hotel. It was already 4.30 pm, a very good time to head up to the restaurant on the 27th floor to enjoy our afternoon tea set that came with the hotel booking.

High Tea at Tegoo Hotel

The views up here were stunning. We could see the surrounding city with high-rise buildings nestled among shorter buildings. Over at the waterfront near the ferry terminal, navy warships were berthed sitting beautifully under the late afternoon sun. Further out to sea was the famous Gulangyu Island. It was feast for the eyes up here as we enjoyed the sight while waiting for our afternoon tea set to be served.

Christmas was just two days away and Christmas decorations were evidenced even on the glass walls. The deco at this restaurant was unique and adorned with antique pieces and beautiful paintings of Venice and the old city of Xiamen. Decorations up here were tastefully done, a very nice and enjoyable place to chill out overlooking the city landscape.

Soon our tea set arrived. They came in triple tray sets. This afternoon tea consisted of sandwiches, cakes and pastries, of course not forgetting very nice coffee and tea. So we settled down to enjoy this special time over coffee and tea as well as snacks watching the sun about to set in Xiamen. Thus far, it was a splendid day. We didn’t expect it to be so sunny and pleasant in Xiamen in December. It was a treat indeed.

After this wonderful time up on the 27th floor indulging in some relaxing moments over high tea, we returned to our rooms to rest for a short while. It was also time to shower and get ourselves comfortable. Wifi was excellent in the room. TV programs were pretty good too and of course with English movie channel.

Night Stroll at Zhongshan Road

Finally at 6.15 pm, we decided to head back to Zhongshan Road for shopping and dinner. Amazingly, it was completely dark now after sunset. Xiamen had lit up nicely as we made our way towards Zhongshan Road Walking Street. We knew our way around now and the night air was pretty cooling so close to the sea. Just a few minutes later, we were at the junction of busy roads full of pedestrians in the lovely city of Xiamen. The colonial buildings here were very pretty at night under warm lights.

Not long after, we were walking on Zhongshan Road. It was just windows shopping for us. We would be having four days in Guangzhou for some real action after Xiamen so this evening was purely just a stroll to take in the sights and soak in the fun in this youthful and vibrant city. The lit up colonial buildings were very charming indeed. It was such a delight to stroll the streets here. A tall Christmas tree was also set up along the street, not the biggest and most impressive one but still an attraction to draw shoppers to this shopping belt to lighten their wallets.

Dinner at Zhonghua City Mall

Eventually, we entered the mall Zhonghua City. We were recommended to have dinner here by the staff over at Ibis Hotel along Zhongshan Road. We were told we would be spoilt for choice with the many restaurants there. First thing after entering the mall was to head up to the hotel there to make ourselves comfortable and freshen up again.

Next we surveyed many restaurants in the mall and then decided to have dinner at the SSJD Restaurant. Our dinner was a semi buffet steak dinner. We had to select a main course from the menu and then we helped ourselves with the soup, salads and drinks which included coffee and tea. Ice creams were available as well.

When our hotplate dinner came, we had to hold a napkin while the staff poured sauce over the piping hot plate resulting in quite a bit of smoke and splattering of oil over our dinner. We found the steak to be very good, so tender and easy to cut even though we requested our steaks to be well done. They were very tasty too, comparable to the set dinner we had at the Tasty Restaurant in Taiwan. So this evening, we had a great time over dinner chatting away enjoying our delicious dinner. In addition, we enjoyed great discounts as well.

Retire to Tegoo Hotel

It was then time to head back to Tegoo Hotel. We needed to prepare to depart for Guangzhou early the next morning. So we took a slow walk back to Tegoo Hotel. Once we reached the hotel, we went up to the café on the 27th floor to buy some bread for breakfast during our train ride the next morning. We then returned to our rooms to spend the rest of the evening watching TV and surfing the internet.

It was a really fun day over here in Xiamen Island. We didn’t expect the weather to be so good during winter. Xiamen is a charming city. My wife and I would return some day to explore more attractions around here as well as to enjoy the hotsprings at Riyuegu Hotsprings Resort. Perhaps we might be able to visit the famous Tulou the next time. So being very pleased with our visit to Xiamen, we retired with real shopping to begin the next day in Guangzhou.

Continue to Day 8

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