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Gulangyu Island Weekend Getaway - 3 days/ 2 nights

 

 


Gulangyu is a car-free island off the coast of Xiamen in Fujian province, southern China. It about 2 square kilometres in area. The island is home to about 20,000 people and it is a famous domestic tourism destination. Visitors can reach Gulangyu by ferry from Xiamen Island in about 5 minutes. The Island is renowned for its colonial architecture, winding lanes and beaches.

Xiamen, was known as Amoy in colonial times, and Gulangyu Island came to be known as “Piano Island” because the Chinese were fascinated by the tinkling sound of pianos emanating from the windows of the foreigners villas. The island, with its narrow winding pathways between the old mansions, is still associated with pianos and music and many of China’s foremost musicians come from Gulanyu Island. Gulangyu boasts of the highest ownership of Piano per capita in China.

An indication of this musical heritage is illustrated by the fact that almost daily, there  are free concerts offered in the islands town hall.

Gulangyu Island looks out to the Taiwan Strait and borders Quanzhou to the north and Zhangzhou to the south. Quanzhou retains much maritime historical interest for visitors. The city was established in 718 during the Tang Dynasty and was, at that time, China’s greatest seaport. Quanzhou also has interesting connections with Marco Polo who not only visited but sailed from the city.

Gulangyu Island is on China's register of National Scenic Spots and ranks at the top of the list of the ten most-scenic areas in Fujian Province.

 

ITINERARY

 

 

Day 1          Friday

 

Depart Hong Kong by air, arrive Xiamen, There are numerous departures and the flight takes only 1 hour 10 mins.

 

Met on arrival and transfer to the pier in the centre of the city.

 

 

 

Depending on your time of arrival, you might like to take your evening meal at either the open air terrace or the enclosed dining room of a hotel which overlooks the busy harbour and the lights of Gulangyu Island.

 

 

 

Gulangyu Island is a mere 500 meters, as the crow flies, across the harbor from downtown Xiamen. It is a 10 minute ferry ride and costs close to nothing unless you sit upstairs. Here a ticket lady will collect your return fare to the island. It’s about 4 RMB per person.

 

 

 

A short walk, or buggy ride, will have you at your comfortable accommodation. There are accommodations of various standards from four star to basic inns. Concorde Travel will be pleased to advise you regarding these.

 

 

 

Day 2          Saturday

 

 

 

At leisure on Gulangyu. Spend some time strolling the narrow streets and lanes of the island and enjoy the amazing old Victorian architecture left behind by the island’s fascinating colonial past. In 1902 when Gulangyu became a foreign concession, Britain, the United States, France, Germany, Japan, Spain, Denmark and six other foreign countries, set up consulates and built villas on the island.

 

 

 

Sunlight Rock : Located in the south-central part of the island, Sunlight Rock is the island's highest point with an altitude of 92.7 meters (304 feet). Though it may not rank with high mountain peaks, it appears quite grand when seen from afar. The name comes from a sun-shaped formation in the granite. When the sun rises, the morning light illuminates the granite inSunlightTemple and the rocks are bathed with sunlight.

 

 

 

Shuzhuang Garden :-

 

First built in 1931 on the south side of the island,ShuzhuangGardenwas once a private villa. It became a garden park, open to the public, in 1955. It is divided into two parts-theGardenofHidingthe Sea (Canghaiyuan) and the Garden of Making-Up Hills (Bushanyuan). It was carefully designed to embody three important characteristics in gardening - hiding elements, borrowing from one's surroundings and combining movements. 

 

The principle of hiding elements is embodied in the way the ocean remains hidden from view, even if you walk right up to the garden gate. However, once you emerge from the bamboo forest, the seascape leaps into view. Climb the Tower of Tide-Viewing for a fine view of the sea. 

 

Borrowing from one's surroundings refers to cleverly using naturally available scenery. Using the original slopes facing the sea, the reefs in the bay and the shape of the shoreline, the former garden owner built bridges and pavilions at various levels. The panorama changes from a small bay to a vast ocean as you ascend. Here, visitors can taste the spray of the surging waves and get a bird's-eye view of other charming islands. Both Sunlight Rock and Hero Hill (Yingxiongshan) are also visible. 

 

The garden possesses another characteristic - the combining of movements. Its unique arrangement joins a rockwork that includes a maze of connected caves with fine pavilions on the side of the slope. Children chasing and gamboling among the caves represent movement and activity, while people resting in the pavilions give a feeling of tranquility and harmonious contemplation.

 

 

 

Piano Museum: The museum, covering an area of 450 square meters, has 30 famous-brand pianos from Britain, France, Austria, America and Australia. They are all over 100 years old. All the pianos were collected by Hu Youyi, who was born in Gulangyu and now lives in Australia. According to an agreement between Hu and the Gulangyu district government, the pianos will be on show for 10 years in the museum and will then be donated to the local government of Gulangyu.

 

 

 

Day 3          Sunday

 

Another day at leisure.

 

 

 

You might like to enjoy a sightseeing tour of some of the highlights the city of Xiamen, on the way to the airport? These can include Xiamen’s Botanical Garden, the Tang Dynasty Nanputuo Buddhist Temple and the Xiamen University with its beautiful campus containing old traditional buildings and a tranquil lake. If interested and energetic, you can follow a footpath from behind the Nanputuo Temple, up to a rocky outcrop for a fine view of the surroundings. From Xiamen one can enjoy a view of the Kinmen group of islands which are under Taiwanese control, but are only a few kilometers away.

 

It is also possible to find your way down the other side to the Wanshi Botanical Gardens, where you can find a redwood tree brought here by former US President Nixon on his official visit to China in September, 1985.

 

 

 

Transfer to the airport

 

Depart Xiamen by air

 

Arrive Hong Kong

 

 

 

Note: Consider a more leisurely stay in Xiamen and include some additional sightseeing. There is Quanzhou, mentioned above, and other nearby places of interest including the famous Fujian Tulous, a type of Chinese rural dwelling, usually a large, enclosed and fortified earth building, most commonly rectangular or circular in configuration, with very thick, load-bearing rammed earth walls. The buildings are between three and five stories high and house up to 80 families.

 

 

 

The cost of this package can include the air travel Hong Kong / Xiamen / Hong Kong, meet and greet arrival and departure transfers, accommodation of your choice and private car sightseeing with an English speaking guide.

 

 

 

Contact Ash at Concorde Travel for further information and assistance.