Xiamen

This article is about the island of Xiamen. For suburban areas not on the island, see Southern Coast (Fujian).
Xiamen skyline, seen from Gulangyu

Xiamen (厦门; Xiàmén) is a coastal city in Fujian Province in China. It has been an important port for centuries and became one of China's earliest Special Economic Zones in 1980. The name Xiamen means "door to the house", referring to the city's centuries-old role as a gateway to China.

Xiamen is a very vibrant, affluent and modern place, though by Chinese standards it is a small city — only 1.9 million in the city itself and 3.6 million counting suburbs. It has many non-Chinese residents and a range of restaurants, bars and stores that cater to them. It also has several universities and some areas popular for tourism.

The most important tourist area is Gulangyu, a small island close to downtown which contains some beautiful colonial buildings and is car free.

Understand

Like many other Asian cities, Xiamen is a fascinating mixture of old and new. Buildings range from ancient temples to modern skyscrapers, roads from narrow alleys to multi-lane boulevards and highways, and industries from handicrafts to hi-tech.

Orientation

Administrative districts

The core of the city is on Xiamen island. The term "Xiamen" is somewhat ambiguous since it can refer to the island, to the city on it, or to the whole urban area ("prefecture-level city") including suburbs not on the island. This article covers Xiamen Island; the others areas have their own articles, linked below.

On the map, Xiamen Island is the pink (Huli District) and green (Siming District) approximately circular area near the bottom. It is about 13 km (8 miles) in diameter. Gulangyu is the green dot next to the larger island. Much of both islands is heavily built up, but both also have quite a lot of parkland and plenty of trees and flowers; this is a bustling modern city with distinct overtones of tropical paradise. Also, the terrain is hilly and quite a few hills are still covered with forest.

The areas on the mainland that are administratively part of Xiamen are Haicang in yellow, Jimei in blue, Tong'an in dark green and Xiang'an in orange. A few decades back these were largely rural areas, but all now have populations of several hundred thousand and are growing quickly; the city is expanding beyond the island. Xiamen Island is connected to Jimei by several bridges (road, rail and rapid transit), to Haicang by one bridge, and to Xiang'an by a tunnel.

The main train station, long-distance bus stations, and ferry terminals are all on Xiamen Island, though there are less important stations in other areas. The airport is also on the island, up on the north side. The bus rapid transit system (BRT) has one line running east-west across the island and another that runs north, crosses a bridge and then forks to run through parts of Jimei and Tong'an. Other districts do not (yet?) have BRT service. See Get around below for more on BRT including a link to a map.

Most of the historic buildings and much of the new commercial and business core of town are in the area of Xiamen Island opposite Gulangyu, though newer development has spread out a long way east and north from there. Major streets in the old central area include Lujiang Road along the coast, Siming Road parallel to it and a bit inland, and Zhongshan Road which is a pedestrians-only shopping street perpendicular to the other two. The university is on the coast at the southern end of that downtown area.

A long and rather pretty ring road, Huándǎo Lù (X401 on the map), runs from the university along the east coast all the way to the airport on the north edge of the island; there are popular beaches along it. A large new International Conference Center with its own hotel is just off this road, about halfway up the coast.

Somewhat north of downtown on the west side of the island, there is a long, narrow lake running east-west near the map's pink-green border. Its name can be romanised as either Yundang Lake or Yuandang Lake; we use Yundang here because it is closer to the sound in Chinese, but both forms are in widespread use.

Major roads run parallel to the lake shore and a bit inland on all four sides, all with names that say which side of the lake they are on. The area around Hubin Beilu (Lakeside North Street) has several high-end hotels (the Marco Polo is a landmark), quite a few expat residents, and many restaurants and bars. Along the lake are mainly upmarket places, while the back streets have more modest establishments. Around Hubin Nanlu (Lakeside South Street) are shopping, offices and a major long-distance bus station.

Xiahe Lu, south of Hubin Nanlu and roughly parallel to it, is one of the main streets of the newer part of the city; it has many banks, hotels and offices, several of the larger shopping centers, and the train station. The east-west BRT line runs along it.

Bridge between Haicang (left, West) and Xiamen Island.

West of the lake, between it and the seashore, is Haiwan Park which has a half-dozen bars/restaurants right on the seashore, all with large patios overlooking the water. Like the ones on the lake, these mostly offer Western food and are popular with Xiamen's large expatriate community.

Xiamen's container port, located on the west side of town north of the lake, is among the twenty busiest on Earth. From the main road up the west side of the island, you can look out over hundreds of stacked containers and some enormous cranes for moving them. In the photo of Haicang Bridge on the right, some red cranes are visible.

Climate

Xiamen is just one degree north of the Tropic of Cancer. The climate is subtropical, warm year round; even in the coldest winter months (January and February), the average nightly low is 10 °C (50 °F). Frost is extremely rare and the last time it snowed was a freak storm in 1893.

It does get hot in summer; in July and August, average daily high and low are 32 and 25 °C (~ 90 and 77 °F), and it is often humid as well. There is a fair bit of rain; average is 1350 mm (~ 53 inches) a year. October to January are the driest months.

Xiamen has cleaner air than many Chinese cities; it is right on the sea, there is not much heavy industry and almost no domestic heating with coal, and the city government is generally strict about pollution since it might drive away investment. Xiamen got an international award in a contest for most livable and environmentally aware cities in 2002; neighboring Quanzhou won the following year.

There is a risk of typhoons, mainly July to September, but Xiamen is partly sheltered from them. Typhoons come in off the Pacific; most of them cross Taiwan before reaching Xiamen, use up much of their power smashing up Taiwan, and are significantly less nasty by the time they hit Xiamen.

Overall, the climate is usually very pleasant year round.

History

The region has been inhabited since prehistoric times and Xiamen Island is mentioned in Han Dynasty records around the time of Christ. There has been a town in the area at least since the Song Dynasty, a thousand years ago. For most of that time, it was administratively a district of Quanzhou, which was historically the richest and most important city in Fujian. In the past couple of centuries, however, Xiamen has grown a great deal; now it is administered separately and is much more than just an appendage of Quanzhou.

Until 1842, the Chinese Empire allowed Western "barbarians" to trade only in Guangzhou (then known as Canton), and only under strict controls. After China lost the First Opium War, Britain took Hong Kong and China was forced to open five Treaty Ports — Canton, Xiamen (then known as Amoy), Fuzhou, Ningbo and Shanghai — to foreign trade, and to eliminate some of their restrictions. Trade boomed and these port cities developed very quickly.

Gulangyu

In Xiamen, the island Gulangyu became a foreign enclave with consulates and luxurious homes. Today it is a quiet area (no cars or motorcycles), five minutes by ferry from downtown, and remarkably scenic.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Fujian was a focus of missionary activity and there are many historic churches in the region. China's oldest Protestant church, the Xinjie Church, is in downtown Xiamen near the Ximing Road & Zhongshan Road intersection.

Some of the history of the China trade is darker; key commodities were tea, silk and ceramics plus "pigs and poison" — indentured labourers and opium. Some labourers were very badly treated, almost slaves, and opium caused major problems in China. Xiamen had its share of the dark side as well as the more positive side; one company there was prosecuted by the British for kidnapping potential workers.

Many overseas Chinese around the world can trace their ancestry to Fujian, often to the Minnan-speaking region around Xiamen. In particular, much of the Chinese immigration to Southeast Asia and the Philippines has been from Fujian, as was nearly all immigration to Taiwan before 1949. Some overseas Chinese maintain connections to the "old country", especially Xiamen. Tan Kah Kee, after making his fortune in Malay rubber, started Xiamen University, an Overseas Chinese Museum nearby, and a technical college in neighboring Jimei. The Filipino chain store SM first entered the Chinese market with a store in Xiamen, the company founder's birthplace. Overseas Chinese often visit the region, some donate to various good causes in the area, and Xiamen university has many overseas Chinese students, including a large contingent from Indonesia.

In the 1970s, Xiamen was one of the first cities to become a Special Economic Zone to encourage development and open mainland China to the outside world; like other SEZs it has been booming ever since. Technically, only Xiamen Island and Gulyangyu are in the SEZ, but the whole region is flourishing. Xiamen has more Taiwan investment than any other mainland city, partly because Taiwanese is a dialect of Minnan (Southern Min), the local language of southern Fujian. There is also a major influx of other foreign investment; among the foreign companies with large factories in Xiamen are Lifetime Products, Dell and Kodak.

Xiamen also has five large industrial development zones set up for various types of development, two in Haicang and one each in Jimei, Xiang'an and on Xiamen Island. Details on Wikipedia.

Get in

By plane

Xiamen Airlines 737 at Xiamen Airport

  Xiamen Gaoqi International Airport (XMN). The airport is on Xiamen island and conveniently close to downtown, ¥30-40 and 20 minutes by taxi. It is among the dozen busiest airports in China by several different measures — passengers, freight volume or number of flights — though its exact position on the list is different for each measure and may change from year to year.

Xiamen Airlines use XMN as their hub. They have connections all over China, international flights to many Asian destinations, and a few beyond Asia such as Amsterdam and Sydney. Most other Chinese airlines also fly to Xiamen and there are connections to almost any major Chinese city.

Probably the most common way to fly into Xiamen from overseas is to connect through Hong Kong. Flying via Guangzhou or Shanghai is also common; both are major international hubs, have good connections to Xiamen, and are reasonably nearby. Shanghai, however, generally requires a somewhat inconvenient change of airports; most international flights come in to Pudong Airport but domestic routes use Hongqiao Airport, on the other side of the city. Connecting via Beijing is also possible, but Beijing is a long way from Xiamen.

Direct international flights to Xiamen are becoming more common, and may offer better options for many fliers.

From Southeast Asia, there are flights direct to Xiamen from Singapore, Kuala Lumpur. Jakarta or Bangkok. See Discount airlines in Asia.

From North America, there are no direct flights to Xiamen, but several two-hop possibilities. Korean Air have a Seoul-Xiamen flight. They sometimes offer good discounts, and the Seoul Airport is very user-friendly, with free Internet and nice free lounges with couches to stretch out on. Japan Airlines flights via Tokyo and Osaka, China Airlines via Taipei, Philippine Airlines via Manila or Cebu Pacific via Cebu and Manila are other possible choices.

KLM now offers direct flights between Amsterdam and Xiamen, creating the first direct intercontinental link for Xiamen. Flights are scheduled three times per week: Amsterdam-Xiamen on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and Xiamen-Amsterdam on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.

Buses from the airport include #18 to Xiamen University and #27 to the harbour, both with stops at the train station. #37 just goes to the train station, #41 to the SM Mall area, 91 to the Exhibition Center. #105 goes north into the suburbs, to Tong'an via Jimei.

By train

Position in Fujian Province

Xiamen is well connected to China's high-speed rail network; it is on a major line that runs along the South China coast from just across the border from Hong Kong all the way to Shanghai. From Xiamen, the routes are:

Another high-speed line goes inland from Putian (north of Xiamen on the Fujian coast) to Nanchang in Jiangxi (an inland province West of Fujian). Xiamen-Nanchang time is about five hours.

There is also service on regular trains from Xiamen to various destinations in Fujian and to major cities throughout China's interior. It is inexpensive, but slow (e.g., about 20 hours to Wuhan) since the railroads travel a circuitous route through mountains.

By bus

By ferry

A boat service operates to and from Kinmen, which is under Taiwan control, hourly 8:30AM-7PM every day. Tickets cost NT$750 from Kinmen and ¥160 from Xiamen.

There are actually two different ferry terminals in Xiamen. One is called Dongdu (东渡/厦门国际邮轮中心) on the west side of the island near the Marco Polo and Pan Pacific Hotels. The other is called Wutong (五通客运码头) in the northeastern corner of the island near the Xiang'an Tunnel.

Wutong is definitely the better choice because the boat ride is only about 30 minutes, and there seems to be fewer tour groups moving through this port. If you get seasick (and the waters can be rough in this area) this choice is obvious. The boat ride from Dongdu is about 55 minutes in normal weather. The only advantage this port could have is that if you are on the west side of Xiamen (where the downtown is), and want to save the ¥40 taxi ride to the other side.

Note however that there is only one port (Shuitou) on Kinmen island for mainland-bound boats, and the boat times alternate. So if you are doing a visa run and want to minimize your time in Kinmen, you can leave Xiamen from one port, and return to the other.

Get around

BRT on bus-only elevated roads

The local bus system is very good, but the normal bus routes are listed in Chinese and do not have English on them.

The BRT is Bus Rapid Transit on elevated bus-only roads; as of early 2013 there are about 50 km (30 miles) of line and 40 stations, The BRT is very fast and comfortable and does have signs in English, but of course it does not go everywhere. Fare depends on distance, usually ¥1-¥4 per person. For more, see general info and map.

Taxis are cheap, starting at ¥8 (plus ¥3 fuel tax – so ¥11) for the first 3 kilometers. After the first 3 km, the meter charge will go up based on distance. Note that although the meter may read with a decimal, most taxi drivers will round up. On the other hand, as anywhere in China, tipping is not expected.

During the day time, you should be able to get anywhere on Xiamen island, including the airport, for under ¥40. But be wary that some taxi drivers might take advantage of you if they know that you are not a local and might take the longer route to your destination. For example, if the driver says "Huándǎo Lù" after you tell him where you want to go, say bù (no), because that is the ring road that circles the entire island and although it is scenic, it is likely the most expensive way to go.

Bicycle lane along a Xiamen street

There is a frequent ferry service to/from Gulangyu. Non-Xiamen residents have to take the ferry from Dongdu Wharf, accessible via taxi or bus #51. Tickets are ¥35 for the trip to Gulangyu, and ¥18 for the trip back to Xiamen; the ferry ride takes about 20 minutes.

To go around by bicycle is a great way to explore Xiamen, except Gulangyu where bikes are forbidden. Try the Island Ring Road (Huándǎo Lù) which has an extra path for bicycles along much of its length. Start at Xiamen University Beach and go up until the International Exhibition Center. There are various rental stations on the Huándǎo Road, starting at ¥30 per day. Enjoy the sunshine while cruising next to the sea. If you leave the bicycle path, be cautious about the traffic.

Motorcycles are forbidden everywhere on Xiamen Island and enforcement is quite strict in the central areas (e.g. Yundang Lake, Zhongshan Road, etc.). In other areas, enforcement is more relaxed and some people do ride, but this risks a fine or even police seizure of the bike. Motorcycles are allowed in the mainland suburbs (Jimei, Tong'an, Haicang or Xiang'an), but see Driving in China for some cautions.

Talk

The local language has several names; in Mandarin, it is Minnan Hua, South Fujian speech. The same language, with local variations, is spoken in nearby Quanzhou and Zhangzhou and in the surrounding countryside. It is also widespread in Southeast Asia where it is called Hokkien (the Minnan word for Fujian) and in Taiwan where it is called Taiwanese. All these variants are mutually intelligible and the Xiamen version is the standard, so Xiamen is an excellent place to learn Minnan. Minnan is not mutually intelligible with Mandarin, Cantonese or even with other Min (Fujian) dialects. Some of the older English names for places in the region — such as Amoy for Xiamen and Quemoy for Kinmen — and even some other English vocabulary, such as the word "tea", come from Minnan.

As anywhere in China Mandarin is almost universally spoken, at least by educated people, since it has been the only language used in education, government and most media since the 1950s. Also, like other prosperous coastal cities, Xiamen has many migrants from other parts of China, most of whom speak Mandarin but not Minnan.

Foreigners staying in Xiamen long term generally choose to learn Mandarin instead of (occasionally, as well as) Minnan because Mandarin is so much more broadly useful. Go a hundred miles from Xiamen in any direction, except across the Taiwan Strait, and no-one will speak Minnan; the local language will be something completely different. Go anywhere in China, though, and most people you meet will speak Mandarin.

English is not widely spoken. You can expect reasonable-to-excellent English from staff in higher end hotels, tourist shops, and the many restaurants and bars that cater to expatriates. Elsewhere the range is likely to be none-to-limited, with the occasional exception. This is a Chinese-speaking city with some English facilities, not somewhere like Amsterdam or even Hong Kong where an English-only traveller can expect to cope quite easily.

You can survive and have a good time in Xiamen speaking only English more easily than in most Chinese cities, but there will be difficulties. You will need some help from Chinese friends or hotel staff — things like writing down a destination in Chinese or giving directions by cell phone — because the cab drivers generally have no English. English is OK for high-end restaurants, but if you want to eat more cheaply or more adventurously then you need to learn some Chinese or bring along a translator.

Learning some Mandarin opens up most of the city to you. The only areas where knowing some Minnan, or bringing along a local guide, are likely to be essential is if you want to get out into the countryside, shop in a farmers' market, or buy from fishermen at the docks.

See

Xiamen has a few large clumps of interesting stuff to see. Gulangyu may be the main tourist area, but there is quite a lot on Xiamen Island as well, and some out in the suburbs.

North of the lake

Looking northwest across the lake from Bailuzhou Park

One is the area around Yundang Lake. The north side has a large group of restaurants and bars (see below) plus a rather pretty lakeside park area with a walkway right down by the water. Around dawn and dusk, you can watch the egrets (symbol of Xiamen, used as the logo for Xiamen Airlines) flying to and from the lake.

At night, there is a bit of a light show; many buildings (especially around the south side of the lake) have laser or LED displays that attract attention, sort of an advertisement by commercial buildings and some residential complexes to draw attention to their business. This sort of thing is fairly common in Chinese cities, but Xiamen has more of it than most others. It is best seen from the north side, augmented by reflections in the lake; consider ensconcing yourself in a lakeside bar and imbibing as you watch.

Around the university

Xiamen University

Another is the area around Xiamen University. In Chinese, it is 厦门大学, Xiàmén dàxué, usually abbreviated to Xiada. This is Fujian's most prestigious university, the province's only "national key university" controlled by the central government in Beijing rather than by the provincial education department.

To get there, take a twenty-minute walk south from the Zhongshan Road and Gulangyu ferry area, along either Lujiang Road or Siming Road, jump in a taxi or take a bus. Buses that go to the main gate include #1, 15, 18, 21, 29, 71 and 82. #2 or 22 go to other parts of the university.

The university has a beautiful campus with old traditional buildings, extensive gardens and a small lake. Among the attractions are a small but interesting Anthropological Museum (straight ahead and a bit to the right from the main gate) and a large bookstore with quite a few high-grade Chinese art books and (by Chinese standards) a fine selection of English books. Entrance via the main gate may be restricted on busy holidays; use one of the three smaller gates which are across from Baicheng beach.

Nanputuo Temple

Just outside the main university gate is the south end of Siming Road, generally referred to as Xiada Street. This is a lively area of shops, street stalls and restaurants; it is only perhaps 150 m long, but packs a lot into that space, plus a few smaller streets running off it. There is also a large bookstore here, not quite as good as the university store for art books, but better for CDs and DVDs. Because this area caters to the student market, it tends to have a lot of fairly cheap stuff. You need to bargain to get good prices. Few of the vendors speak English, but there are sometimes helpful English-speaking students about.

Beach and boardwalk

From the university to Hulishan Fortress is about five km (three miles) of boardwalk along the beach; it runs parallel to the Huandao Lu ring road. Plans call for it to eventually extend all the way to the Conference Center, roughly doubling its current length. Along it are bicycle rental places, many food stalls and restaurants, and various other attractions:

Hulishan, 19th century fortifications
The Hulishan Fortress was built in 1894 as part of China's Westernization Movement. The architecture is in a Qing Dynasty style. On the front of the platform there are “Wanggui platform” and “Pangui platform”, from which you can see the Dadan and Xiaodan islands through a telescope. In the yard of the cannon platform there is a gorgeous wall sculpture named “the Soul of the Nation” and a water fountain. ¥25.

Other sites

There are few other sites outside these main areas:

Do

Dragon sculpture, Zhongshan Park

Trade fairs

Xiamen has two large trade fairs annually. The China Xiamen Machinery and Electronics Exhibition (CXMEE), also called the Straits Fair since it is run as a joint venture with a Taiwan organisation, is downtown (on Hubin Bei Lu) in the Spring, and the China International Fair for Investment and Trade (CIFIT) takes place at the Conference Center on the Huangdao Lu ring road in the Fall. These are not as large or important as the Canton Fair, but they are still major events with thousands of exhibitors and tens of thousands of visitors.

These fairs are generally scheduled so that a business visitor can go to one of Xiamen's fairs and the Canton Fair in a single trip. For example, the 2013 CXMEE runs April 12–15 and the Spring Canton Fair April 15-May 5.

The annual China International Garden and Flower Exposition takes place in a different city each year, Beijing in 2013. It was in Xiamen in 2007, and a large Water Garden Expo Park was built to host it (details at Jimei#See); presumably it will return there every few years.

There is an annual Xiamen International Stone Fair at the Conference Center in the spring.

Buy

Zhongshan Road

Zhongshan Road Pedestrian Street (中山路步行街) runs inland off Lujiang Road (which runs along the coast) near the Gulangyu ferry terminal, through a historical part of the city. This is major shopping area with interesting smaller streets off it. The opening time is generally from 9AM to 10PM The buildings along Zhongshan Road combine a European architecture style with Chinese.

Other major shopping streets in the area are Siming Road and Jukou Street. The area also has many smaller streets with shopping; most are off to the left as you come up Zhongshan Road from the sea.

As you come along Zhongshan from the sea, you can look for a set of stairs going off to your right a short way along; these lead to a smaller parallel street with many little shops and street vendors. From the inland end of that (Siming Road), turn left to get back to Zhongshan Road at the inland end of the pedestrian area.

Xiamen University Street is actually half a street because the other side is part of Nanputuo Temple. Hundreds of shops line the street which is only a few hundred meters. Most of these shops sell garments and cultural things, and the book stores are also worth a look. Since they cater to students, these stores are often more reasonably priced than other areas, but some haggling may be needed to get the best prices.

There is also much tourist-oriented shopping on Gulangyu.

Xiamen has a number of modern enclosed shopping malls or large standalone chain stores. Here are some of the main ones:

Most of these sell everything from fresh vegetables to clothing and LCD TV's.

Eat

Xiamen Local Foods:

Budget food areas

Two areas with many cheap local restaurants are around the university and the many smaller streets near Zhongshan Rd, inland from the ferry terminus.

There is an old restaurant on the east end of Zhongshan Rd (intersection of Xinhua Rd) which serves the local dish ShaChaMian, noodles with peanut soup.

Gulangyu also has much cheap food, though prices there are higher than Xiamen.

Around the lake

The area from the north side of Yundang Lake over to Haiwan Park has a large number of bars, cafes and restaurants. Most are mid-to-high priced, though there are exceptions. Many are popular with Xiamen's large community of expatriates.

There is a whole strip of about twenty cafes and bars along the lake on Xidi Coffee Street (西堤咖啡一条街) running West from the Marco Polo Hotel. Most of them are in villa-style homes converted to cafes with patios or balconies with a view of the lake; these are upmarket establishments whose clients include tourists and expats, but are mainly well-off locals. The parking area along the lake always has many BMWs, Audis and SUVs, and often a Ferrari or two.

Lacquer plate decorated with gold

Most of these serve Western food, but many have Chinese dishes as well and there are some with other specialties. The area also has some stores, also mostly upmarket, selling things like ceramics and laquerwork.

On the side streets off the lake are more places, some of them more modest in decor and pricing.

Inland of the lake, behind a KFC, at 27 Hubin Bei Lu (Lakeside North Street) is a cluster of shops called Haiwan Xincheng. It has several other places:

Haiwan Park

Haiwan Park (Haiwan Gongyuan in Chinese), just west of the lake, also has a number of places:

The park has a lot of other stuff as well, including a lot of flowerbeds and lawns, popular with picnicking locals, an amusement park with several rides, several swimming pools, a roller skate and skateboard area, and a number of discos and nightclubs (see next section).

The Avenue of the Stars in the park is 300 m long by 40 wide and has over 2000 LEDs in the pavement which do computer-controlled light shows. A musical fountain down its center has 240 water nozzles, also computer-controlled.

Buses 11, 22, 31, 43, 54, 66, 71,102, 504, 520, 533, 625, 803, 808 and 810 stop just outside the park at the Haiwan Gongyuan stop. From the westernmost stop on the BRT, it is a ten-minute walk north along the seacoast to reach the south end of the park. From the area around the Marco Polo, a ten-minute walk west on Hubin Bei Lu puts you at the north end of the park.

Around the university

University main gate

Xiada Street, between the university main gate and Nanputou Temple, has many restaurants. These mainly cater to the student trade, so they tend to be relatively plain but to offer good value. Neither English menus nor English-speaking staff are common.

Along the boardwalk by the beach, from near the university out toward Hulishan Fortress, are many more restaurants and food stalls.

Other areas

There are also restaurants and bars at various other locations around town.

Drink

As everywhere in China, there are many tea houses in Xiamen and many KTVs (the 'K' is for Karaoke); both are quite popular with locals. See China#Drink for background information.

Xiamen also has many bars and discos in a more-or-less western style; these are generally more affordable than comparable places in Shanghai or Beijing. Although crowded, these places are generally safe. Some caution is required, however, since pickpockets sometimes take advantage of the crowding and drunken customers sometimes get combative.

Also, most of the major hotels have live music from Filipino cover bands in their bars.

Alternative and cheaper nightlife can be found in Zengcuo An, formerly a separate village now a neighborhood near Xiamen University. Here you find a lot of cheap pubs, open-air BBQ´s and casual gatherings of students and other young people who enjoy the sunset and mild Xiamen nights over a drink.

That area also has many hotels, mostly small and moderately priced.

Accommodation

This lists accommodation on Xiamen Island only. Staying in Jimei instead might save a little money and could be reasonably convenient if you choose a place near a BRT stop. There is also plenty of accommodation on Gulangyu.

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Connect

There are consulates in Xiamen for:

Some news stories have indicated that the US is considering opening a consulate in Xiamen, but as of February 2013 no such announcement has been made. Staff from the Guangzhou consulate do visit Xiamen to provide services to Americans there.

Cope

In addition to the supermarkets listed under buy above, Xiamen has a number of smaller stores catering to expat residents.

Go next

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