After spending a day and a half exploring Kinmen Island, we took a ferry back to Xiamen. From there, our goal was to head to the island of Gulang Yu (鼓浪嶼 “Drum Wave Islet”) for a few days. This turned out to be far more difficult than we had anticipated.
While not a famous destination internationally, Gulang Yu is quite popular among Chinese tourists, attracting 10 million annually. Because of this, only the locals are allowed to take the short ferry directly to the island’s main port. It wasn’t clear how we tourists could get there, though. We ended up joining a mini tour, which included a round trip ferry ticket. Three hours, two ferries, and four passport checks later, we – along with two hundred of our best Chinese friends – spilled onto Gulang Yu.
At the turn of the twentieth century, Gulang Yu was one of two foreign concessions in China (the other being Shanghai). Because of this, the island is full of European-style mansions and churches. It also has a piano museum and a calligraphic wood carving museum (my personal favorite attraction). Cars and bicycles are banned on the island, so the tourists get to walk around and take it all in.
Though Gulangyu was difficult to reach, especially given its proximity to Xiamen Island, it was still worth the journey. Here are a few of my photos from the island:
The old American consulate.
A popular activity here is to pose in front of street signs.
Katie in front of a street sign.
A sign for a noodle shop.
The island’s main temple.
An old graveyard.
My favorite place on the island was the calligraphic carving museum.
The walkway through Shuzhuang Garden.
The arch bridge.
Katie is in one of the eight caves.
One of the temples.
Sunset is over an industrial area.