Xiamen, China: The Beach and Shuzhuang Gardens (& Piano Museum) in Gulangyu Island | Travel and Life-style Diaries


Xiamen is not a single of these “Bucket List” or “Tick-the-Box” kinds of travel location for non-Chinese vacationers. To be truthful, I am liking the thought that I have been right here since of this, hehe.

The Forty-4 Bridge facing the sea.

I am a rebel often. I go against the flow. I help the underdog. Like going to much less preferred towns and cities. Just attempt some thing distinct truly. It is refreshing in my opinion.

So I have been to 56 nations (and independent states) so far and I am just about reaching the ceiling of nations and locations I want to check out. I do not ambition even so to check out all nations but I want to travel to exclusive, exotic and off-the-beaten locations. Exactly where mass tourism hasn’t had a foot in the door.

Anyway, in Xiamen, I extremely advise going to Gulangyu Island. What a stunning location, with so considerably international history and architecture.

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In Xiamen, I climbed the Sunlight Rock which is a Buddhist temple, a man-created nature park and a lookout point.

Even though standing on the peak of the rock facing the south, I caught a glimpse of a stunning rocky seaside garden with a white bridge. I swiftly searched my Xiamen guide, a pamphlet with a map and names of the essential attractions on the island. I am searching for the garden on the beach. Trust me, there is a lot of attractions on this modest island!

And I located it! — Shuzhuang Gardens — Ah, my subsequent location for certain, that is if I am in a position to get down from this enormous rock I am standing on.

The Beach and Fish/Squid Balls

I just adore these fish/squid balls.

On my way to the garden, I can’t resist but snack on a stick of fish/squid balls that I occur to pass by.

These street meals deep fried balls remind me of my childhood. I adore shopping for them outdoors the college, just by the gate for the duration of recess or soon after the class. I can nevertheless recall them going at 10 cents each and every. When you only have a couple of pesos as college allowance, the 10 cents each and every value tag can be quite highly-priced. I adore dipping the fish/squid balls 1st in the hot chili vinegar, letting the spiciness and sourness hit the meat, and then I dip them into the sweet gravy sauce for the final oomph.

Writing this tends to make my mouth water currently.

Properly, the fish/squid ball vendor in Gulangyu did not have any accompanying vinegar or sauce. I am content material anyway to consume it devoid of. The memories are sufficient.

Street (beach) vendors promoting chilled coconut juice, drinks, and ice cream.

The beach on the southern element of the island was crowded!

It really is winter, so no one truly is swimming. But I just know that even if its summer time, no one is going to lay down in a bikini on a sunbed with a parasol. Asians are just not like this at all. It is not in their DNA to worship the sun. Certainly not the Chinese. I did not anticipate any one to be swimming anyway. The beach, even so, was busy, persons have been everywhere.

Individuals have been walking on the beach, some have been sitting with their bare feet on the sand, enjoying the balmy winter, the fresh air, and the view.

Some persons like digging their feet into the sand. It really is not my factor. I favor to put on slippers or my beach footwear.

The beach was effectively laid out, organised and clean.

Checking out the waters.

Shuzhuang Gardens

Immediately after enjoying the beach scenery for a bit, I walked to the villa garden, the Shuzhuang Gardens.

There is an entrance charge to get into the garden. It is a minimal charge, which is not comparable to what you can take away from this check out. There is a modest museum of antiquities housing an intriguing collection at the entrance. The museum is element of the charge currently. I went in but did not remain there extended.

Moi on the bridge promenade just outdoors the museum of antiquities.

Two of the intriguing things in the museum.

At the promenade outdoors of the museum, I could see the Sunlight Rock.

So I discovered that the gardens made use of to be a private villa of Lin Erija, a quite wealthy Chinese businessman whose loved ones came from the Fujian province in China, and who later migrated to Taiwan. Having said that, in the 1890s, Japan invaded Taiwan, and this prompted the Lin loved ones to leave Taiwan and return to Fujian.

Lin Erija constructed the villa right here on Gulangyu Island specifically the exact same as the villa he had in his hometown in Taiwan. The gardens, even so, have been mentioned to be added to the style. There are two (two) gardens and they are Canghai Garden (aka Hiding the Sea Garden) and Bushan Garden (aka Creating Up Hills Garden). Fundamentally, the a single facing the sea, and the other a single, the hills.

I should admit that I liked the Forty-4 Bridge since of its dramatic backdrop, the sea, and the rolling waves. It really is quite windy right here!

The gardens are effectively tended and are such a delight. I was truly glad that I created it right here. The rocky formations reminded me of Quinta da Regaleria’s gardens in Sintra, Portugal that I visited several moons ago. It was like a fantasy globe match for fairies, dragons, and elves. But this a single in Shuzhuang, let’s just say has some East Asian-Chinese flair to it.

The villa and the gardens are now the house of the state soon after the Lin loved ones donated it in 1955.

Can you spot the crowd?

The Forty-4 Bridge and the Sunlight Rock in the background.

It is quite windy right here!

Wonderful Chinese architecture such as pavilions and pagodas dot the garden. This corner right here is a preferred spot for persons to do selfies or take a group image.

Yup, I did have a selfie with my camera.

The Piano Museum

I was rather relieved to know that the entrance to the Piano Museum was currently incorporated in the ticket value of the gardens. You see, I am not massive in musical instruments, though I can appreciate a piano for its worth. But I would not shell out added cash to check out.

Pianos remind me as effectively of my childhood. I have discovered to play the piano, effectively, just a bit, as a kid but under no circumstances truly graduated from the “Old McDonald had a Farm, EIEIO” song, lol. Music is not in my veins but I can listen to it.

The piano collection right here at the Shuzhuang Gardens is quite impressive.

Wonderful vintage pianos.

The view to the beach and the reduce element of the gardens from the Piano Museum.

Just outdoors the museum, I spotted a bed of sunflowers. Right here is a different intriguing corner piano. Huh, it should really feel awkward playing it?

The Piano Museum is positioned on a high-level ground.

Catching views to the Forty-4 Bridge on the seaside.

The hidden garden with a koi pond and lots of intriguing corners and spaces everywhere.

This carved out rocky stone wall reminds me of Quinta da Regaleira in Sintra, Portugal.

Travel Period: December 2016
Location: Gulangyu Island, Xiamen (Fujian), China

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All photographs have been taken by a point and shoot pocket camera or a smartphone.


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