Saturday, December 08, 2018

Last Hours on Gulangyu Island: Mansions, Market, Seafood Peanut Soup Dinner and Xiamen Skyline


Seafood soup with peanut base for dinner at a street-side stall.


The skyline view of Siming District at night from Gulangyu Island.

I realised that with my pace of travelling, which is I stop and look and smell the flowers, 1 day on Gulangyu Island is not enough to visit all the sights of interest. There were more places I wanted to see but the sunset was fast approaching.

This blog post will mostly be pictures of my last few hours on the island. I highly recommend hopping the boat over from Siming to here if visiting Xiamen. The island is so rich in history and it's a beautiful place.

[To read the rest of the post and see more pictures, click the READ MORE link below]

Let me show you what I saw and did on my last few hours on Gulangyu.

Little did I know that when I go back to the mainland, I will be evicted from my historical mansion hotel by the Chinese police! It wasn't really that scary because the Chinese police were nice to me. The hotel didn't have the proper permit to lodge foreigners so I need to move to a different hotel. The whole story is here: Chinese Police Threw Me Out of the 100-Year Old Chinese Mansion Hotel in Xiamen

Mansions and Daily Scenes

Here are some of the Gulangyu Island scenes I captured:


This is a  massive tree that fell sideways. It is not dead! It is still living and growing, or so it seems with the branches and green leaves. The local council seemed to have left it that way by letting it blend with daily life on the street and the buildings. Quite cool actually.


Bronze street art of children playing football. 


Many of the beautiful things to see in Gulangyu Island are the European-style mansions. While there are still many mansions that are left in ruins and badly needed care, there is a good number that has been rehabilitated and is open to the public.

I wasn't really planning on checking the interior of these mansions, but I was curious to see its architecture from the outside. Many are in bricks which reminds me of the buildings here in the Netherlands. I saw a couple that has been transformed into commercial establishments such as special souvenir shops, boutique hotels, cafes, and restaurants.

Such as this one below. A lovely old mansion converted into a cafe with a garden courtyard.


A nice and quiet garden cafe but when you step out to the street, a throng of tourists await.


One of the beautiful rehabilitated mansions. Most of the information written was in Chinese so I didn't really get the details of the function of the mansions.


I love how these ladies are dressed.


This is a beautiful souvenir and cultural shop selling local handicrafts and artisan tea and organic products for the home and personal use.


While checking out the lovely architecture around me, I grabbed some fried shrimp tempura for snacks. That's some hot sauce, yum!


Mansions converted into hotels, restaurants, and shops.


Well, guess what? I found the "Long Time No See Bar"! LOL (I hope you get the joke)

The Wet Market 
For fresh produce, meat, and fish.


At the local wet market selling fresh produce, meat and lots of fish! In China, the wet markets are open in the evening. Business as usual.


There's a variety of shellfishes and crustaceans available, which is something I never see in the Netherlands. This reminds me of the wet markets in Spain.


Are these stingrays? If they are, I have eaten them in Singapore. Myrhh and SisterJ ordered a stingray dish, they said it was the trendy dish in town at that time. Well, this was some 2-3 years ago.


Literally selling fish on the streets.


Seafood Peanut Soup for Dinner

Very near to the wet market is this street with food vendors. Some of the vendors have their own mini stalls attached to the building, while others had their own mobile cart parked on the street.

I was getting hungry and didn't have the intention to dine in a restaurant. I want to blend with the crowd and try the street food game here. On this street, I found my choice of dinner. I have been hunkering for some hot soup so I settled for a bowl of seafood with a peanut butter-like base. It was very different from the soups I have tried. The peanut base I learned is a local cuisine which I have never expected to be anything but Chinese.


This lady sauteeing some thin glass noodles, another Xiamen delicacy was really tempting me. I was sitting across her that's why.


This is how I ordered my soup. I am just glad there are pictures! The numbers are the prices so that's an easy one. I ordered the second from the left by just pointing to the picture, hehe.


Here it is! The peanut-base soup was quite heavy, and although I ate all that's in it, I had to leave some of the soup and noodles (they were thick too).


Sitting on a small table on the street across the food stall I ordered the soup.

Shopping and More Street Food Scene

For a small island, there's some serious shopping scene here at Gulangyu.

On top of that, the street food scene is also explosive. I posted about Longtou Road (Dragon Head Road) where one can find amazing local street food on offer.


Shops everywhere selling cheap and expensive stuff.


The street food game here in the evening with the tiny tables and chairs/stools. This is very similar to the street food scene in Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City.


Delicious pork buns. Chinese people seem to be eating the whole time. I can relate, Filipinos too, or shall I say, Asians in general.


Bars, Promenade and Xiamen Evening Skyline

After the soup dinner, I headed to the promenade. I have seen the bars and cafes here earlier in the day and I thought they would be a good place to sit down for a cup of coffee or some drink while watching the stunning lighted panorama skyline of Xiamen.

It would be a good place to while away a bit while waiting for my boat back to Siming.

The coffee was the most expensive drink I had in Xiamen, costing almost 100 CNY (almost 12 Euros) for a cup of coffee! Well, it was served in a beautiful porcelain cup and saucer and there was a one-man band act playing.


This venue was elegant with good music but the tables and seats on the promenade side were all taken. I want a table where I have a good view of the Siming, Xiamen skyline.


I found this cafe with a live single playing band. He was singing some Chinese music and all I cared about really was the view. The lights and colours of the buildings across reflected the waters. Beautiful!


He was a one-man band act that evening.


I have to say that this was the most expensive thing I had the whole day. This coffee was darn expensive. For sure I paid for the entertainment.


Passing the stand where I bought some snacks earlier in the day.


The promenade and the view to Siming District of Xiamen.

Boat Ride Back to Siming

The ferry has a regular schedule. Gulangyu Island has several ferry terminals but I think they close the others and leave the central one open, the San Qiu Tian ferry terminal, that has the fastest sail time to the mainland.

The ride was rather quick. Before I knew it we were back in Siming and I was on my way back to the mansion hotel where I received my biggest surprise for this trip!


San Qiu Tian terminal is the central terminal that has the quickest sail time.


I am one of the last ones to board the ferry now.


Waiting for the ferry to dock on the mainland.

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

Keep in touch and follow me on Facebook: Travel & Lifestyle Diaries by Jo Travels
Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)

All pictures were taken by a point and shoot pocket camera or a smartphone.

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