Friday, September 01, 2017

Baicheng Beach Stroll in Xiamen, China

One of the places in Xiamen that I was very keen in visiting, is Zeng Cuo An village. I came across this during my due diligence research of Xiamen. I heard that there is a lively ‘street food scene’ there.

I have learned that the best way to get to Zeng Cuo An is by bus which drives along the main coastal road. The ride takes approximately 15 minutes from the central area of Siming District (Zhongshan pedestrian road area). Not bad at all but I have also read that there is a paved walking route along Baicheng beach that leads to the village, passing by the Hulishan Cannon Fort and several interesting monument spots.

Hmm, why not explore the (nature) surroundings a bit and walk to Zeng Cuo An? Strolling on the beach does sound like a great plan.

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

Buses in the city of Xiamen go for a flat rate of 1 CNY only. Does not matter which route and how long, as long as it is within the city zone. The buses look good and are air-conditioned.

Because time was not on my side, I made a compromise to take the bus for the initial part of the route. From my hotel on Ding’an alley, I walked the Zhongshang pedestrian stretch towards the coast on Lujiang Road. From here I took the bus going out of the city which will pass by Zeng Cuo An, and instead of getting off at the village, I got off halfway, just before reaching the Hulishan Cannon Fort. From here I took the beach walking route.

Here is the route:

I took the other route, not the dotted blue one as indicated on the map, but the one along the coast. 

I am very glad to have done this because not only I have seen interesting things and walked side by side with the locals and local tourists as well, I also badly needed some exercise time. During my travels, I try to, as much as I can, to take the public transport, such as the bus, tram, metro and the train. This gives me the total local immersion feel and experience, but for trips with time constraints, I do not take chances so the taxi or the rental car comes in handy. However, for short distances, my legs prefer to bring me to the destination =)

On the day of the walk, the weather did a bit of a slight turn. It was not a sunny blue skies day but rather gray and low key. It was just the beginning of winter in Xiamen, which seemed to me more like a normal grayish summer day in the Netherlands. Everyone was wearing light coats and thicker cardigans, except me. Maybe I should have because it was a bit windy on the shore.

The coastal walking route is quite touristy, albeit touristy in the sense that many locals and local tourists take this route. There are directional signboards and the route is paved with elevated boardwalks on Baicheng beach and cemented embankments, there were foot bridges over the water and rocky outcroppings as well. Along the route, one can stop for a drink or snack at some of the beachside eating places but there are also many independent beach vendors roaming around selling very interesting food options and wares.

One can rent e-bikes here as well and follow the biking route along the coast which goes partly through the walking beach route.

The whole set-up is very organised and modern, which obviously I wasn’t really expecting. It is a scene of a prosperous city giving back to its citizens the opportunity and needed space to reconnect with nature and enjoy the outdoors. Xiamen I realised (after this trip) to be a very green and laid back city offering a wide variety of outdoor leisure and relaxation for families. The city, I have read, ranked very high in ‘livability’ in China.

I decided not to visit the Hulishan Cannon Fort, but did pass on its fortified embankment and just after the fort I saw a row of modern townhouse-like villas lining the shore. They look very nice and well-kept; I am sure they are not cheap.

Apart from the usual leg-powered bicycles, they (even) have mini e-motorbikes for rent as well. Xiamen is one of the early adaptors of e-bikes in China. Petroleum powered motorbikes/scooters are banned in the city.

Xiamen's twin towers (Xiamen Shimao Cross-strait Plaza) in the distance.

Too eager to chase pictures of locals and local tourists having their grand time on the beach (read: selfies everywhere), I managed to soil my canvas shoes with seawater and sand from the beach. I did not realise that I, too, got chased, but by the waters!

Everyone is the same I guess. No matter what sex, race, nationality, etcetera, a person has, he or she, rather they, all just want to take selfies of themselves. Our generation today have become very much self-absorbed. We all have been I guess, and the only difference now is that we have the tools to exploit this self-love trait.

Anyway, my soiled shoes were the last thing I was worried about. I had fun checking out the locals and local tourists. Moreover, I was very much looking forward to a late afternoon walking lunch in Zeng Cuo An village.

When I finally arrived, the scene before me beckoned my appetite, which has been put into suspense with the walking activity. My dear stomach twitched with excitement as if in response to the glimpse of the lively food vendor scene I caught. #foodiescanrelate

Wait for my next Xiamen post!

Lots of beach vendors here on Baicheng beach.

The modern villas on the beach.

The selfie stick is everywhere, but you will never find one in my hand, and not in my bag!

I was quite surprised to see a good number of people (I think they were mostly locals and not local tourists) hanging out on the beach.

Now, these are for sure tourists who have rented bikes.

Locals patiently fishing, while some are hanging out together playing cards as street food vendors look over and tourists are doing their selfie thing.

The bridge connecting Zeng Cuo An to Baicheng beach (and walking board route).

Travel Period: November 2016
Destination: Xiamen (Fujian), China

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Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)

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

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