Thursday, November 29, 2018

Climbing the Sunlight Rock in Gulangyu Island, Xiamen (China)


The highest peak of Gulangyu Island is the Sunlight Rock.


The Sunlight Rock (aka Ri Guang Yan 日光岩) is a Buddhist Temple built on Gulangyu Island (Xiamen) during the Ming dynasty circa the early 1500s. The temple worships Guanyin, the goddess of mercy.

The boulder lookout point has 2 huge rocks and when I climbed on top of it I was rewarded with sweeping panoramic views of Xiamen downtown (Siming district) and the coastline stretch, the red rooftops of Gulangyu Island and even caught a glimpse of the Kinmen Islands.

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


I guess you can say that all roads go to the Sunlight Rock on Gulangyu Island, these are the stairs going to the Buddhist temple entrance.


Moi at the gate.

The Sunlight Rock is the highest peak on Gulangyu Island and is the major site of interest that tourists and local visitors visit. It is also a Buddhist temple with a natural (man-made) park in it. One of my goals on this trip was to climb the rock and see Xiamen's panorama and the outlying Kinmen islands governed by Taiwan.

I had written about my journey from Xiamen (Siming District) to Gulangyu Island here: In Just Less than an Hour on Gulangyu Island

So as I climbed the Sunlight Rock, I saw many red epigraphic inscriptions written in Chinese characters on the massive rocks. The oldest carving is said to be about 400 years old on a rock near the main gate of the Buddhist temple. Scholars and famous people have left their own inscriptions on the rocks as well which have created a special cultural influence for this place. Perhaps one of the reasons why this place is very popular among the local Chinese tourists.

I actually found the climb to the top therapeutic, similar to experiencing being in a somewhat zen state, although I must admit quite differently. The touristic crowds were not to be missed, of course, which I realised were everywhere in Xiamen anyway. The climb was a healthy exercise contributing to the adrenalin and mindfulness. Upon reaching the top you get to see the views that will put you on a reflective mood.

More Gulangyu reading here: Gulangyu Island (Wikitravel)

The tourists on the island were I think approximately 95% Chinese coming from different regions in the country. China does not really depend on the outside world for tourism, it has more than a billion residents (2017 figures: 1.3 billion)!

There is also a popular local saying here for visitors: If you haven’t climbed the Sunlight Rock, you haven’t been to Xiamen.

Well, I am glad to know that I really have been officially to Xiamen!

The rest of the pictures below:


The Sunlight Rock temple.


Beautiful architectural details of the pagoda roofs.


Yours truly here...


There were several temples in the courtyard.


Painting maintenance going on with some of the paneled doors.


The many inscriptions on the massive boulders as you climb to the top.


Views of Gulangyu Island.


Moi with my souvenir photo of the inscriptions.


There were many nooks and crannies to take your picture from.


I made it to the top of the rock.


The views to Xiamen coast and Siming.


View down to the red-orange roofs of the Gulangyu mansions and houses and the Siming District of Xiamen.


Travel Period: December 2016
Destination: Gulangyu, 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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