As convenient and fun as traveling with a tour group was, it did occasionally have a few down sides. One of those was a last minute change from a second sleeper train to a bullet train. Initially it sounded great – not having to endure another sleeper train – however in the end I would have preferred it to spending a whole day traveling between Wuyishan and Xiamen.
By the time we eventually arrived in the seaside city of Xiamen it was late afternoon, but we decided to head out an explore the main attraction of Gulangyu Island. We caught a ferry across the harbour, which provided some nice views of the town.
The island itself was quite busy, being a tourist destination for domestic travelers. There are no cars on the island, making it quite peaceful to meander around the winding streets on foot. Tacky tourist knick knacks, fresh fruit and seafood were the main offerings.
Our group split up, some deciding to try out the beach, while myself and three others wandered around the shopping area looking for food. It seemed that had every conceivable type of seafood battered, whacked on a stick, and deep fried! Mildy terrifying, but apparently incredibly popular!
Getting back to the hotel that night was an absolute disaster! Our attempts to wave down a taxi at the ferry terminal were futile – they either completely ignored us or told us no with no reason. Desperate, we walked into a little hostel and communicated with the lovely owners through a translator app. They were nice enough to organise a private taxi (kind of like Uber, I think) to take us back. An adventure for sure!
We had until 11 the next day to explore, but I took it easy and did some clothes shopping (I desperately needed socks!), as well as walking around a nearby park. The humidity was awful though, and I ended up heading back to the hotel to change out of my sweat drenched clothes!
Even though Xiamen isn’t much of a tourist destination, I wish we had of had the day to explore the city instead of traveling. Apparently the university and botanical gardens are worth a look. And maybe I would have tried out some deep fried squid!