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Xiamen is a coastal city in Fujian Province in China. It has been an important port for centuries and became one of China's earliest Special Economic Zones in 1980. The name Xiamen means "door to the house", referring to the city's centuries-old role as a gateway to China.

The most important tourist area is Gulangyu, a small island close to downtown which contains some beautiful colonial buildings. Cars, motorcycles and bicycles are banned, making the island both quieter and safer than almost anywhere else in China. Some of the highlights around Gulangyu are Statue of Koxinga, Sunlight Rock and The Aviary.

Gulangyu may be the main tourist area, but there is quite a lot on Xiamen Island as well. One is the area around Yundang Lake. The north side has a large group of restaurants and bars plus a rather pretty lakeside park area with a walkway right down by the water.

Another is the area around Xiamen University. This is Fujian's most prestigious university, the province's only "national key university" controlled by the central government in Beijing rather than by the provincial education department. Just outside the main university gate is the south end of Siming Road, generally referred to as Xiada Street. This is a lively area of shops, street stalls and restaurants.

Zhongshan Road Pedestrian Street runs inland off Lujiang Road (which runs along the coast) near the Gulangyu ferry terminal, through a historical part of the city. This is major shopping area with interesting smaller streets off it. Other major shopping streets in the area are Siming Road and Jukou Street.

Some of the famous local cuisine include Xiamen Glass Noodles, Xiamen Fish Balls and Xiamen Wonton soup. Two areas with many cheap local restaurants are around the university and the many smaller streets near Zhongshan Rd, inland from the ferry terminus.


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