Gulangyu Island covers an area of 1.78 square kilometers and stands opposite to Xiamen City across the sea. It is a quiet pedestrian only island where you can walk around and enjoy the food and the old foreign buildings. With beautiful sceneries, Gulangyu Island is accredited as "garden on the sea", "architecture exhibition of ten thousand nations", "hometown of music" and "island of piano".
It is quite small and is across from the ferry terminal on Xiamen Island near Xiamen University. There is a piano museum you can visit. The whole island is full of natural scenic spots and its main scenic spots include the Crag of Sunlight, Garden of Beans (Shuzhuang Huayuan) and Bright Moon Garden (Haoyueyuan).
A good day tour of the area would be to see the sites of Xiamen University and Hulishan Fortress and then take the short ferry trip across to the island and enjoy the scenery and have dinner there.
The Crag of Sunlight scenic area is composed of the Crag of Sunlight and Qin Garden. A rock with a diameter of over 40 meters stands high up in the air on the summit of the Crag of Sunlight, which becomes a symbol of Xiamen. When Zheng Chenggong, a national hero, resumed Taiwan, he once stationed his troops there, which left many exciting stories.
With rocks and stones of strange shapes, natural stone caves, rubbing cliffs, verdant trees, and fragrant flowers, the scenic area give off a subtropical and romantic flavor. It has many scenic spots, such as "a piece of tile", "dragon's cave at the Egret River", "Ancient Cave of Summer Resort (Gubishu Dong)", "Dragon's Head Hill Relics", "Platform for Training Sailors (Shuicao Tai)", "one-hundred meter high platform". Generations of learners inscribed many chants in the stones, which add extraordinary charm and ancient flavor to the famed rock. Tourists can climb up the ladders to the summit so as to have a bird's-eye view of the whole landscape of Xiamen and Gulangyu Islands as well as Dadan and Xiaodan islands.
Qin Garden is connected to the Crag of Sunlight through cable cars. It centers on modern entertainment projects, including "Aviary Garden", "Cinema"and "Hero Garden", which form a combination of dynamic and static, modern and ancient together with the natural landscape of the Crag of Sunlight. The scenic area places emphasis on the environmental protection.
Standing as high as 92.7 meters above the sea level, the One-hundred Meter High Platform is the highest peak of the Crag of Sunlight. Together with the round platform, it is called the One-hundred Meter High Platform. Bathing in breezes, listening to waves, and looking far into the distance where water and sky are in one color, you will have a joyous sense of carefree comfort and blend into the graceful and harmonious world heart and soul.
"Ancient Cave of Summer Resort (Gubishu Dong)" is a cave with great features. Stone walls on both sides support the vast granite rock that drops down out of the sky. It is rather dangerously steep and gives you a sense of overwhelming force. The four characters "Gubishu Dong" is inscribed by Taiwanese learner Shi Shijie of the late Qing Dynasty. The cave is bright, dry, and cool with good ventilation. Passing through the cave and then turning left, you will see a pavilion named Umbrella Pavilion. Holding up thin waist bones and taking rock as the verandah, it is for tourists to shelter from sunlight and rain. On the top of the rock nearby there is a stone basin for spirits to washing feet, which is filled with water all year around and there are footprints beside it.
In fact, spirit's footprints and the feet-washing basin are sea-deposition landforms eroded by waves. During the remote geological ages, they were still subject to the erosion of waves. Later these landforms appeared on the top of mountain due to the rise of crust.
Xiamen Underwater Sea World is the novelist large-scale aquarium for sea and freshwater animals. Especially the presently largest column type fish bowl in our country and the scene of a school of fish surrounding and chasing diving feeders for food can toss off the Romantic blockbusters. It boasts over 10,000 sea and freshwater fishes of over 350 species from all continents and oceans in the world. It covers an area of 17.5 hectares with a total building area of 7500 square meters. The underwater sea world has novel facilities and modernized equipment, of which the most outstanding facility is the underwater glass tunnel. The tunnel is 80 meters long, 1.5 meters wide. Enter the underwater tunnel and stand on the electromotive walking path, you can see large concave fish bonds on both sides.
It mainly boasts distinctive tropical and subtropical fishes, which come from oceans all over the world. There are 20 large and small fish ponds with a total water body of 4000 tons. The dominant fishes are sea animals, including titanic sharks, giant lithosporics, coral fishes, cleaner fish, sea dragon, sea horses, man-eating crabs, Australian lobsters, the representative of echinoderms-starfishes, octopuses, rock fish, balloonfish, lionfish, turtles.
Xiamen underwater sea world has two kinds of penguins, namely Peruvian penguin and Adelie Penguin, which origin from Peru. The Penguin Encounter opened up here is the first one at home. Freshwater fish are exotic, including Spotted eels, Chinese suckers, Sturgeons, Siberian buso sturgeons, sawfish, salmon, Amazon piranhas, common seals, Indo- pacific hump-backed dolphin, man-eating fish, map fish, etc. Spotted eels have a cylinder shaped body, cloud shaped figures and black dapples. They are more than 2 meters long and weigh 30-50 kilograms.
In March 11th, 2000, a dead sperm whale appeared in the Xiamen waters. It is the largest sperm whale in our country up to date with a whole length of 18.6 meters and a weight of 46 tons. Xiamen underwater sea world accepted this titanic whale according to concerned national regulations and procedures and made it into two specimens of skin and bones.
The dolphin house comprises watching pond, show pond, rest pond and dolphin residence. Watching windows are installed for tourists to have up-close watch of dolphin in the sea. There are dolphins and sea lions giving performance every day. Tourists can enjoy their excellent performance. They can also show affection toward them, hand-feed and touch them, and take photos with them.
Shuzhuang Garden is exquisitely designed to reproduce the scene of Banqiao private villa with the characteristic of gardens on the Yangtze Delta. It creates infinite space by using a plot of slopes and take in all the sceneries that can be seen around the garden.
The Garden, originally a Taiwan businessman's private villa, became a garden park open to the public since the 1950s. There are 10 scenes in the garden, including Longevity Hall, Autumn Pavilion, Zhenshuai Pavilion, Forty-four Bridge, Zhaoliang Pavilion, Hard Stone House, Twelve-cave Paradise, Love My Own House, Tide-Viewing Tower and Little Orchid Pavilion. It has a good many sights, of which the most characteristic ones are:
the ocean remains hidden from view even if you walk right up to the garden gate and enter it. The view was interrupted by a high wall. When you look back by chance, a plaque of "Cang Hai (Hiding Elements)" hanging high up on the inner side of garden gate comes into the view, and then you will burst upon the implication of hiding elements. However, once you get out through the Moon Cave Gate, the seascape leaps into view. By means of this device, first hiding and then revealing, wonderful results will be achieved.
Taking advantage of the original slopes facing the sea, the reefs in the bay and the shape of the shoreline, the former garden owner built bridges and pavilions at various levels. He transformed a small bay to a seaside garden with a broad view and hierarchies by cleverly using naturally available scenery.
Shuzhuang Garden has many newly built facilities in recent years and its size has also been expanded. Especially the wave-listening pavilion is transformed into a "piano museum", displaying 30 famous and ancient pianos collected for a lifetime by Hu Youyi who is from Gulangyu living in Australia. Among them are the Steinway & sons piano made in America during the upper half of the 19th century, the Bosendorfer piano from Austria, the royal piano exclusively used by German royal, the gold-plating piano, which is the treasure unprecedented in the history, the earliest quadrilateral piano in the world, the largest upright piano, the oldest hand roll piano, the pedal player piano, the eight-pedal four-string piano, which demonstrates the production techniques and development level of pianos in the world over the past hundred years. That is unique in China. The piano museum makes Gulangyu Island deserve the name of Piano Island and adds extra charm to it.
Bright Moon Garden is located on the seashore of Dingfu Rock in the east of Gulangyu Island, covering 30,000 square meters. It is spread out on the seashore of Lujiang and decorated with seashore beach, rocks, green trees and pavilions. Built in 1985, the garden is named "Bright Moon Garden" from a famous poem. In the garden stands the giant bronze statue of Zheng Chenggong and his subordinates, which is 13.7 meters long, 4.7 meters high and consumes 18 tons of bronze. Apart from the statues of Zheng Chenggong and his subordinates standing beside him, such as Chen Ze, Chen Guang, Chen Yonghua and Yang Chaodong, which are slightly larger than real body, the other military forces extend towards both sides, which are broad in map sheet and catch one's eyes. The more outstanding one in the garden is the giant granite statue of Zhengchenggong. Completed in August 27th, 1985, it is 15.7 meters in height and 1617 tons in weight. Full of power, it is exquisitely sculpted from 23 layers, 625 pieces of Quanzhou white granites.
A set of large-sized bronze relieves in the garden vividly reproducing the historic scene of Zheng Chenggong commanding an army to sail east in order to drive the Dutch out of Taiwan and resume Sovereignty of Taiwan. Bright Moon Garden centers on sculptures with buildings unique to the Ming Dynasty. Blue glazed roof tiles combined with stone gates, stele, stone steps, stone railings and stone paths, form a beautiful picture with blue sky, beach, waves, trees and giant rocks, accentuating an elegant and splendid environment.
The other scenic spots in the Gulangyu scenic area are Liu Garden, Qin Garden, Gulangyu music hall, Xiamen museum, Gulang caves, architecture exhibition of ten-thousand nations, etc.