Home China Guide Xiamen Free Things to do in Xiamen

Free Things to do in Xiamen


Xiamen, also called Egret Island, is located in the south of Fujian Province. It is regarded as an international garden city. It is next to the Taiwan Strait and is several kilometers from the Golden Gate.

The famous Gulangyu Island is the "Garden on the Sea". The buildings on the island are perfectly preserved in the original styles of different countries. It is called the "World Architectural Museum". It is a paradise for music, whose piano density is the highest in China. 

To visit Xiamen, there is an entrance fee. If you have more time, here are some free places to visit.

Xiamen University

xiamen university

Xiamen University is the prettiest university in China.

It was founded by an overseas Chinese person named Tan Kah-kin from Malaysia. The architecture is quite spectacular, combining Eastern and Western styles, modern and traditional styles. It is described as "wearing a suit with a bamboo hat". There is a beautiful Lotus Lake on the campus, flanked by trees. If you visit at the right time, you will see all kinds of flowers in spring and red leaves in autumn.

Next to the university is the Nanputuo Temple, where you will see lots of pilgrims paying their homage.

Opening times for Siming Campus


12:00-14:00 (Limited to 700 visitors for Danan Gate and 300 for Qunxian Gate);

17:00-00:00(No limit on the number of visitors)

It opens normally on weekends, official holidays, summer holidays and winter holidays.

Entry Permit:Please bring your 2nd generation ID card or a valid passport for entry.

Entrance:Only Danan Gate and Qunxian Gate are available.

Location:422 Siming South Road, Siming District, Xiamen 厦门市思明区思明南路422号

Transportation:Bus 1, 20, 29, 47, 659, 959 or 520 can take you there.

Suggested visiting duration:0.5-1 day

Nanputuo Temple

south putuo temple

The Nanputuo Temple is the oldest Buddhist temple in south Fujian. It was built in the Tang Dynasty and is located at the foot of the Five Old Peaks in Xiamen Island, next to Xiamen University.  

There are three halls inside and every hall has a number of Buddhists.

Around the temple, there are lots of stone carvings. The big Buddha character on the cliff at the back of the temple is 4.7 meters high and 3.3 meters wide.

You will see many devoted pilgrims who are there to pay their homage. It can be very crowded on the 1st and 15th of each month of the Chinese lunar calendar.

On the premises you can see a couple of pools where turtles and tortoises are floating in the water or are sunbathing on a piece of wooden plank.

Opening times: 08:00-20:00

Suggested visiting duration: One hour

Location: 515 Siming South Road, Siming District, Xiamen. It is next to Xiamen University 厦门市思明区思明南路515号, 近厦门大学。

Transportation: Bus 1, 15, 21, 45, 841 or 959 can take you there.

Zhongshan Road Walking Street

zhongshanlu buxingjie

It is an excellent place to stroll around and sample local snacks.

The buildings along both sides of the street are beautiful and European looking. There are local brand name shops as well as independent sellers and small stalls. Off of the main street there are lots of food stalls selling tasty cheap snacks.

As a southern Chinese city along the coast, Xiamen gets a lot of rain. Most of the street has a large overhang so that you can walk along it without getting wet.

Location: Siming District, Xiamen 厦门思明区中山路

Transportation: Bus 56, 59, 54, 50, 18, 507 or 616 can take you there.

Bailuzhou Park

It is a good place for leisure and games and is located in the downtown area. Tall palm trees line the lakeside. You can see egrets flying freely, walking on the ground, or standing by the lakes.

There is a sculpture of the Egret Goddess. It is a good place to shoot photos. Visitors with children can feed the pigeons with bread in the square, fly kites on the lawn, or walk dogs. On holidays, when the fountains are on, you can enjoy the music show.

Haiwan Park

It is an inner city lake park; a good place to enjoy the sea and the wind. There are seven parks inside: the Sky Park, Earth Park, Wood Park, Grass Park, Water-flower Park, Seaside View Area and the Avenue of Stars.

The Avenue of Stars is the highlight. It is 300 meters long and 40 meters wide. There are 2,076 LED lights, controlled by a computer, which can change into different displays. The displays sometimes lead you to the sea, sometimes they change into the shape of waves, and sometimes into other styles.

When it comes to the big holidays, such as the National Day Holiday, the lights will be on every day, together with the fountain. There are a lot of outdoor bars for you to enjoy a relaxing evening.

The opening times for the lights and fountains

09:00-11:00, 15:00-17:00 and 19:00-21:00 during holidays.

Location: on the west side of Xidi, Hubin West Road, Siming District, Xiamen 海湾公园位于厦门市思明区湖滨西路西堤西侧

Transportation: Bus 4, 11, 22, 31, 43, 84, 88, 107, 135, 139, 655, 841, 853, 856, 858, 946 or 954 can take you there. 

Hongshan Park

It is an excellent place to get a bird's-eye view of Xiamen City and Gulangyu Island. 

Located on the Hongshan Mountain, its three sides are surrounded by the city and the other side is backed with mountains. The highest point is 125 meters which is higher than the Sunlight Rock on Gulangyu Island on the opposite side.

You can get an overview of Wanshi Mountain to the east, Gulangyu Island to the west, Dadan, Erdan and other islets to the south, and the whole of Xiamen City to the north.

The entrance of the park is a bit narrow. However, several meters after you enter and begin walking, you will see ponds, waterfalls, white pond lilies and narcissi. Walk along the stone stairs until you reach the highest point.

Location: 331 Siming South Road, Siming District, Xiamen 厦门思明区思明南路331号

Transportation: Bus 1, 2 or 21 can take you there.

Jimei Academy Village

It was built with the money endowed by an overseas Chinese person, Tan Kah-kin.

There is a meeting hall, library, gymnasium, music hall, swimming pool, dragon boat pond, hospital and navigation club.

The buildings combine Chinese and Western styles, typical of the south of Fujian. No matter whether there are tall dormitory buildings and halls, or exquisite pavilions, corridors or sheds, or whether they all have glazed roofs, dragon sculptured ridges and phoenix sculptured brims, none of them are the same.

It is quite popular with visitors to Xiamen.  

Location: in the south-east corner of Jimei District, Xiamen

Transportation: Bus 18, 51, 53, 54, 59, 66, 79, 201, 202, 507, 532, 534, 610, 616, 617, 618, 620, 621 or 625 can take you there.

Taiwan Food Street in Renhe Road

It is the first Taiwanese Food Street in mainland China. The 208 meters long street assembles all the famous local snacks from the Shilin Night Market in Taipei, the Fengjia Night Market in Taichung and the Liuhe Night Market in Kaohsiung.

Location: Renhe Road, Siming District, Xiamen 厦门市思明区人和路

Transportation: Bus 4, 11, 12, 23, 25, 30a, 30b, 21 or 32 can take you there. 

How to plan a Xiamen tour:

Usually it takes four days for an essence of Xiamen tour, including the time to enter and leave. The must-see spots are: Gulang Island, Hulishan Fortress, South Putuo Temple and Hongkeng Tulou Cluster.

Please see our essence of Xiamen tour here: http://www.chinahighlights.com/tour/xiamentour/xm-1/

Related Reading