Transit passengers from 53 countries including the US, Canada and all members of the EU can spend up to 144 hours in Xiamen and the province of Fujian without a visa. This visa-free policy allow foreigners from these 53 countries with visas and plane tickets to a third country to transit through Xiamen for a visa-free stay of up to 144 hours in Fujian province.
Fujian, with a short name "Min," is a province on the southeastern coast of China, and faces Taiwan across the Taiwan Straits. With mountainous land, sea, and various folk cultures, the province boasts lots of highlights waiting for you to experience and discover. The below provides a suggested itinerary for a three-day trip.
Day One: Earthen Dwellings
Fujian province's earthen buildings were included as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008.
They are a type of civil residence unique to China and well recognized for its long history, distinctive style, grand size, exquisite structure, complete functions and rich decorative items.
Yongding, to the northwest of Xiamen, is famous for its grand earthen dwellings. You can start your trip with Hongkeng village's earthen buildings.Earthen Building in Fujian province. [Photo/VCG]
Zhencheng Building, the village's most representative one, was built in 1912 and is renowned for its Europe-style interior decoration and ingenious space design.
You can find the design style of Suzhou gardens and ancient Greek architectures here.
Fuyu and Rusheng buildings can not be missed for its unique architecture and its blend of China's ancient and modern life with its stone bridges, running streams, paddy fields, liquor stores, and wifi converging.
After touring all the above buildings in Hongkeng, you can visit the local Earthen Building Museum to get further understanding of the spectacular architecture.
The above journey would take you all morning and so it's time for you to taste local delicacies: salted duck, stuffed tofu, and bamboo-tube-cooked rice and you can find them at any local restaurant.
In the afternoon, you can head for Gaobei village for other earthen buildings by taking a shuttle bus.
Earthen Building in Fujian province. [Photo/VCG]
At the end of a pedestrian street beside Gaobei Tourist Center stands a grand building dubbed Chengqi – King of earthen buildings, boasting a history of more than 300 years. The building appeared in China's first set of Chinese Residence stamps representing Fujian dwellings.
You can take your time to visit its each room and pry into the life of ancient Chinese people.
The pedestrian street is lined with other earthen buildings, such as Shize, Wuyun and Qiaofu. Photos shot at every angle of these buildings will take your breath away.
Day Two: Gulangyu Island
After spending the first day of the trip away from Xiamen, you can spend the other two days in this beautiful coastal city. First of all, you definitely cannot miss the city's Gulangyu Island.
With the exception of the occasional tourist trolley, the tiny island, with just 4,000 households, is completely free of cars and bikes.
From the world's largest piano museum to peaceful 19th-century European mansions, knobby banyan trees and cobbled alleyways, Gulangyu offers a unique journey through China's past.
Gulangyu Island. [Photo/VCG]
The hilly island seems to be all cobbled alleys and pretty gardens -- that is, until you climb up the Sunlight Rock. The golden mound is the highest point on the island, offering views of the island's red rooftops.
Climbing down from Sunlight Rock, you can visit Shuzhuang Garden. Dating back to 1913, the green oasis was once a private estate. Now it's a seaside park, featuring dramatic Chinese-style pavilions, over-water walkways and colorful painted columns.
The garden is also home to Gulangyu's famous Piano Museum, which gives you a glimpse at pianos through history. Admiring these antique instruments while listening to their beautiful sound is quite an experience, with a piano performance being staged at a fixed time every day.
Shuzhuang Garden. [Photo/fjta.com]
It would be a pity for visitors to miss the local cuisines on the island. The tropical seaside surroundings may give you a hint as to what's for lunch and dinner. The island's specialty dishes all involve fresh seafood and fruit and here are the several delicacies you should have a try: oyster omelet, Ye Family's maci, dried oyster porridge and tusun jelly.
If you can spare more time in the day, wandering around the car-free island is a real enjoyable break from the bustle of life.
Day Three: Downtown tour
On the last day, make sure to take your time to enjoy Xiamen's beautiful scenery.
You can rent a shared bike to cycle around Huandao Road. Lined with wooden trestles, a beachfront and forests, the road is regarded as China's most beautiful marathon circuit.
Don't you worry about the scorching sun because the coconut forest keeps you shaded while a cool sea breeze will keep your spirit up.
Huandao Road. [Photo/xmnn.cn]
After your ride, make sure to refresh yourself with a cup of coffee will give you refreshment. Coffee Street beside Yuandang Lake, not far from the Huandao Road, is ideal for your next destination.
All the cafes on the street are transformed from villa residences where you can drink a cup of coffee and eat delicious dishes while watching crowds of tourists passing by your window.
In the afternoon, you can visit Zengcuoan, the most artistic fishing village in China. Unlike Gulangyu Island, Zengcuoan is free from the noise of tourists. What makes the fishing village stand out are its special homestays, romantic cafes, quiet bars, cute shops, restaurants, and the most importantly, those energetic young artists pursuing their creative dreams here.
From the traditional red-bricked houses and the Southeast Asia styled buildings, you can find the cultural heritage of over