Surpassingly beautiful, unexpectedly artful, and deeply reminiscent of Kulangsu’s golden era, the Yang Tao Hotel in Fuxing Castle is an island paradise, an oasis of serenity at the intersection of past and future.
The outdoor bar is gorgeous, and the restaurant, warmly lit and framed by graceful archways, is both cozy and elegant. It’s worth a visit in its own right for dinner.
The location is prime, and prices are very reasonable for the high quality. In back of the hotel, a glorious and strikingly designed roof garden overlooks the island.
Rooms are comfortable and well-appointed, with special design touches. Everywhere you turn, surprises await.
Address: Fuxing Lu 13, Gulangyu, Xiamen, Fujian, China
The American Seventh-day Adventist missionary B.L.Anderson came to Kulangsu in 1906. He bought a large tract of land in “Wugepai” to build a school and set up farms and dairies to provide work-study programs for students. Anderson used the profits from farms and dairies, and funds donated by Americans in the late 1920s, to buy land on Jishan road, where in 1934 he built a three-storey granite “Girls’ school”. In memory of Anderson, the building is also named “Anxian Hall”. Xiamen Music School was using it from 1990-1996.
Address:18 Jishan Road, Gulangyu Island, Siming District, Xiamen City, China
The best resource for English-language books on Kulangsu is this lovely, centrally located bookstore, where you can find a surprisingly diverse selection of Western reading material in English, as well as a vast array of beautifully designed Chinese-language printed matter.
But the highlight of the store is the space itself: a spectacularly restored early-20th-century mansion in classic Amoy style. The mansion is even more beautiful from the inside, and each progressive room seems more impressive than the last.
One one shelf in the ground floor, you’ll also find what is surely Kulangsu’s only collection of Taiwanese craft beers.
Address: 21 Zhonghua Road, Gulangyu Island, Siming District, Xiamen City, China
One of the most charming Western-Chinese fusion spots on Kulangsu, this garden restaurant, bar, and simple bed-and-breakfast draws inspiration from the friendly owner Roger’s time spent in New Zealand.
First and foremost on the menu–and totally unique on the island–is Kulangsu’s best version of fish and chips, crunchy and delicious, with a crunchy and well-seasoned batter. The kitchen’s tour de force, however, is a masterful seafood mixed grill served at the table over a fire.
Blessed Paradise also makes an excellent oyster omelette.
The rooms are clean, pleasant, and inexpensive, and the location is great.
Address: Quanzhou Lu 95, Gulangyu, Xiamen, Fujian, China
Kulangsu (Gulangyu)’s top tourist attraction and highlight, lording over the beautiful island. From atop Sunlight Rock, you can see the entire coastline and hilly landscape of the island as well as sweeping views of downtown Xiamen–and, on a clear day, even Taiwan’s Jinmen Island. An inexpensive ticket gets you into the park, where you can also see Sunlight Rock Temple.
Climbing up to the summit will take between 20 and 40 minutes, depending on your speed and the tourist traffic, but it’s not to be missed, even on a day trip to Kulangsu (Gulangyu) from Xiamen. Best is to go just before sunset, when the crowds thin, the daytime heat dissipates, and the lights start to twinkle across the bay. The view from Sunlight Rock gives the best perspective on why so many people call Kulangsu (Gulangyu) China’s own Mediterranean Island.
Address: 56-64 Huangyan Road, Gulangyu Island, Siming District, Xiamen City, China