Gulangyu Island is a small island located in the southwest corner of Xiamen, with an area of only 1.78 square kilometers, known as the “sea garden” reputation. The music scene on Gulangyu Island is so ingrained that its name literally means “island of the waves”. It is said that the sound of waves lapping against the reef sounds like the thunder of a large drum, so both in name and actual island vibe, Gulangyu gives the impression that it is an island full of natural music. It is surrounded by the sea on all sides, with beautiful scenery. It is also a unique “walking island” in China, where the air is fresh and there is no hustle and bustle of cars and horses, but you can hear the piano playing from time to time. Many of the island’s residents love the piano and violin, and many of China’s famous musicians were born here, hence the nicknames “Qin Island” and “Island of Music”.
The history of Gulangyu Island
After the First Opium War (1839-1842), China signed a famous unequal treaty – the Treaty of Nanking – with Britain, France, Japan and 10 other countries. Under this treaty, Xiamen was designated as one of five seaports open to the public. In 1903, Gulangyu Island was designated an international diplomatic colony, allowing members of 13 treaty countries to settle, build houses, start their own businesses, and control the island’s administration.
During this period, many colonial-style mansions, churches and hospitals began to appear on the island, and are the only few such buildings in China. In addition to these uniquely stylized and charming Western buildings, the island’s colonists brought their favorite Western instruments and many competitive sports. That’s why Gulangyu Island has become the piano island it is today.
Introduction of Main Scenic Spots
Located in the south-central part of Gulangyu Island, Sunlight Roch is the highest peak in this area, 92.68 meters above the sea level. It gets its name from the sun-shaped appearance in granite. As the sun rises, the morning light shines on this beautiful piece of granite, creating a spectacular picture. On the top of the rock, there is a round terrace, where you can get a panoramic view of Xiamen. In this area, there are such places of interest as the Lotus Nunnery and Memorial Hall to Zheng Chenggong. The Zheng Cheng Kung Memorial Hall is at the foot of Sunshine Rock, built to commemorate Zheng’s achievements in expelling the Dutch colonists and recovering Taiwan. A stroll down the steep stone paths reveals deep inscriptions left by many poets, the oldest of which can date back over 400 years.
The garden was originally the private villa of a famous local gentleman. The owner of the garden named the garden after his name “Shusang”.
It was built in 1931. It is located at the foot of the sunlit rock, facing the sea, with the sea view resort to the east and the backwater baths to the west.
The garden consists of two parts: the Canghai (Hiding the Sea) and the Busan (Adding Supplement to the Mountain). The main building, the “Forty-four Bridges”, is built along the sea. Walking on the bridge at high tide makes one feel as if one is walking on the waves. The garden is elegantly designed, yet magnificent.
How to get to the Gulangyu Island
From October 20, 2014, visitors to Gulangyu Island can purchase tickets on the Xiamen ferry company’s Internet ticketing system. The ferry company reminds visitors that it is best to purchase tickets online to avoid the pain of queuing up for tickets on site and not being able to buy tickets to delay their trip!
Visitor ticketing method: On-site / online ticketing
On-site ticketing: Tickets can only be purchased on the same day at the Home Inn Xiamen Dongdu Cruise Center Xiagu Wharf and Songyu Wharf. Therefore, the Xiamen City Ferry Company reminds visitors that it is best to purchase tickets online in advance in case they cannot buy them upon arrival.
Online Ticketing: You can log on to the online ticketing system of Xiamen City Ferry Company and the online ticketing service is available from 5:30~24:00 daily.
Round trip tickets are not sold on the same day and can be purchased 15 days in advance. In addition, travel agents are also open to purchase tickets online, which can be purchased 20 days in advance.
Tickets available to visitors online include three routes.
Dongdu Cruise Center Xiagu Wharf ←→ San Qiu Tian Wharf:
ordinary ferry, round trip fare of 35 yuan/person, the journey takes about 20 minutes.
Dongdu Cruise Center Xiagu Wharf ←→ Neicuo’ao Wharf:
Luxury ferry, round-trip fare of 50 yuan/person, the voyage is about 20 minutes.
Songyu Wharf – ←→ Neicuo’ao Wharf: This line runs 2 times per hour, round trip fare is 30 RMB/person.