With a lush mountainous interior and a narrow but fertile coastal zone fronted by the Taiwan Strait, Fujian offers travelers a wonderful diversity of experiences, from the historic ports of Xiamen, Fuzhou and Quanzhou, to the rugged natural splendor of Wuyi Shan, to the fortress-like Hakka tulou dwellings in villages like Chengqi and Zhencheng Luo. And, while the charms of Fujian are many, tourists are scarce compared to the rest of eastern China, making it a prime destination for those looking to get off the beaten path.
Fujian's capital, Fuzhou, is flush with Taiwanese investment and boasts a rapidly developing modern veneer behind which you'll find evidence of the ancient port that Marco Polo judged "a veritable marvel," most notably the Yu Shan Scenic Area's White Pagoda and Fuzhou city walls, the Black Pagoda, and relics housed in the Fujian Provincial Museum, among other Fuzhou attractions.
Down the coast from Fuzhou lies Xiamen, one of China's most comfortable cities, where the beach is just a walk or a bus ride away, delicious seafood dishes famed throughout China are to be had, and ocean breezes waft through charming streets. Once known as Amoy, it possesses a wealth of colonial architecture dating from the days of Portuguese, French, British and Dutch settlement when it was one of the few Chinese ports open to foreigners. The unique island of Gulang Yu, just offshore from central Xiamen, features a particularly outsanding collection of old colonial buildings, both ramshackle and restored, as well as many of the best Xiamen hotels.
Inland to the west, near the border with Guangdong, visitors can visit the Hakka heartland, with a number of traditional villages within easy reach of the city of Yongding. Featuring unique rammed-earth buildings that rise like fortified apartment buildings, ancient Hakka towns are remarkable sites of living history where tulou dating back centuries are still in use today.
Heading northwest toward the Jiangxi border, Fujian's sparsely populated mountains give rise to the spectacular destination of Wuyi Shan, where sharp volcanic rock peaks jut above twisting rivers amidst lush foliage, giving way in areas to distinctive red sandstone formations. Nine Twists River boat tours are a particularly pleasant way to take in the region's phenomenal landscape.
Tea is a Fujian specialty, with an impressive variety of leaves growing in the province, from top oolongs to Wuyi black teas to fragrant Fujian jasmine. In fact, the English word for "tea" comes from the ancient Fujianese language known as Min Nan. And while tea thrives in the interior, the coast is renowned for its seafood, the basis of Fujian cuisine, one of the eight great Chinese culinary traditions.
Gulangyu (Gǔlàngyǔ, 鼓浪屿), literally "Drum Wave Islet," is located several hundred meters off Xiamen's southwestern tip and was the city's pre-World War II foreign..
Like most temples of its kind in China, Nanputuo Temple (Nánpǔtuó Sì, 南普陀寺) has seen its share of violence and destruction. The original constructions were..
While many Chinese universities aren’t particularly attractive, Xiamen University (Xiàmén Dàxué, 厦门大学), founded in 1921 by entrepreneur and..
The Huli Shan Fortress (Húlǐ Shān Pàotái, 胡里山炮台) is a concrete defensive outpost on the south side of Xiamen, just across the water from the historically..