Xiamen

Xiamen overview

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Following in the footsteps of its northern neighbor Shanghai, Xiamen has its own well developed nightlife and entertainment scene. Local magazines, such as What's On Xiamen, are published monthly keeping the expat community and fashion conscious locals informed of all Xiamen's social events.

Clubs and bars

The nightlife in Xiamen is still emerging and many of the town's nightclubs are still typical Chinese style discos blaring the likes of the Vengaboys and vintage Aqua hits. A growing number of local bars and clubs are starting to cater to the tastes of the expanding expat community, offering decent live music, imported beverages and quality cocktails. For a classic British pub atmosphere complete with draft Guinness, bottled London Pride and homemade steak pie head to the Londoner on Guanren Lu (Guānrèn Lù, 官任路) near the Marco Polo hotel (you'll also find a host of other nightilfe spots of various caliber in the vicinity including KTV and Chinese nightclubs of the techno music, smoke and lasers school). A hip little hangout with by far the best mojitos in Xiamen and possibly China is Thank You Cafe run by friendly Hong Kong owner/DJ, Dave Situ or "DJ Dfu" on Daxue Lu (Dàxué Lù, 大学路), 2111, Store 13/14.

Zeng Cuo An (Zéng Cuò An Cūn, 曾厝垵村) located in Siming District (Sīmíng Qū, 思明区) just off Huandao Lu (Huándǎo Lù, 环岛路) that runs along the coast toward Xiamen University, has recently blossomed into a hub of laidback bars, guesthouses and restaurants where the service may not always be the fastest but it will sure as heck be friendly, with good quality Western and Chinese food and drinks to choose from. Temple Café is a particular highlight, located in a converted and beautifully renovated Buddhist temple complete with an open courtyard and a stellar all-day breakfast. Check out tiny Solo Bar for cheap and cheerful drinks where the list depends on what they happen to have in stock.

Expect imported beers or spirits to run RMB 30-50 and local brews around RMB 18-20. If money is an issue, there's nothing better than grabbing a couple of chilled local Sedrin beers and hitting the beach. In the summertime, keep an eye out for regular beach bonfires and BBQ parties, especially up towards Xiamen University.

Museums

You won't be starved for choice of museums in Xiamen. There are 17 museums in total, though not all of them will excite the interest of the average tourist. The Overseas Chinese Museum, the Piano Museum and Xiamen Museum (Xiàmén Bówùguǎn, 厦门博物馆) are some of the more popular choices for the mainstream crowd, but niche enthusiasts might also enjoy the Jinquan Coin Museum (Jīnquán Qiánbì Bówùguǎn, 厦门金泉钱币博物馆) in Gulangyu's former British Consulate or the Xiamen Bridge Museum (Xiàmén Qiáoliáng Bówùguǎn, 厦门桥梁博物馆).

Festivals & Events

Aside from the usual traditonal Chinese festivals, Xiamen also has a number of local celebrations and international events taking place throughout the year.

January hosts the annual Xiamen International Marathon, one of China's best known and most scenic marathons.

In early April, Xiamen celebrates the Cold Food Festival (Hánshí Jié 寒食节), the precursor to the better known Qingming Jie (Qīngmíng Jié 清明节) or "Tomb Sweeping Festival". Thousands of years ago an important official was burned to death on that day and in remembrance, no flame or fire should be used so only cold foods can be consumed.

Come Mid-Autum Festival, one of the customs unique to southern Fujian and parts of neighboring Taiwan is Mooncake Gambling. Introduced by local hero-pirate Koxinga in the 17th century to stop his troops from getting bored, this dice game continues to keep families, friends and colleagues entertained on the long, quiet autumn nights.

Moving into November there is the Xiamen International Kite Flying Festival where the air above the beach is filled with fantastical creatures in all shapes and sizes expertly flown by teams of kite enthusiasts from around China and southeast Asia.

Xiamen attractions

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