Xiamen’s Pedestrian Only Island: Gulangyu

The Island of Gulangyu is filled with rich culture, great street food and is a serene escape from the bustling city of Xiamen. Famous for its century’s old colonial architecture and a sprinkling of unique cultural sites, this island offers an unconventional touristic experience and is the city’s pedestrian only island.

Gulangyu is a small island located off the southwestern coast of the main island of Xiamen city. The only way to access the island is by ferry transport during the day that leaves every 20 minutes. The ferry schedule and prices are shown below.

Do note: Entry into Gulangyu island is free, but a fee is required to take the ferry there.

Photo taken from China Discovery

Sunlit Rock

The top attraction on Xiamen’s Gulangyu island is Sunlit Rock, the highest point on the island providing tourists with swathing views of the coastline and a great vantage point to look across at the city. The attraction also has historical monuments with traditional inscriptions on them around the area. The peak of Sunlit Rock can become very crowded during peak season, so it is best to plan ahead and be flexible if crowds are an issue during certain times of the day. If the crowds do get a bit too overwhelming, you can opt for the second highest peak, Moonlit Rock.

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Price: 50RMB ($9.29 SGD/$6.98 USD) – Qin Garden Fee included in this ticket price.

Address: No. 62 Huangyan Road


Gulangyu hosts several rather unique museums that contribute to the unconventional reputation that this island has in being named by the locals as ‘Piano Island’. The attractions on the island are not necessarily eye grabbing from first look, but they do offer a very intimate and cultural experience to the importance of musical elements to the locals and to the island.

Photo taken by ThewayIsee on ShutterStock.

Two of the top few attractions on the island are the Piano Museum and the Organ Museum. Tourists can enter these attractions to see the musical vibrancy of the city’s and island’s historical past. The organ museum displays a large collection of antique organs. The piano museum brings to life how piano designs transformed over time and tourists are also able to enjoy several live performances that showcases these exquisite century old pianos in performance.

Gulangyu Piano Museum

Price: 30RMB ($5.57 SGD/$4.18 USD)

Address: No. 7 Gangzaihou Road

Gulangyu Organ Meseum

Price: 15RMB ($2.79 SGD/$2.09 USD)

Parks & Gardens

Apart from music, nature is also prevalent with many gardens and parks scattered around the island. Closer to the coasts of the island, you will find plenty of greenery with several parks and beaches. Haoye park and Shuzhuang Garden are two of the more popular gardens on the coast of the island which offer scenic bridge crossings over ponds, traditional Chinese architecture, and great views of the coastline.

Haoyue Park

Price: 10RMB ($1.86 SGD/$1.39 USD)
Address: No. 3 Zhangzhou Road

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Shuzhuang Garden

Price: 30RMB ($5.57 SGD/$4.18 USD)

Address: 3 Ganghou Rd, Xiamen, FUJIAN

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The island is great for exploring at your own pace to check out some of the local gift shops that they have and local scenery. There are also guided tours that can be booked for several of the more famous attractions. Some of the older buildings tell stories of hundreds of years just walking past them. Remember to walk through every small alley if you’re feeling adventurous, you never know, you might just find a hidden gem within the neighborhood.


No visit is complete without having a taste of the local culture that there is on offer. Here on the island, there are many street stalls by the side of the road selling all sorts of homemade snacks and food items. The island is well known for their street food oyster omelet, sauteed squid with vegetables and fish balls. There is also a variety of the freshest seafood dishes (most famous for the southeastern coast of China) you can find! There also cute cafes and restaurants towards the central area of the island that offer great local food.

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When To Visit Gulangyu?

The best time to visit the island of Gulangyu is either during Spring (March – May) or Autumn (September – November). These are times when the crowds are not too prevalent compared to the summer months which is the peak season. Peak season is usually hot and less comfortable with many people, and so it is not recommended to go during this period to fully enjoy the island. Do take note that Spring is the rainy season in the region. Additionally, Both Autumn and Spring do sometimes see typhoons which would close down the ferry routes to the island, so do make sure that you check the weather forecast before planning to head down to Gulangyu!

Photo taken from Shutterstock.

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