In China’s Fujian province (North, Eastwest of Beijing, etc), there is a charming coastal city that is home to both natural wonders and cultural sites, which families can enjoy. Cebu Pacific lets Filipinos experience the old-world charm and allure of China’s most livable city as it flies thrice weekly from Manila direct to Xiamen.
This place has been cited as “National Garden City” and “Outstanding Tourist City” for its friendly and easy-going locals, clean environment, and a weather that is mild and pleasant all year-round. The city’s nickname,
“Garden on the Sea,” aptly fits the coastal setting endowed with a beautiful green landscape.
China’s little Europe. Xiamen literally means “gate of China.” During the 17th century, trade with Portuguese, Spanish, and Dutch merchants flourished on its shores. Today, visitors can still live out the romance of this by-gone era by strolling along Yundang Lake, accentuated by well-lit artistic sculptures and the scent of the sea. A visit to Xiamen would not be complete without spending a day on the island of Gulangyu, which is a ten-minute ferry ride from the harbor. Tourists will marvel at thesplendid colonial European and Japanese houses and the pulsating streets lined with food markets, handicraft hawkers, quaint cafes, and thriving portrait artists. Come night time, travelers can unwind in the island’s upscale seafood dining restaurants and illustrious cafes.
An array of family holiday activities. Marine-lovers will enjoy their holiday at the Xiamen Underwater Sea World, home to over 10,000 aquatic creatures including eels, starfish, piranhas, and colorful coral gardens. Resembling an underwater crystal palace, Xiamen Underwater Sea World provides visitors with a hands-on experience of feeding sea creatures like turtles and baby sharks. Foodies of all ages will find a lot of yummy indulgences in Xiamen cuisine, which represents the whole of Fujian province. Families will delight in seafood, herbal dishes, and the famous local snack Gulangyu meat pie. Two of the popular old eateries that visitors should not miss are Wu Zaitian on Datong Road and Huang Zehe on Zhongshan Road. In general, Xiamen cuisine is a combination of diverse flavors that can be described as simultaneously mild, tasty, light, crisp and slightly spicy.
Immersing in the local culture. Various festivals, from exhibits to cultural events and parades, are held in Xiamen year-round. Every November, more than 100,000 tourists and merchants visit the Xiamen International Buddhist Items and Crafts Fair, which showcases high-quality Buddhist handicraft from over a thousand exhibitors. The English word “tea” originated from the pronunciation of the Chinese character cha in Xiamen dialect.The city celebrates China’s long history of tea-making through the Xiamen International Tea Fair, also held every November, when neighboring provinces and foreign countries gather to organize the Float Parade, which highlights the harmonious integration of local and international customs through colorful themed floats.
Those looking to immerse in traditional Chinese culture can explore Xiamen’s numerous temples. South Putuo Temple, situated at the foot of Wulaofeng (Mountain of Five Old Men), covers 30,000 square meters with four main buildings: the Devajara Hall, Mahavira Hall, Dabei Hall, and the Pavilion of Buddhist Sutra built in 1936. This houses Buddhist scriptures, Buddha images from Burma, and other works of art. The Turtle Garden, built in the 1950s, is filled with architecture and carvings that depict ancient and modern times, astronomy, geography, and industrial and agricultural production.
With its perfect mix of beautiful natural scenery and cultural heritage sites, Xiamen should be a top contender in every traveler’s bucket list. Take the entire family on an exciting holiday to Xiamen with Cebu Pacific.www.cebupacificair.com