Gu Lang Yu has fascinating history, splendid views, colonial architecture and quirky restaurants, cafes and shops. It is very touristy and very busy but it is definitely worth checking out. It might be a cliche, but try your best not to miss it when you're in Xiamen (although remember your journey is your own so you don't have to listen to me!!). The oddest part of this bit of travelling is actually that Xiamen the city is on an island itself. Having arrived in Xiamen by bus (from Shuyang Town) we then walked around, had our lunch and headed on a ferry to another Chinese Island, this one is Gu Lang Yu!
How do you get to Gu Lang Yu? - The only option at present (and probably for the future) is by ferry from Xiamen. Get yourself to the waterside harbour at Xiamen and the ferry terminal is hard to miss. Make sure you just find the cheapest ferry to Gu Lang Yu - the cheapest one often doesn't go direct, it takes you on a tour round the island first before you land.
This by the way is totally worth doing - you get longer on the boat and you get to relax and check out the views. It's was a bright "sunshiney" day when we were there and the views were exceptional. The ferry cost us 15 RMB each for a return (in March 2012), but the prices vary and I've heard you can get a free ride at off peak times if you stand. It gets busy.
What to see and do there? Here's a few top tips for Gu Lang Yu!
1. Head to Sunlight Rock - the high point of Gu Lang Yu - excellent views of the city of Xiamen. The price is 60 RMB which is a tad expensive but worth doing just for the view. It includes a small memorial hall as well and it gets busy at the top!
2. The Colonial Style Architecture - Gu Lang Yu is unique for China - it includes building designs from the UK, Netherlands, Japan, Spain, China and a host more countries. This range of architecture makes it pretty to look at.
3. Pretty Cobbled Streets - The pretty, lively cobbled streets are busy but enjoyable to walk down.
Just by walking round Gu Lang Yu you will appreciate the finer things in life - such as how pretty and wonderful the street architecture and layout is. Although this type of thing may be common in Europe, it's almost unheard of in parts of China. Walk slowly and take it all in!
4. The Music Influence - Gu Lang Yu is famous for its music. It has been nicknamed 'Piano Island' by locals and the Chinese. Lots of famous pianists come from Gu Lang Yu, which is incredible as its a very small island. When I was there I saw a free music parade and festival.
* You might also want to visit a museum, try the cable car ride, check out a Church (Protestant) and enjoy the gardens by the waterfront.
Where should you stay? On Gu Lang Yu, space is limited bu there is a hostel on one of the first main streets after you leave the ferry terminal. It's easy to find in fact.
That's basically it - Gu Lang Yu! Head over for a day trip and see it, or spend a night there and enjoy the restaurants and bar life after dark. It's a splendid place to visit and extremely different to parts of the main Fujian Province
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