Xiamen Photo Gallery - Gulangyu

An Offshore Retreat

A short but expensive ferry ride takes visitors to Gulangyu, an old colonial outpost just off the main island of Xiamen.

The 5-minute trip across the water costs 8 yuan for a roundtrip. Although a shorter ride than Hong Kong's Star Ferry, it costed over 50% more.

The Treaty Port

When Xiamen was forcefully opened to foreign trade after the Opium Wars in the 19th century, Western expatriates settled on this island and built their own community with architectural styles from home.

British Consulate

There are plenty of examples of European-style architecture.

Japanese consulate

The Japanese consulate was the site of an imprisonment camp during the war, and its tall trees give an eerie feeling that reminds us of its dirty past.

How ironic a couple wants a wedding photo at the site where many of their ancestors perished in the Japanese invasion.

The island's roads and sidewalks are well-maintained, and buildings do get some maintenance here and there.

The folks at the visitors' centre were helpful, although maps of the island were not readily available. I had to settle with this scale model instead.

Gospel Hall

Built in 1905 after termites destroyed the old church, the Gospel Hall had over 800 foreign and Chinese members by the 1940s. It was used as a factory during the Cultural Revolution but returned to the Christians in 1987.

Hard to believe this building is inhabited, although after some basic renovations, it should be sparkingly beautiful again.

Gulangyu is not just about old buildings from Europe. There are dedicated residential areas as well, and they need to find a market for food.

Being next to the sea, Xiamen has no shortage of seafood. At this restaurant, 3 dishes and 1 soup costs 25 yuan. A feast of 7 dishes and 1 soup costs 80 yuan. Dishes include noodles, fish balls, fried vermicelli, and seafood stir-fry.

Yet on this island of European history, the traditional mainland Chinese way of public newspaper displays are still in place.

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