Selayang Pandang: PPIT cab. Xiamen
23 September 2015
Xiamen (厦门; Xiàmén) is a coastal city in Fujian Province in China. It has been an important port for centuries and became one of China’s earliest Special Economic Zones in the 1980s. The name Xiamen means “door to the house”, referring to the city’s centuries-old role as a gateway to China.
The Xiamen dialect of Minnan is taken to be the standard dialect (it is similar to a mutually intelligible with Taiwanese), so Xiamen is an excellent starting place to learn Minnan. Minnan is not mutually intelligible with Mandarin, Cantonese or any of the other Min dialects
Mandarin is almost universally spoken by younger people as it is the only language used in the education system. English is not widely spoken, though staff in higher end hotels will usually be able to communicate in English.
The most important tourist area is Gulangyu Island, a small island which contains some beautiful colonial buildings and is a car free region. A visit to Xiamen would not be complete without setting foot on Gulangyu, the island just across the harbor which has all sorts of food vendors, handicraft hawkers, and cute little cafes and restaurants.
To sum up, Gulangyu may just represent whata Chinese version of a Bohemian-like enclave can be. Lots of colourful portrait artists in every nook and corner. Unless you are really into a spell of peace and quiet, the island may be a little boring once the sun sets, except maybe you are into seafood dining and the up market cafes and restaurant for drinks. And also, don’t miss visiting this relaxing and quiet “European themed” old buildings island. The Chinese tourists flock all over just for this tripdown to the nostalgic lane.