Gulangyu Island

Gulangyu Island Map
Gulangyu Island Map
 Gulangyu Island Pictures
Gulangyu Island is located just southwest of Xiamen City. Visitors can reach it by steamship from Xiamen City in about 5 minutes. This scenic area is renowned for its delicate natural beauty, its ancient relics, and its varied architecture. The island is on China's list of National Scenic Spots and also ranks at the top of the list of the ten most-scenic areas in Fujian Province. In July 2017, it was listed as a world heritage site by the UNESCO.

Gulangyu Island History

During the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), the island was called 'Yuanshazhou Island'. It got its present name from the huge reef surrounding it. When the tide comes in, the waves pound the reef and it sounds like the beating of a drum. The island came to be named 'Gulang'. Gu in Chinese means 'drum', and Lang, 'waves'.

During the later Ming Dynasty, the troops of national hero Zheng Chenggong were stationed here. After the Opium War in 1842, 13 countries including Great Britain, France and Japan established consulates, churches, and hospitals, turning Gulangyu Island into a common concession. In 1942, Japan occupied the island until the end of the War of Resistance against Japan.

This area has about 20,000 permanent residents, all of whom enjoy a comfortable, relaxing life. Only electric-powered vehicles are permitted on Gulangyu Island, so the environment is free from the noise and pollution of combustion engines. You can have many things to do on Gulangyu Island. Breathing the clean air, appreciating the ever-present green trees and lovely flowers, anyone here can feel like they are in heaven. With classical and romantic European-style architecture, Gulangyu Island truly deserves to be called the 'Architecture Museum'. It is also known as the 'Cradle of Musicians' and 'Island of Music' because of its reputation for music appreciation. To comply with the music atmosphere of the island, a Piano Museum was built there in 2000.
Gulangyu Island, Xiamen
Gulangyu Island, Xiamen

The Island Ring Road, which circles Gulangyu Island, allows you to fully enjoy all the sights of this small, charming island.

Among the many scenic spots on the island, the most attractive are Sunlight Rock and the Shuzhuang Garden.

Sunlight Rock

Located in the south-central part of Gulangyu Island, Sunlight Rock is the island's highest point with an altitude of 92.7 meters (304 feet). Though it may not rank with high mountain peaks, it appears superb and grand when seen from afar. The name comes from a sun-shaped formation in the granite. When the sun rises, the morning light illuminates the granite in Sunlight Temple and the rocks are bathed with sunlight.

At the foot of Sunlight Rock stands the Memorial Hall of Zheng Chenggong, built in honor of the hero's feats which include expelling the Dutch colonists and re-occupying Taiwan. Wandering up the steep rock path, visitors will see many profound inscriptions left by poets, the oldest of which dates back to over 400 years. This is the main cultural sight on the hill. Continuing on, you will see the preserved training grounds of Zheng Chenggong's troops. Near the field is a huge rock bridging two cliffs, forming a natural entrance to a cave. This is called 'Old Summer Cave' (Gu Bishu Dong) where you can feel a pleasantly cool breeze. It's the perfect viewing spot to appreciate the scenery of Gulangyu Island. A fantastic panorama of Xiamen City, including Nanputuo Temple, Xiamen University, and Hulishan Battery is within view.
Sunlight Rock Scenic Spot
Sunlight Rock Scenic Spot
Shuzhuang Garden
Shuzhuang Garden

Shuzhuang Garden

First built in 1931 on the southside of Gulangyu Island, Shuzhuang Garden was once a private villa. It became a garden park open to the public in 1955. It is divided into two parts - the Garden of Hiding the Sea (Canghaiyuan) and the Garden of Making-Up Hills (Bushanyuan). It was exquisitely designed to embody three important characteristics in gardening - hiding elements, borrowing from one's surroundings, and combining movements.

The principle of hiding elements is embodied in the way the ocean remains hidden from view even if you walk right up to the garden gate. However, once you emerge from the bamboo forest, the seascape leaps into view. Climb the Tower of Tide-Viewing to really get a terrific look at the sea.

Borrowing from one's surroundings refers to cleverly using naturally available scenery. Using the original slopes facing the sea, the reefs in the bay, and the shape of the shoreline, the former garden owner built bridges and pavilions at various levels. The panorama changes from a small bay to a vast ocean as you ascend. Here, visitors can taste the spray of the surging waves and get a bird's-eye view of other charming islands. Both Sunlight Rock and Hero Hill (Yingxiongshan) are also visible.

The garden also possesses another characteristic - the combining of movements. Its unique arrangement joins a rockwork that includes a maze of connected caves with fine pavilions on the side of the slope. Lovely children chasing and gamboling among the caves represent movement and activity, while people resting in the pavilions give a feeling of tranquility and harmonious contemplation.

As a complex of Chinese traditional gardens, Shuzhuang Gardens entices visitors so much that one cannot help but want to see inside.

Gulangyu Island has other sights worth seeing including the Bright Moon Garden, the Seasight Watch Garden, Yu Park, and Xiamen Museum. The Bright Moon Garden is located in the southeast of the island with an area of over 20,000 square meters (23,921 square yards). It is a statuary garden of national hero Zheng Chenggong with enchanting views. The appealing Seasight Watch Garden boasts villas of various styles of both China and the West. It has become a noted resort for visitors.
Xiamen Ferry Terminal
Xiamen Ferry Terminal
Cable Car of Gulangyu
Cable Car

How to go to the Gulangyu Island from Xiamen

Below lists the information about wharfs, Gulangyu Island ferry lines & ferries tickets and operating time.
Route Operating Time Ticket Fare
Jun. - Sep. Oct. - May
Xiagu Wharf - Sanqiutian Wharf 7:10 - 18:30 7:10 - 17:30 CNY 35 20mins
Xiagu Wharf - Neicuo'ao Wharf 7:10 - 18:30 7:10 - 17:30 CNY 35 20mins
Songyu Wharf - Neicuo'ao Wharf 7:30 - 19:00 7:10 - 17:50 CNY 30 8mins

At night (17:50 – 06:30 next day):
From Hall 2 of Xiamen Lundu Ferry Terminal near Zhongshan Road, take a ship to Sanqiutian Wharf. The roundtrip fare is CNY 35 and it takes about 7mins.

1. Passports are required when buying the tickets and embarking on the ship.
2. Passengers with roundtrip tickets should leave Gulangyu within 20 days using the returning ticket.
3. Children under 3.9ft (1.2m) can get a free ticket by showing passport at the ticket window. Children between 1.2m and 1.5m (4.5ft) can enjoy half price ticket.

Getting Around:

1. On foot.
2. By electric tourist buggy.
Entrance Fee Free for the Gulangyu Island.

Sunlight Rock: CNY 50
Bright Moon Garden: CNY 10
Organ Museum: CNY 15
International Lettering Art Gallery: CNY 5
Shuzhuang Garden: CNY 30

A combo ticket costs CNY 90 for entering the above scenic spots.
Opening Hours Sunlight Rock & Shuzhuang Garden & Bright Moon Garden:
Jun. - Sep.: 5:30 - 21:00
Oct. - May: 5:30 - 20:30
Organ Museum & International Lettering Art Gallery:
Jun. - Sep.: 8:15 - 18:15
Oct. - May: 8:15 - 17:45
Recommended Time for a Visit 2 days

 Top 10 Things to Do in Xiamen
10 Famous Places in China with Rising Popularity over the Web
- Last updated on Oct. 09, 2023 -
Questions & Answers on Gulangyu Island
Asked by Michael Thomas from UNITED STATES | Oct. 08, 2023 20:30Reply
Hotels in Xiamen
we will be visiting Xiamen between Nov 4th and Nov 8th this year. What is the recommended mode of transportation? Is it easy to get around Xiamen with taxi or public transportation ? Since our visit is short, would you recommend a location to stay that is convenient to visit around Xiamen? Is a one day trip to Quanzhou worth the time?

We were told about Asia Gulf Hotel in the South part of Xiamen. Are there any other activities and restaurants around this hotel? It appear to be in an isolated area.

thank you much
Answers (1)
Answered by Trace | Oct. 09, 2023 23:06

It's easy to get around in Xiamen by taxi, city bus or subway.
Most visitors to the city choose to stay in Zhongshan Road area, which has many hotels, restaurants and shopping places around. There are also bus stops, ferry port and subway station not far away.
Quanzhou is not a touristy city and one day is enough to visit some of its top attractions and taste some unique dishes and snacks.
The Asia Gulf Hotel is close to the beach. If you choose to stay there, you willl have a lot of time having fun there.
Asked by Christian from CANADA | Mar. 20, 2021 22:21Reply
Can/Should we stay on Gulangyu Island?
We are going to Xiamen for a few days in April - we planned to visit Gulangyu for a day or so, check out a beach for a day, then do a day tour to the tulou. We'd like to stay on the island because we heard it's a pleasant environment, but I read online that nonresidents have limited access to ferries making it hard to get to Xiamen. Can you make a recommendation here? Thanks in advance!
Answers (1)
Answered by Madison | Mar. 21, 2021 19:56

Oh, according to the situation, you are suggested to contact the local tourists administration. As I know, you still have a chance to stay on Gulangyu Island.
Asked by Chan from MALAYSIA | Oct. 13, 2019 02:53Reply
Is possible for foreigners to take ferry from Lundu Ferry Terminal?
Answers (2)
Answered by Gina from CANADA | Oct. 15, 2019 19:05

Yes, no problem.
Answered by chan from MALAYSIA | Oct. 17, 2019 18:50

Thank you for your quick reply. Your website is very helpful.
Asked by Anne from CANADA | Sep. 28, 2019 09:20Reply
is the Gulangyu Ferry wheelchair accessible
One of us needs a wheelchair to move around. He could walk but very slowly and most of the time he relies on a wheelchair. We want to visit Gulangyu, do you think it is feasible? Are we able to use the electric car to move around? Thanks!
Answers (1)
Answered by Natasha from ITALY | Sep. 29, 2019 23:57

Yes, no problem. The road is relatively flat.
Asked by Amit from INDIA | Jul. 09, 2019 04:52Reply
i live in china and i have the student visa in china, so i need visa for xiamen?
Answers (1)
Answered by Lisa from USA | Jul. 09, 2019 19:58

If you have a Chinese visa then it is enough.
Ask a Question
Question Summary (100 characters)
Details (optional) (2,000 characters)