A photo journey to Xiamen, China

The six years I spent working and studying in Xiamen, one of the best places to live in China as an expat, were so intense that I rarely thought about taking photos. All my focus was on taking in an ocean of new information: a city to explore, a distant culture to navigate, international friends, two languages I couldn’t understand: Chinese and English! Even if in 2016 I decided my life adventure in Xiamen, China, was over, I still look to those years between 2010 and 2016 as the most exciting part of my life. That’s when I started to travel solo, to live alone, all those pivotal life experience happened when I was living in Xiamen. There are so many reasons why I enjoyed living there. The people and the culture in Xiamen were a continuous source of surprise. It’s been like a dream, really. I’m not sure how much you can grasp about my experience through these photos of Xiamen. I have to publish them anyway… I feel mellow just going through the pictures again, I’m so grateful I had the chance and the gut to move abroad… Let’s see what memories or details these photos take back…

Xiamen University, one of the best photo spots in Xiamen, China.


This has to be the first photo in this gallery. The official reason why I moved to China was to study Chinese at “Xiada” for five months. That proved tremendously helpful… I couldn’t believe I had chosen such a lovely place to study, 50 meters from the beach, with two beautiful lakes and cafes here and there… And all those trees. The university is part of the hill with the massive botanical garden and the Nanputuo Temple, surrounded by lush vegetation…

Xiamen University in China
The main boulevard of Xiamen University.

2. Lakes in Xiamen University

You could explore the main campus for days, trying out all the trails on the hill… One will get you to a small lake with a romantic pagoda on its shore. I have seen a lot of students swimming in it in the late afternoon, and I’ve done it myself, even during the night…

secret lake in Xiamen University
The “secret” lake of Xiamen University

3. Street art tunnel in Xiamen University

If you visit Xiada, you can’t skip the Furong Tunnel, that connects the dining area with the one of the many dorms’ districts (this campus is huge…)

street art at Xiamen University, China
Mural inside the Furong Tunnel | Xiamen China photo journey


Xiamen University China street art tunnel
The “Furong Tunnel” inside Xiamen University, full of graffiti


Xiamen street art
Street art at Xiamen University


graffiti at Xiamen University, Fujian, China
Never liked statistics


Lu Xun Memorial House, Xiamen
Lu Xun Memorial House Museum inside Xiamen University


I was still living in Xiamen when the huge Hilton Hotel construction project launched. Now, these two sail-shaped skyscrapers dominate the coastal landscape of the Siming District, the most interesting part of Xiamen, right in front of Gulangyu Island

Xiamen China Hilton Towers
Xiamen University playground. In the background, the Hilton Hotel towers

Who doesn’t love Xiamen’s beach?


From Xiamen University Baicheng Gate, on Huandao Road, you can directly access the beach. One of the best things to do in Xiamen is walking or biking along the curated promenade for a couple of hours until you reach the Exhibition Center. This is better done in the late afternoon or sunset hours, to avoid the scorching hot of the subtropical city.

Beach in Xiamen Chine
The beach in Xiamen


Walking along the scenic Huandao Road, from Xiamen University to the Zengcuo’an tourist neighborhood, you’ll find, a little bit hidden by the vegetation, the Daoist Temple (bus stop: Zengshan), a must-see for the passionate of Chinese traditional culture

Xiamen Zengshan Daoist Temple
The symbol of the Daoist Temple in Zengshan, Xiamen


This is how a Daoist votive altar in Southeast China looks like

Chinese Daoist deities
Daoist votive statues at the Zengshan Temple, Xiamen


Xiamen China night photo
The suspended part of Huandao Road at night | Xiamen China


The Nanputuo Temple isn’t only full of charming buildings but also of lovely trails up the rocky hills to a panoramic viewpoint.

Nanputuo Buddhist Temple in Xiamen
At the Nanputuo Buddhist Temple


due to the presence of a long stretch of sand, Xiamen is one of the cities in China that offer a lot of opportunities to relax and just watch the day goes by.

Xiamen beach
an ordinary day at the beach in Xiamen

16. Xiamen, an incredible mixture of ancient and “new”

One of the reasons I left China to go back to Italy was because I couldn’t put up with the overpopulation anymore. If you take a ride on the BRT that takes from one part of the island to the opposite part in less than one hour, you’ll see this infinite landscape of tall apartment buildings. Still, Xiamen is one of the greenest and cleanest cities in China.

tall apartment building in Xiamen China
Apartment buildings


If you end up moving to Xiamen, where will you live? In one of these modern apartment buildings with elevators and watchmen, or in one of the old houses that are still surviving the incredible construction business?

Apartment buildings in Xiamen, China
Apartment buildings in Xiamen, China


A walk along Zhongshan Road and the surrounding alleys and areas will make feel Xiamen’s charm.

Xiamen China
A quiet morning in one of the streets that belong to the oldest part of Xiamen


The alleys surrounding the more commercial and touristic Zhongshan Road give you a lot of chances for street photography

Xiamen, Zhongshan area
Zhongshan Road neighborhood


Xiamen China Zhongshan Road
The houses with that mark were doomed to demolition


These women own the most popular restaurant for “Shacha Noodles”, one of Xiamen’s local delicacies

Chinese people Xiamen
People from Xiamen are usually extroverted


people from Xiamen, China
The owner and staff of the most popular noodles restaurant in Xiamen’s historic center

23. What will you put inside your Shacha Mian (noodles) bowl? | A photo journey to Xiamen, China

shacha noodles Xiamen
some of the ingredients you can put inside your Shacha noodles’ bowl. Shacha noodles are similar to some of the most popular Southeast Asian food

24. Xiamen has a rainy season, it usually lasts two months, from March to May.

rainy season in Xiamen
a rainy day in Xiamen’s historic center

25. Time for a nap.

workers taking a nap in Xiamen, China
Workers taking a nap


The neighborhood of Xiamen’s Old Harbor, where the foreign conquerors went ashore at the beginning of the 20th Century, was recently requalified as a recreational area and is full of coffee shops, restaurants, B&Bs, and beer stations.

Xiamen's "Old Harbor"
Xiamen’s Old Harbor


Bar in Xiamen
A bar in the area of Daxue Road


Old building in Xiamen's historic center
The window of an old building in Xiamen’s historic center


Xiamen's historic center
Old-style house in Xiamen’s historic center


Old-style house in Xiamen China
Old-style houses still have this kind of anti-theft system


sunset in Xiamen
Xiamen, old and new


Xiamen fabric market
Cloth rolls at Xiamen’s Fabric Market

33. there’s a hot-springs near Xiamen, it’s called “Riyuegu”, it’s one of my favorite getaways from Xiamen in Fujian

Skin-eating fishes at Riyuegu Hot-springs near Xiamen
Skin-eating fishes at Riyuegu Hot-springs near Xiamen

I became a little melancholic putting up this photo article… You will find more details on how to visit Xiamen in my article about the best things to do in Xiamen, China. See you soon, Xiamen!

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