Xiamen (厦门) 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. It's known as one of the safest, cleanest and greenest city in China, in fact it got an international award in a contest for most liveable cities in 2002. That's the reason Papa Bear had chosen Xiamen as our travel base for this trip, instead of Guangzhou, which Papa Bear personally thought that it's too crowded.
The view of the very popular Gulangyu from Swiss International Hotel. Picture was taken on a cloudy day.
We stayed at Swiss International Hotel this time, partly because we believed that it's voted as Xiamen's number 1 hotel by the Trip Advisor reviewers for a good reason. We didn't have much time to do research for this trip. So based on the reviews on TA, off we booked. The hotel did not disappoint us. The room, to be honest, was a bit tired and aged. But generally still passable as 4 stars, instead of 5 stars as listed on their website. The services of its staff and the breakfast spread were definitely a whopping 5 stars standard! The staff were very polite, friendly and helpful. The breakfast spread was one of the best we had had in our years of travelling, we could not fault anything from its variety, taste, ambient of the cafe, service level of the staff and so on! Yup, it's really that good!
The statue of the goddess of Ma-Zhu in front of the hotel. The statue can be seen in quite many places in Xiamen, as the people believe that she is the Goddess of Sea, understandably Xiamen is a costal city.
The hotel has an indoor swimming pool, but it's not heated. Water temperature is around 28 degree Celsius. Brother Bear went for a swim and he loved the pool. :)
The location of the hotel is within walking distance to the famous Zhongsan Road Walking Street (中山路) as well. Zhongsan Road is said to be the most prosperous street in Xiamen. There are shopping malls, departmental stores, restaurants, local and international boutiques along the street. Besides that, the architectural buildings/complexes which combines both Chinese and Western style create a unique view to this famous tourist spot as well. We had spent our free time walking along the streets buying some winter clothes for our kids (preparing for our year end trip to Korea) and I have got myself 3 pairs of good quality leather boots! Hohoho.... my early Christmas presents! Very often, we would buy some local snacks, sat down at the plentiful of resting area, and started eating while doing people watching too. People watching can be fun!
We had our simple lunch here, one of the shops serving local dishes.
The shop was said to be popular even among the locals?
Zhongsan Road during the day. It was much busier at night.
The mould to make angku kuih? :)
It has better sitting and resting area than this. Haha... But we didn't take the pictures of the nicer ones. Sorry, Zhongsan Road! :P
If you are tired of people watching, try the nearby Zhongsan Park (中山公园) for some beautiful views such as lakes, temples and lots of greens. Getting there is easy. Just walk towards the east of Zhongsan Road until the end, past the traffic circle; the road curves off to the right and the park is just down the hill on your left. If you can't locate it, ask the patrol officer or the friendly locals.
The main entrance of Zhongsan Park.
The park was very clean. It was well maintained and taken care of by the authorities and the locals. Kudos!
I love this picture! Taken by me!!!
You can rent a paddling boat. There were lots of lovebirds paddling away while looking at each other so sweetly! :)
Resting and napping. :)
Zhongsan Park was built in 1931 to honour Dr. Sun Yat Sen and his community spirit. It's a beautiful park and good for a leisure stroll with kids and loved ones. We bought some drinks from the on site convenience store and just sat down on the grass, relaxed and did nothing, err... perhaps more people watching too, haha... as it's very popular with the locals as well. But it offered a more relaxing atmosphere, as here you would see people doing their group dance or exercise, playing Chinese chess, cycling, boat paddling or just grass rolling like us! :D