5 Hour Activities


MISS ZHAO
赵小姐的店

Three shops at 11, 120, and 314 Longtou Lu
+86-0592-2516-6717
misszhao1912.com
Open 9 a.m.–10:30 p.m.

CHEN FAMILY MINNAN RICE ROLLS
沈家闽南肠粉

57 Fujian Lu, Siming district

LINJI FISHBALL
林记木担鱼丸

54 Quanzhou Lu, Siming district
+86-899-3980
Open 8:30 a.m.–8 p.m. or until sold out

HAITIAN TANGGOU VILLA AND PUPPET THEATER
海天堂构

38 Fujian Lu, Siming district
+86-592-257-0510
Shows begin at 9:30 a.m. and run every hour until 4:30 p.m.

SHUZHUANG PARK
菽庄花园

Tianwei Lu
Open 8 a.m.–7 p.m.

PLOT AN ISLAND GETAWAY

  • Sail off to idyllic (and car-free) Gulangyu
  • Transport yourself to the island’s gilded age heyday
  • Take in the best sunset and sea views

The island of Gulangyu, a prominent Chinese port, was once home to diplomats, tycoons, and an international cast of fabulous characters. The island’s wealthier denizens are long gone today, but their opulent mansions remain, and recent renovations have made Gulangyu well worth a ferry excursion from Xiamen. Step off the boat onto this car-free idyll and follow the signs to Shuzhuang Park菽庄花园. En route you’ll pass Longtou Lu and Fujian Lu, a series of food stalls and boutiques that form the island’s epicenter. Snag a pineapple cake served with a proper cup of Fujian rock tea at Miss Zhao. For a more substantial snack, line up in the center square for Chen Family minnan rice rolls (changfen), steamed treats filled with minced pork and egg. Fish balls, made with pork centers and served in a pork bone broth, are another Fujian specialty. Wade deep into the food courtyard in search of Linji, a third-generation fish ball purveyor. You’ll want to add rice noodles to your order, but pass on the bland shrimp balls. Next, wander over to Haitian Tanggou Villa and explore a lavish colonial-style mansion that conjures the island’s gilded age. Stay for the traditional puppet show, but make your exit during the ho-hum music show—instead, skip off to Shuzhuang Park in time for sunset. Pick up a cool drink along the way, then enter the park at the marked gate (an entry fee is required) and continue through the bonsai garden. Keep climbing until you reach the terrace for a spectacular silent show as the sun dips into the sea.
The Conrad concierge can direct you to the proper ferry terminal for Gulangyu Island, as one location caters only to Xiamen residents, while others must depart from another terminal (further from the Conrad, alas). Bring your passport or Chinese national ID to purchase tickets, and wear comfortable shoes for this eminently walkable, car-free island. Always double-check departure times and dock locations for the return trip to Xiamen.

MISS ZHAO
赵小姐的店

Three shops at 11, 120, and 314 Longtou Lu
+86-0592-2516-6717
misszhao1912.com
Open 9 a.m.–10:30 p.m.

CHEN FAMILY MINNAN RICE ROLLS
沈家闽南肠粉

57 Fujian Lu, Siming district

LINJI FISHBALL
林记木担鱼丸

54 Quanzhou Lu, Siming district
+86-899-3980
Open 8:30 a.m.–8 p.m. or until sold out

HAITIAN TANGGOU VILLA AND PUPPET THEATER
海天堂构

38 Fujian Lu, Siming district
+86-592-257-0510
Shows begin at 9:30 a.m. and run every hour until 4:30 p.m.

SHUZHUANG PARK
菽庄花园

Tianwei Lu
Open 8 a.m.–7 p.m.

RIYUEGU HOTSPRINGS
日月谷温泉渡假村

1888 Fulian Lu, Haicang district
+86-0592-631-2222
riyuegu.com

TAKE THE WATERS AT A HOT-SPRING SPA

  • Revive jet-lagged muscles in burbling thermal pools
  • Let tiny fish nibble at your toes for the ultimate pedicure
  • Unwind with an outdoor Thai or Swedish massage

After pounding Xiamen’s pavements in pursuit of benevolent Buddhas and the ultimate duck congee, it’s fair to say some spa time is in order. Here’s our prescription: hit the Riyuegu Hotsprings to soak in your choice of more than 100 rejuvenating pools and other water treatments. Take your pick among a salt- or mushroom-infused sauna, a tea-enriched hot bath, or a bubbling “massage pool” with jets that purportedly aid in soothing aches and trimming waistlines. Kids, meanwhile, can splash around in a family-friendly pool strewn with giant rubber rafts, or taking a turn in the “exfoliation tub,” succumbing to giggle fits as tiny fish nibble at their toes (a favored all-natural pedicure technique). You can follow up your soaks and steams with a traditional Thai or Swedish massage—either outdoors or in a private room. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, indulge in Riyuegu’s evening buffet, overflowing with literally hundreds of dishes, or keep it simple and order off the a la carte menu. Particularly tasty are the soft-boiled farm eggs floating in a vapor-shrouded bowl of sesame-scented chicken soup, decorated with thin rice threads. Know before you go: Weekend mornings and afternoons are the busiest times, and the optimal choice for families; singles or couples should plan an evening or weekday visit for a more serene experience. Towels, lockers, slippers, and showers with basic toiletries are provided; robes may be rented and inexpensive swim caps (required in certain pools) can be purchased at the gift shop.
Riyuegu Hotsprings is a 40-minute taxi ride from the Conrad. On the return trip, ask the spa’s reception desk to call a taxi; alternatively, hop on the shuttle bus that departs every half-hour (10 a.m.–midnight) and drops guests off at the Xiagu Ferry bus station.

RIYUEGU HOTSPRINGS
日月谷温泉渡假村

1888 Fulian Lu, Haicang district
+86-0592-631-2222
riyuegu.com

GAO KENG BEEF NOODLE RESTAURANT
髙坑牛肉店

38 He Douli Gaokeng, Jinshazhen, Jinmen
+082-352-549
Open 10 a.m.–2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.–8:30 p.m.

MAESTRO WU’S KNIVES
金合利鋼刀

892 Boyu Lu, Jinningxiang, Jinmen
+082-323-999

BALANCE JUICE BAR
5 Mofan jie, Jinchengzhen, Jinmen
+082-312-601
Open 11 a.m.–9 p.m.

SPEND AN AFTERNOON IN TAIWAN

  • Ferry over to the soft sand beaches and old-world villages of Jinmen
  • Savor the island’s beloved beef noodle soup
  • Watch a master knifemaker at work, and pick up a one-of-a-kind souvenir

The cluster of tiny islands known as Jinmen (or Kinmen) lie just a few miles off Xiamen’s eastern shoreline, but in political terms they’ve often seemed oceans away: This idyllic archipelago, a former military reserve, belongs to Taiwan, and tourists from mainland China were long prohibited from visiting. That ban was finally lifted in 2003, and now weekending mainlanders can’t get enough of the island’s traditional villages and soft sand beaches. After taking a 30-minute ferry from Xiamen, hire a taxi for your time on Jinmen (you’ll pay by the hour). Your first stop: lunch at Gao Keng, for a beloved Taiwanese specialty, beef noodle soup. Order it with braised beef or beef tendon, along with a small plate of tender pan-fried beef and a side of stir-fried vegetables. And be sure to cap this off with a dollop of Gao Keng’s housemade pickled-cabbage-and-chili condiment; it’s supremely addictive. Then head out to explore. You’ll notice military remnants peppering the landscape; resident knifemaker Maestro Wu cleverly folds this history into his work. Spend time at his knife shop, and marvel as the lanky craftsman forges shiny cleavers from hunks of steel and discarded artillery shells, the reminders of tragic battles waged on this land. (You won’t find these masterful creations on the mainland, so pick one up here at the source.) Next, have your taxi drop you beside the time capsule that is Mo Fang Road. Pop into Balance Juice Bar for a fresh fruit smoothie or a sweet potato or taro milkshake, made with organic produce and milk from local farms. Continue along the pedestrian street, then turn right and head through a towering gateway that reveals a Buddhist temple. The lane to the temple is lined with traditional medicine shops, joss stick vendors, and counter stands selling the island’s gaoliang sorghum hooch.
Before venturing over, confirm that your passport allows entry to Jinmen: U.S. citizens and certain other nationalities may enter visa-free, but Chinese nationals a required to register in advance with a national ID. The Conrad concierge can assist with entry requirements and with ferry booking. (Note that you’ll need to book a return trip along with the outbound ferry, and the last boat back from Jinmen typically departs at 5:30 p.m.)

GAO KENG BEEF NOODLE RESTAURANT
髙坑牛肉店

38 He Douli Gaokeng, Jinshazhen, Jinmen
+082-352-549
Open 10 a.m.–2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.–8:30 p.m.

MAESTRO WU’S KNIVES
金合利鋼刀

892 Boyu Lu, Jinningxiang, Jinmen
+082-323-999

BALANCE JUICE BAR
5 Mofan jie, Jinchengzhen, Jinmen
+082-312-601
Open 11 a.m.–9 p.m.