Xiamen Life and Visitor Travel Tips

(Xiamen, Fujian, China)

Aerial picture of Xiamen's university campusFounded in the middle of the 14th century, Xiamen's city walls were constructed during the Ming dynasty. It was at this time that Xiamen was established as an important seaport and centre of commerce.

Today, Xiamen has become a busy metropolis and life here is led at a fairly fast pace. However, locals live amongst many stunning temples, gardens offering calming influences, where they can escape from the hubbub of day-to-day life. Here are some practical travel tips about life in Xiamen.

Further photo of the university

Useful Contact Information

Various Internet cafes are dotted all around the harbour district, while the streets around the Datong Lu are also a good place to look for web access. Several tourist 'Service Centres' can also be found around central Xiamen, with the office close to the Yundang Lake being especially popular.

China International Travel Services (CITS) - Zhongguó Guóji Luxingshè, 335 Hexiang Xilu, Xiamen, China, CN
Several CITS offices are located around the town, including this branch, which is particularly close to the Yundang Lake.

Post and Telephone Office - Yóudiànjú, corner of Zhongshan Lu and Xinhua Lu, Xiamen, China, CN

Bank of China - Zhongguó Yinháng, 10 Zhongshan Lu, Xiamen, China, CN
Located close to the waterfront and the Luijang Hotel, and features ATM (cashpoint).

Hong Kong Bank (HSBC) - Huifeng Yinháng, 189 Xiahe Lu, Xiamen, China, CN
Features foreign currency exchange and ATM (cashpoint).

Complaints Hotline - Xiamen, China, CN
To complain about overpricing, problems with taxi drivers, theft and any other similar problems.
Tel: +86 0592 800 8582 (extension 36)

Different view of the city's university

Language and Dialect

Visitors staying in Xiamen will find that many locals are not familiar with English and only a few will be able to understand basic phrases and questions, including hotel staff and some taxi drivers. Chinese is the official language here, otherwise known as 'Mandarin' and locals will always appreciate it when you speak a few words of their local tongue, responding favourably. Chinese phrasebooks are an essential item to carry.

Where is the... - ...zai nar?
Could you show me (on the map)? - Ni neng buneng (zai ditu shang) zhi gei wo kan?
I'd like a double room - Wo xiang yao yijian shuangrenfang
Yes - qu
No - bu

Passport and Visa Information

Visas are always needed when paying a visit to China, although they are not necessary for Westerners travelling into either Macau or Hong Kong. Applications for visas take up to five days when using your local Chinese Embassy or local travel agent, and considerably longer by post. The Xiamen Public Security Bureau (PSB) is located directly opposite the Post and Telephone office and will be able to assist you should you have any problems or queries regarding your visa or similar:

Public Security Bureau (PSB) - Gonganjú, Yóudiánjú, Xiamen, China, CN
Tel: +86 0592 226 2203

Drinking Tap Water

Be careful not to spoil your trip to Xiamen by drinking the tap water, which will usually result in diarrhoea, sickness or similar. This can easily be avoided by either sterilising the water first, by boiling it or using special iodine-based tablets, or simply drinking bottled water, which is available for purchase at the many grocery stores around central Xiamen.