Another of my incredible China adventures in recent times involved a visit to this crazy island known as Gu Lang Yu! Basically it’s an island off the coast of the Fujian Province and is reached by ferry from the city of Xiamen, itself another interesting Chinese city which I have yet to write about separately!
Gu Lang Yu has colonial history. It’s got a musical flair too! In order to actually get to Gu Lang Yu you first need to get to Xiamen, itself an island. The odd thing is that as soon as you get to Xiamen, you will then board another ferry over to Gu Lang Yu, that is, if you want to go there! You can stay in Xiamen of course, it’s a big city. But Gu Lang Yu is honestly worth a ferry ride across to.
How do you get to Gu Lang Yu? – The only option at present (and probably for the future) is by ferry from Xiamen. Get yourself to the waterside harbour at Xiamen and the ferry terminal is hard to miss. Make sure you just find the cheapest ferry to Gu Lang Yu – the cheapest one often doesn’t go direct, it takes you on a tour round the island first before you land.
I would recommend getting the slower, cheaper boat simply for the view – you can relax and enjoy the views of the harbour and if the weather is good, the city looks stunning. The ferry was 15 RMB return at the time we went almost a year ago, but there are cheaper and even free off peak times so look out for that!
What can you see and do there? – Gu Lang Yu may be a small island but it’s not short of tourist options that’s for sure and here are my highlights (there are plenty more – you can go running if you like!):
1. Make the climb to Sunlight Rock – this is the peak of the island and is totally sensational for the views! It’s an easy walk up and the entrance price of 60 RMB also includes entry to a memorial hall. It is a bit over priced but worth seeing the view!
2. The Colonial Style Architecture – Gu Lang Yu is unique for China – it includes building designs from the UK, Netherlands, Japan, Spain, China and a host more countries. This range of architecture makes it pretty to look at.
3. The Cobbled Streets – these cool, pokey streets get busy at times but make for an excellent stroll, plenty of restaurants and cafes too.
Just by walking round Gu Lang Yu you will appreciate the finer things in life – such as how pretty and wonderful the street architecture and layout is. Although this type of thing may be common in Europe, it’s almost unheard of in parts of China. Walk slowly and take it all in!
4. Music – there is a heavy music influence on Gu Lang Yu and it’s famous for it. Famous pianists have hailed from this small island and there are regular music events and festivals worth watching.
* You might also want to visit a museum, try the cable car ride, check out a Church (Protestant) and enjoy the gardens by the waterfront.
Where should you stay? On Gu Lang Yu, space is limited bu there is a hostel on one of the first main streets after you leave the ferry terminal. It’s easy to find in fact.
That’s basically it – Gu Lang Yu! Head over for a day trip and see it, or spend a night there and enjoy the restaurants and bar life after dark. It’s a splendid place to visit and extremely different to parts of the main Fujian Province