Monday 24th of April 2017

Xiamen (Xiamen Plaza Hotel)

City: Xiamen
Province: Fujian
Month/Year of Travel: August 1997
Travel Route in China: Hong Kong - Xiamen - Guangzhou
Name of Hotel: Xiamen Plaza Hotel
Comments about Hotel: Located adjacent to the train and bus stations, so there's lots of activity. Probably best to request a room on the side away from the train station if you stay on a lower floor, or are a very light sleeper. Generally a good setup for children. Rooms were adequate size. Cribs provided, small refrigerators, and lots of shelves in the rooms. Generally well kept, except for the rugs. We always put a blanket on the floor before setting our daughter down. The hotel has an outdoor pool, but they did not appear to use any chemicals. Instead the pool was completely emptied and refilled! The water got progressively greener as the week went on. Try a massage, if you dare!
Office or Orphanage: Xiamen Children Welfare Institution
Sights to See in this city: Gulong Island -- in the 1800's, the island was a foreign enclave for European settlers, and the architectural styles reflect many European influences. Now, of course, the residents are primarily Chinese, and this has produced an interesting mix of European and Chinese influences. The ferry ride alone is worth the trip. Climb Sunlight Rock on the island for a spectacular view of Xiamen and a glimpse of the islands that belong to both China and Taiwan. Also some wonderful gardens. Nanputuo Temple -- This Buddhist temple is more than 1,000 years old, and is still in active use. The compound is composed of many buildings, which extend up a hillside. Wonderful architecture, statuary, ornamentation, and a fascinating glimpse of the religious side of Chinese life. Xiamen University -- Be sure to visit their tea room for tea tasting. Tea culture is an academic discipline here, so these folks know their tea. Botanical garden -- can't recall the exact name, but the gardens are wonderful.
Baby supplies can be purchased at: The Friendship store is right across the street. (But crossing the street is a real experience. Hint: stick with the crowd.)
Places to eat we liked: The hotel has two good restaurants. The breakfast buffet was excellent, and even those with a less adventurous palate than mine found enough to satisfy. We even managed to get french fries one night, with the aid of our guide. But there's also a McDonald's within walking distance if you're desperate. The best meal we had (again perhaps for the more adventurous) was at a seafood restaurant on Gulong Island. Wander around the fish tanks, and take your pick of dozens of varieties of fish, crabs, etc. It's a little unnerving to watch the critters swimming one minute, and then eat them the next, but you don't get seafood much fresher than this!
Things you ought to know while staying here: If you travel in summer, it's hot, hot, hot! (That green pool will start looking good to you after a couple of days.) People were friendly and interested wherever we went. We felt comfortable walking on the streets around the hotel, in shops, and every place we toured. People often oohed and aahed over the girls, and asked lots of questions. This city does not get as many foreign visitors as some other big Chinese cities, so we attracted more attention just for that reason.

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