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Travel Guide Budget and Itinerary for Xiamen

Xiamen is a coastal city that has a laid back vibe. After traveling around China, it became one of my favorite cities. It has a number of interesting places to visit that are easily accessible, making it a tourist-friendly destination.

If you plan to visit this city, read on for the budget and itinerary for Xiamen.

Guide to Xiamen

It was almost the end of my trip to China; it started in Beijing then Luoyang then Hangzhou then Wuyishan then (lastly) Xiamen. It was my first time following this route (I've been to China multiple times). I wanted to see other parts of the country for this trip. Xiamen is a laid back coastal city, which I immediately loved. It wasn't as frenetic as Shanghai or Beijing, it was very chill. I enjoyed my few days here.

These are some of the things to do which you can include in your budget and itinerary for Xiamen.

Things to Do in Xiamen

Xiamen Twin Towers

The Twin Towers that look like sails floating in the sky are easily recognizable buildings in Xiamen's skyline. There is a mall inside and an elevator that will take you to a viewing deck.


This UNESCO-listed destination is a popular spot for both visitors and locals. This pedestrian-friendly place doesn't allow visitors to drive cars or even bicycles. The only vehicles allowed on it are government operated ones and the electric buggies which can shuttle visitors to different parts of the island. It was a former international settlement more than a century ago. The buildings here have a unique design which contain western and eastern features. Walking around is free but there are spots where you need to pay an entrance fee. There is a beach and quaint alleys that will remind you of a bygone era. It is also one of the most visited destinations in China with approximately 10 million visitors annually!

How to go: Foreigners can't take the local (and cheaper) ferries to the island. The round trip ticket costs CNY35.

Zhongshan Road

This shopping and dining strip is where both locals and tourists congregate to eat, drink, shop and be merry. The beautiful buildings are lit up to brighten the night sky. You can find McDonald's and other fast food chains here or better yet, try the local dishes sold in the many stalls and the food court along the street.


This area in Xiamen has murals, shops established by local artists, souvenir shops and restaurants. The art zone showcases the talents of local artists. It was easy to reach from the bridge, Two Towers and Xiamen University; it is within walking distance from the mentioned places.

Cat Alley

I stumbled upon this quaint alley on my way to Xiamen University. There are shops, murals and small restaurants along it.

Nanputuo Temple

Like many cities in China, you'll see ancient temples that have undergone reconstructions over the centuries. Many locals and tourists visit the site to pray and honor their gods. You can visit the Dabei Hall, Mahavira Hall and the Devajara Hall.

How to go: Buses 18, 29, 47, 17 and 45 will get you within walking distance of the temple.


Wuyishan is a UNESCO-listed destination; it is possible to do it as a day trip, but I would recommend spending at least a night. Going up to Tianyou Peak was the highlight for me. Most tourists that go here ride the bamboo raft.

Read my post: Guide to Wuyishan


When I saw pictures of this online, I immediately included it in my itinerary. The unique design of the houses was eye-catching when I finally saw them in person. What I liked most about the cluster I visited was that people still lived in them. You could visit these houses as a long day trip from Xiamen, but start as early as possible. The last fast train returning to Xiamen North from Nanjing departs at around 7:30pm to 8:00pm.

Read my post: Guide to Tianluokeng


If you don't want to be stressed out about going to Tianluokeng by public transportation, you can book this Xiamen to Tianluokeng day trip. This excursion comes with private transfers. You can take your time inside the unique structures.

Other places yo might be interested in:

  • Overseas Chinese Museum
  • Wanshi Botanical Garden
  • Hulishan Fortress
  • Xiamen University
  • Island Ring Road

Getting Around Xiamen

Xiamen (at least the tourist area) is easy to get around in. I took the bus and the occasional cab, but mostly walked. The bus network is extensive and will take you just outside places of interest or within walking distance. The city also has a metro that shortens travel time between places. I used it from Xiamen North Station to Zhongshan Road.

Where to Stay in Xiamen

I stayed for a couple of nights at Xiamen Locanda International Hostel. They had their own cafe and hang out area. The location is good to; it's near the old railway park and bus stops. If you don't mind walking, you can get to the Twin Towers, Shapowei or Zhongshan Road in 20-30 minutes.

Xiamen is a big city with many other types of accommodation for different budgets.

How to Go to Xiamen

There are direct flights from Manila. There are also numerous flights from many cities in China such as Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Chongqing and others. If you don't want to go by plane, there are bullet and slow trains that go to Xiamen. You can look for flights and buy train tickets through www.trip.com.

Budget for Xiamen

Here is an expense guide for your budget and itinerary for Xiamen.

*Everything's in Chinese Yuan

139 - Train from Wuyishan
210 - Food and drinks
95.5 - Transportation
210 - Few nights stay in Xiamen Locanda International Hostel
35 - Gulangyu Island round trip ferry ticket
27.5 - Bullet train to Nanjing
14 - Bus fare to Tianluokeng Tulou
15 - Bus to scenic spots in Tianluokeng
90 - Entrance fee for Tianluokeng
25 - Train to Xiamen North from Nanjing
15 - Airport bus fare                                   
866 - Total

Where to Go Next


The capital has plenty of attractions that can easily fill your itinerary. The Great Wall, Temple of Heaven and Tiananmen Square and others are just some of the attractions you can visit while in Beijing.

Read my post: Guide to Beijing


Guangzhou is another big Chinese city with plenty to see and do. I was here for a couple of days during a different trip to China.

Read my post: Guide to Guangzhou


Suzhou is famous for its classical gardens, many of which are on UNESCO's heritage list. The city also has alleys and roads that have traditional homes and waterways that date back to centuries ago.

Read my post: Guide to Suzhou


Shanghai is one of the biggest and most popular cities in China. It has a mix of old and new, and East and West. It's one of China's best cities.


Xiamen is relatively close to Huangshan, if you want to leave the urban jungle, you can board a bullet train to this UNESCO-listed destination. If you do so, better spend the night in the mountain.

Read my post: Guide to Huangshan

These places are accessible by either fast or slow trains, or a short flight. You can look for tickets and check schedules here: www.trip.com.


  1. Incredible points. Solid arguments. Keep up the amazing effort.

  2. Hi, just want to know as a foreigner who doesnt know how tor read chinese, is it easy to use bus as my main transport in xiamen? hope will get your reply. thanks!

    1. I know basic Chinese, it's going to be difficult to navigate to be honest, what I do is I take a screenshot of the place I want to go to and the name of the station and just show it to the driver. You'll need to know how to get from where you are to point B before leaving your accommodation.