Top 10 Things to Do in Gulangyu, Gulangyu Island Attractions

More than 100 years ago, Gulangyu Island became an "International Island". This small island filled with more than 13 consulates of different countries, and became the green island of refuge and peace in the modern history of China. Western politicians, business men, missionaries and wealthy overseas Chinese families have spent huge sums of money to buy land and built exquisite villas. Pianos that they brought perfectly match the musical nature of the locals, then the “Piano Island” was born.

Foreign culture and local culture collide here and gather into the beautiful form of diversification. “The Garden of the Sea”, “The Island of Piano”, “The Exhibition of the World’s Architecture”... Gulangyu Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, can satisfy all your imagination of poetic residence. So what to do in Gulangyu? Check the following popular Gulangyu attractions and things to do, including Sunlight Rock, Shuzhuang Garden, Piano Museum, Organ Museum, Hi! Heaven!, Haoyue Park and bathing beaches are all attractions on the island you can’t miss.

More detailed information about highlights, transportation and traveling routes of Gulangyu Island, please visit Gulangyu Island Travel Guide >>

Top Recommended Xiamen Tour with Gulangyu:

2 Days Xiamen City Tour with Gulangyu

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Xiamen Attraction Map

Sunlight Rock

No.1: Sunlight Rock 日光岩

Type: Landmark

Opening Hour: 7:00 - 18:00

Recommended Length of Visit: 1-1.5 hour

Location: No. 62 Huangyan Road (厦门市思明区晃岩路62号)

The Sunlight Rock Scenic Area consists of many tourist attractions, like Sunlight Rock, Zheng Chenggong Memorial Hall and Piano Garden.

As the saying goes “It will be a trip to Xiamen in vain without climbing Sunlight Rock”, Sunlight Rock is the must-go in Xiamen. It consists of two huge rocks, one horizontal and the other vertical. The two rocks leaning on each other, with an elevation of 92.68 meters, form the highest spot on Gulangyu Island.

Tianfeng platform on the top of Sunlight Rock is the best place to enjoy the panorama view of Gulangyu Island. When climbing on the top, the sky is within striking distance. Leaning on the railing and overlooking in a distance, tourists can get a panoramic view of Xiamen Island, Dadan Island, Erdan Island, small and large Kinmen, etc.. Summer is the best time to visit Sunlight rock with the most splendid scenery.

>> 2 Days Xiamen City Tour with Gulangyu

Shuzhuang Garden

No.2: Shuzhuang Garden 菽庄花园

Type: Gardens

Opening Hour: 7:30 - 17:30

Recommended Length of Visit: 1-1.5 hours

Location: No. 7 Zaihou Road, Gulangyu Harbor (厦门市思明区鼓浪屿港仔后路7号)

Gulangyu is a paradise not too far...and the most famous scenic spot Shuzhuang Garden is there. This private villa, first constructed in 1913 by Lin Erjia, is known for its well-conceived layout and borrowed scenes. The garden faces the sea and backs on to Sunlight Rock, including hills, the sea, bridges, forests and flowers.

Shuzhuang Garden can be divided into two parts - Garden Hiding the Sea and Garden Making-up Hills. Tourists will surely be attracted by the garden’s fascinating scenery. Besides, there are 44 meandering bridges. Walking on the bridges, tourists will feel as if they stepped on waves.

>> 3 Days Xiamen City Leisure Tour

Gulangyu Piano Museum

No.3: Gulangyu Piano Museum 钢琴博物馆

Type: Specialty Museums

Opening Hour: 7:30 - 17:30

Recommended Length of Visit: 1 hour

Xiamen Piano Museum, China’s only museum dedicated to pianos, is located in Shuzhuang Garden’s Tide-Viewing Tower on Gulangyu Island (also Piano Island). There are 40 more old pianos displayed in the museum, among which are rare and valuable gold-plating piano in the world, the oldest four-corner piano in the world and the oldest and biggest vertical piano, antique hand-power piano etc.

It showcases the history and culture of piano music. Visitors and expert musicians alike will be charmed by the artistry involved in the pianos themselves and come away enlightened about the history and beauty of piano music.

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Gulangyu Organ Museum

No.4: Gulangyu Organ Museum (Eight Diagrams Building) 风琴博物馆

Type: Specialty Museums, Architecture

Opening Hour: 8:15 - 17:45

Recommended Length of Visit: 1 hour

Location: No. 34 Guxin Road (厦门市思明区鼓新路34号)

The Organ Museum was originally the private residence of Lin He-shou, a wealthy businessman from Taiwan. Now it has been transformed into an organ museum. All collections are donated by Mr. Hu Youyi. Collections include church organ, famous porn organ, expensive "Iorian" organ, small organ used for busking, organ with mirror, organ with a candlestick, etc. The largest “Norman Beale” are several floors tall, while the smallest are just like a carry-on suitcase.

Besides organs in the museum, the Eight Diagrams building itself is also eye-catching. It is the epitome of international architecture: the red dome has a strong Islamic style, the columns in the outer corridor adopt the ancient Greek Doric column style, the cross-shaped corridor in the villa originates from the ancient Roman church, and the blue stone vase carved under the corridor is a typical Chinese style. What's more, even though so many different architectural styles and arts are integrated into one building, people won’t feel any incongruities when they see it.

Hi! Heaven!

No.5: Hi! Heaven! (Hai Tian Tang Gou) 海天堂构

Type: Architecture, Cultural Performance

Opening Hour: 8:30 - 17:30

Recommended Length of Visit: 1 hour

Location: No. 38 Fujian Road (厦门市思明区福建路38号)

The variety of architectural styles coexist in Hi Heaven, with Chinese style as the main, combining Chinese and Western styles. This is rare even in Gulangyu Island, where foreign architecture can be found everywhere. In Hi Heaven, the No. 34 building was developed into an elegant cafe which is filled with southern Asian flavour. Visitors can enjoy a leisure coffee break in the villa. No. 42 building is the performance center for Nanyin music and puppet shows. The most distinctive building in Hi Heaven - the No. 38 building is the Architecture and Art Gallery on Gulangyu Island, which mainly displays the old villas and the little-known celebrities’ past stories. It is full of nostalgia.

Shuzhuang Garden

No.6: Zheng Chenggong Memorial Hall 郑成功纪念馆

Type: Historical Celebrity Memorial Museum

Opening Hour: 8:00 - 17:30

Recommended Length of Visit: 1 hour

Location: No. 73 Yongchun Road (厦门市思明区永春路73号)

Zheng Chenggong Memorial Hall is in honor of Zheng Chenggong, the national hero of the Ming & Qing Dynasty. He recovered Taiwan, and his troops were stationed here, leaving behind a lot of stories.

Zheng Chenggong Memorial Hall is divided into seven parts, displaying more than 300 pieces of various cultural relics, historical records, photographs, models... Among them, the border defense and Zhangzhou military discipline, etc are originals with high value. A visit to the museum will help you understand Zheng Chenggong's extraordinary life systematically. Visit the museum, you can get a more systematic understanding of the extraordinary life of Zheng Chenggong.dges. Walking on the bridges, tourists will feel as if they stepped on waves.

Haoyue Garden

No.7: Haoyue Park 皓月园

Type: Landmark, Garden

Opening Hour: 7:30 - 21:30

Recommended Length of Visit: 1 hour

Location: Dingyan Coast, East of Gulangyu Island (厦门市思明区鼓浪屿东部鼎岩海滨)

Haoyue Park is a park built in memory of Zheng Chenggong. With the statue of Zheng Chenggong as the core, the park is supplemented by a building group in the style of the Ming Dynasty. Blue glazed tiles match with stone gates, pillars, stages and paths, plus blue sky, sandy beach, inconstant tide, dense trees and huge rocks to form an elegant and magnificent scenery. Compared with Shuzhuang Garden, which also faces the sea, Haoyue Garden is quieter. Moreover, it is also a good place to appreciate landmark buildings in Xiamen, such as the Yanwu Bridge (演武大桥) and the World Trade Strait Tower (世贸海峡大厦), etc.

Qin Yuan

No.8: Qin Yuan (Piano Garden) 琴园

Type: Garden

Opening Hour: 9:00 - 17:00

Recommended Length of Visit: 1 hour

Location: The Hero Mountain, Gulangyu Island (厦门市思明区鼓浪屿英雄山上)

Qin Yuan (琴园) is located opposite Sunlight Rock in the east. Scenic spots in the garden include Melody Square, Qinsi Square, Liuyin Garden and Yuyou Gate, etc. Bainiao Garden is the main site in Qin Yuan. Visitors may have changed to meet a large number of free-range peacocks, enjoy birds performance by colorful and rare birds, and enjoy birdsong there. Even the panoramic view on the Hero Rock is not as broad as the sunlight rock, but with fewer people and noises, it’s a good place to relax and enjoy the sea breeze washes against faces. Visitors can take a cable car on the hillside of the Sunlight Rock and reach Qing Yuan directly.

Trinity Church

No.9: Trinity Church on Gulangyu Island 三一堂

Type: Religious Building

Opening Hour: all day long

Recommended Length of Visit: 0.5-1 hour

Location: Beside Shuzhuang Garden, Gulangyu Island (厦门市思明区鼓浪屿菽庄花园旁)

Gulangyu Island is a holy land of Christianity. Many churches can be found on the island, and the Trinity Church is one of them. The unique and distinctive architecture presents a rare cross shape. The octagonal bell tower stands in the middle of the yellow tile roof. The red walls are decorated with smooth triangular lines. Every weekend, Christians come to worship here.

Catholic Church & Union Church

No.10: Gulangyu Catholic Church & Union Church 天主堂&协和礼拜堂

Type: Religious Building

Opening Hour: only open on Sunday morning for Mass

Recommended Length of Visit: 0.5 hour

Location: No. 44, Zhangzhou Road (厦门市思明区漳州路44号)

The Catholic Church is the only Gothic church in Xiamen. The antechamber is a towering apiciform tower. There are 4 floors overall. On the second floor inside the choir, a large round rose inlaid window was set between two pairs of white and holy columns. If you want to take a picture of the church, the light is best in the morning. The Union church is the earliest established church on Gulangyu Island, located right on the opposite side of Catholic Church. It’s the place where Mr. Lin Yutang and his wife got married. Nowadays, these two churches have become popular places for couples taking wedding photos.

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