In the old days, the Chinese island of Xiamen was known as Amoy, and it carved out a healthy reputation as a foreign concession in the early 20th century. It later became one of China's first Special Economic Zones to give capitalism a try in the 1990s. All this has given Xiamen a healthy dose of modern success.
Sightseeing in Xiamen begins in the historic quarter with its fantastic colonial shop houses. Other sites are arranged on hillsides around the city, each with their own view over the sea and the city center.
Fujian cuisine prevails in Xiamen, but a few decades of heavy colonial influence left their mark. As a result, everything seems authentic, from the local soups to the foreign steaks.
Xiamen may very well be the most Westernized city in China, at least when it comes to public sensibilities and general atmosphere. It doesn't come near rivaling Shanghai in terms of modern success, but it's still a delightful destination for Western tourists. With all-around pleasant weather and a solid transportation network, Xiamen is suitable for visitors in every season.
Xiamen was one of the first Chinese cities where tightly-controlled capitalism was given a chance. Early investment from Taiwan paved the way for modern infrastructure and shopping malls that rival those in any major city.
Xiamen puts on a good show for residents and visitors alike. A pleasing range of activities is supported throughout the year, with something to suit everyone. Beyond a sprinkling of Western-style nightclubs, most of the entertainment options have a distinct Chinese air.