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While China is famous for its Great Wall and big exciting cities, its islands are less well known. But they are also well worth exploring, as you will see when you arrive on Gulangyu, just off the coast of Xiamen. This car-free island is dotted with colonial mansions and sandy beaches. A ferry crossing of just 10 minutes whisks you to a world away from the busy mainland.
Xiamen consists of a mainland section and an island that goes by the same name. Portuguese, British, French and Dutch seafarers all came to Xiamen and nearby Gulangyu Island centuries ago. While their attempts to establish ports there failed time and time again, they built mansions, consulates, schools and churches which still adorn the streets. This history is especially evident on Gulangyu. And since there are no cars on the island, pedestrians can make the most of the less than 2 square kilometres of beaches and architectural heritage.
“The Lee Inn boutique hotel and its enclosed garden exude history”