Must see attractions in Fujian

  • Sights in Fujian Tulou

    Chéngqǐ Lóu

    In the village of Gaobei (高北), this 300-year-old tǔlóu has 400 rooms and once housed 1000 inhabitants. It’s built with elaborate concentric rings, with circular passageways between them and a central shrine. It’s one of the most iconic and photographed tǔlóu, and it’s no surprise that it has been dubbed the king tǔlóu.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Fuzhou

    Sānfāng Qīxiàng

    This ‘downtown’ series of ancient residential buildings is known as ‘Three Lanes and Seven Alleys'. Thousands of visitors wander the white-walled streets daily, passing the traditional architecture and the hectic shopping strip on Nanhou Jie, then resting at a cafe on the canal. Constructed in the late Jin dynasty around the 12th century, the residences prospered 400 years later during Ming and then Qing rule. For some peace, duck down quieter side streets, especially by night when red lanterns are illuminated.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Quanzhou

    Guandi Temple

    This magnificently carved temple is immediately identifiable by its showy dragon-decorated roofs and a shroud of smoke emanating from furnaces burning prayer books stuffed in by devotees. It’s dedicated to Guan Yu, a Three Kingdoms general who was deified as the god of war. Inside the temple are statues of the god and wall panels that detail his life. Busy merchants gather outside. By night the temple is lit up in wonderfully gawdy fairy lights.

  • Sights in Fujian Tulou

    Zhènchéng Lóu

    This most visited tǔlóu is a grandiose structure built in 1912, with two concentric circles and 222 rooms. The four storeys of the outer circle are impressive against a mountainous backdrop. The ancestral hall in the centre of the tǔlóu is complete with Western-style pillars. The locals dub this tǔlóu wángzǐ (土楼王子), the prince tǔlóu.

  • Sights in Xiamen

    Nanputuo Temple

    This Buddhist temple complex on the southern side of Xiamen is one of the most famous temples among the Fujianese, and is also considered a pilgrimage site by dedicated followers from Southeast Asia. The temple has been repeatedly destroyed and rebuilt. Its latest incarnation dates from the early 20th century, and today it’s an active and busy temple with chanting monks and worshippers lighting incense.

  • Sights in Quanzhou

    Cao’an Manichaean Temple

    This quirky temple is dedicated to Manichaeism, a religion originating in Persia in the 3rd century, combining elements of Zoroastrian, Christian and Gnostic thought, which reached China in the 7th century. The well-restored stone complex you see today is a rebuild dating to the Yuan dynasty (14th century). The most remarkable relic in the temple is the ‘Buddha of Light', a sitting stone statue in the main hall, which is actually the prophet Mani, founder of Manichaeism, in a Buddhist disguise.

  • Sights in Wuyi Shan

    Wuyi Shan Scenic Area

    Trails within the scenic area connect all the major sites. Good walks include the 530m Great King Peak (大王峰, Dàwáng Fēng), accessed through the main entrance by shuttle bus, and the 410m Heavenly Tour Peak (天游峰, Tiānyóu Fēng), where an entrance is reached by road up the Nine Twists River. The main entrance to the Wuyi Shan Scenic Area is the south entrance, 3km south of the resort area. Take bus 6 or 7 (¥1, 22 minutes, frequent) to the Jǐngqū Nán Rùkǒu (景区南入口) stop.

  • Sights in Quanzhou

    Kaiyuan Temple

    In the northwest of the city, one of the oldest temples in Quanzhou dates back to AD 686 and is the largest in Fujian. Surrounded by trees, Kaiyuan Temple is famed for its pair of rust-coloured, five-storey stone pagodas, stained with age and carved with figures that date from the 13th century. Behind the eastern pagoda is a museum containing the enormous hull of a Song dynasty seagoing junk, which was excavated near Quanzhou in 1974.

  • Sights in Gulang Yu

    Sunlight Rock Park

    Sunlight Rock (Rìguāng Yán), in Sunlight Rock Park, is the island’s highest point at 93m and its biggest draw are the views across the island. At the foot of Sunlight Rock is a large colonial-era building known as the Koxinga Memorial Hall. Also in the park is Yīngxióng Hill (Yīngxióng Shān), near the memorial hall and connected via a cable-car ride. It has an open-air aviary (admission free) with chattering egrets and parrots.

  • Sights in Fujian Tulou

    Tǎxià

    This delightful river settlement boasts several tǔlóu -converted guesthouses and it is a great base from which to explore the tǔlóu areas. The highlight of the village is the Zhang Ancestral Hall. It is surrounded by 23 elaborately carved spear-like stones, which celebrate the achievements of prominent villagers. The bus station in Nanjing runs six buses (¥20, 1½ hours) to the village between 8am and 5.30pm.

  • Sights in Quanzhou

    Maritime Museum

    On the northeastern side of town, this fabulous museum explains Quanzhou’s trading history, the development of Chinese shipbuilding and the kaleidoscope of religions in the port’s heyday. The Religious Stone Hall and Islamic Culture Hall are highlights, boasting a beautiful collection of gravestones and reliefs of different religions dating from the Yuan dynasty. Take bus 7 or 203 and alight at Qiáoxiāng Tǐyùguǎn (侨乡体育馆).

  • Sights in Wuyi Shan

    Xiamei

    This village dates from the Northern Song dynasty and boasts some spectacular Qing dynasty architecture from its heyday as a wealthy tea-trading centre, including about 30 ancient houses. Motorbikes in the Wuyi Shan resort area can take you 11km (about 20 minutes) northeast to Xiamei (¥50 return trip). Admission includes a free local guide (Chinese only) if you wish.

  • Sights in Gulang Yu

    Shuzhuang Garden

    The waterfront Shuzhuang Garden on the southern end of the island is a lovely place to linger for a few hours. It has a small pénzāi (bonsai) garden, some delicate-looking pavilions and a rock garden with the 12 animal statues of the Chinese zodiac. A piano museum housed within the grounds holds one piano with its original bill of sale from Melbourne at the turn of the 20th century.

  • Sights in Xiamen

    Bailuzhou Park

    Xiamen positions itself as China’s most liveable city and this huge green expanse on an islet north of town is a quiet exclamation mark on that claim. Perfect for families or broken souls who need to touch grass for a while.

  • Sights in Fujian Tulou

    Yùchāng Lóu

    The tallest roundhouse in Fujian, this vast five-floor structure has 270 rooms and an observation tower to check for marauding bandits. Interestingly this 300-year-old property’s pillars bend at an angle on the 3rd floor and at the opposite angle on the 5th floor. Each room and kitchen on the ground floor has its own well.

  • Sights in Quanzhou

    Lingshan Islamic Cemetery

    Set at the foot of the mountain of Língshān, this leafy cemetery is one of the most intact historic cemeteries in China. Two of Mohammed’s disciples are said to be buried here, and you’ll also find some granite steles dating from the Ming dynasty. Take bus 7 or 203 and hop off at Shèngmùzhàn (圣墓站).

  • Sights in Fujian Tulou

    Yunshuiyao Village

    Between the Héguì and Huáiyuǎn tǔlóu in the Yunshuiyao Tulou Cluster is this beautiful village (formerly known as ancient Chángjiào) where you can sip tea under the big banyan trees and watch water buffalo in the river. The village has a few guesthouses that offer rooms (from ¥100).

  • Sights in Xiamen

    Kaihe Lu Fish Market

    In the old district of Xiamen, this tiny but lively market sells various (weird) sea creatures to a backdrop of qílóu (骑楼, shophouses) and a church. Access is from Xiahe Lu, where you can also find some Taiwanese food.

  • Sights in Fujian Tulou

    Héguì Lóu

    This tallest rectangular tǔlóu in Fujian has five storeys and was built on a swamp. It boasts 120 rooms, a school, two wells, and a fortified courtyard in front of the entrance. The mammoth structure was built in 1732.

  • Sights in Gulang Yu

    Guāncǎi Lóu

    This residence built in 1931 has a magnificently dilapidated interior with a wealth of original features. Unfortunately it has remained closed to the public in recent years, but the facade can still be enjoyed.