Browsing through the tourist guidebooks of Xiamen, or searching through Xiamen's tourism information websites, you will probably find major attractions that are often recommended are Gulangyu Island, Shuzhuang Garden, Sunlight Rock, Nanputuo Temple (Southern Buddhist Temple), Huli Shan Cannon Fort or Jimei School Village & Turtle Garden, and other traditional tour sites in Xiamen, those of which are all local cultural or historical attractions or places related to temples.
As Xiamen tourism develops quickly, more and more places are opening up to attract locals and travelers alike.
Here are some new and popular outdoor recreation spots in Xiamen, which are closer to nature and with modern facilities.
1) Yuanboyuan Garden
Open in 2007, Yuanboyuan is considered to be "a garden on the water, and the water in the garden".
The whole garden is composed of 9 themed gardens, each one representing the characteristics of the gardens in different areas. All the gardens are on separated isles and connected by bridges. There is Garden in South China style, Garden in modern style, Garden in North China style, International Garden, Garden in Lingnan style, Garden in nature, the public garden, Garden of ethnic customs, and Mintai Isle. It will take all day long for you to appreciate all the gardens earnestly. Even in the evening, Yuanboyuan gives all visitors a different and even more beautiful night scene by the colorful LED lighting. When passing by Yuanboyuan in the evening, one can be attracted by the view of " A Bright Moon Rising above the Sea" from afar.
When visiting there you can go by either walking or taking a sightseeing bus to appreciate the beauty of the garden. However, visiting by foot is more enjoyable.
2) Wuyuan Bay
The newly designed Wuyuan Bay is another dazzling pearl on the Round-the-Island Road (Huandao Road ). It is glamorous in terms of sceneries and leisure.
A number of appealing pictures form new scenic sights of Wuyuan Bay, such as the myriad twinkling lights of a seaside city, beaches, fishing spots, sailing boats, fishermen landings, evening songs by fishermen, unique customs of She ethnic group, and reflections of upturned eaves on water.
The most romantic highlight of Wuyuan Bay is not its Marina or any other venue or parks, but it's 5 bridges. According to the design concept of the "bright moon rising from sea level" of the Wuyuan Bridge, four arch bridges with their own unique names have been built on Wuyuan Bay to present a magnificent scene of five arch bridges standing along the entire bay. From afar the bridges almost look like being set side by side. 2 of the 5 bridges are terraced with steps and meant for pedestrians only. Here families, friends, couples or individuals can stroll etc.
Along the way you can view the sea, beach, pavement, grass, trees, sculpture, which form a beautiful water front corridor.
3) Dongping Mountain Park
Dongping Mountain Park, located inside the Wanshi Mountain Scenic Spot, is the best place in Xiamen City with natural landscape and rural scenery in an urban area.
Looking from a satellite map, it's a piece of green belt in the south of Xiamen. Unlike the single peak mountain, Dongping Mountain connects to Wucun Mountain, Banwei Mountain, Dacuo Mountain and Guanyin Mountain etc, forming the largest "green lung" on Xiamen island.
There is a Bougainvillea garden inside the Dongping Mountain Park. Bougainvillea is the city flower of Xiamen. There are greenhouses built for Bougainvillea, so that visitors can see the Bougainvillea in 4 seasons.
Just along the way to Dongping Shan Park, there is a newly discovered scenic attraction in Xiamen: the Strange Slope. It's called "strange" because when one goes uphill on the slope one feel's as if going downhill, and vice versa. According to research, there are only 11 such strange slopes discovered all over the world. Shenyang, Xiamen, Henan, Xi'an, Peking, Yilan, Taiwan, Uruguay, Korea, and America are the only countries with this phenomenon. The one in Xiamen is 70 metres long discovered by a taxi driver around 2006.
4) Wild Valley Tourist Area
Wild Valley Tourist Area is located at the junction of Longmen Tunnel in Anxi, 15 km southwest of Tong'an, Xiamen. Here, tourists can be expected to find the prettiest part of the Lianhua National Forest Park.
With good ecological environment, sound management, and good services, the Valley has been highly acclaimed and rated as one of the ten key tourist areas in Xiamen. The area has been prioritized for tourism development in recent years. Upon its full completion, the Valley will become an ecological friendly tourist spot, integrating tourism, holiday makers, entertainment facilities, trekking and exploration, agricultural land area, sightseeing spots, corporate training and team development base.
The Valley, featured with "forest, valley, waterfall, stream and rainforest", is renowned in China far and wide with unique, natural landscape in a primitive state, fresh air, a 5-kilometer gallery of valley, and jade-like waterscape. It is thus nicknamed "Juizhaigou of South Fujian".