In the south of the Republic of China, in Fujian province, stands the greenest of China's cities: Xiamen. Unlike its neighbor Taiwan, Xiamen, affectionately nicknamed the "garden on the sea", acts as a natural break from the China that is bustling and busy, and, at times, hectic But when visitors lose themselves on the beautiful island of Gulangyu, just a couple of miles off the coast, a whole new China is discovered. Especially since no cars or scooters can be driven here which goes a long way to helping to preserve the island's peaceful bliss.

A real hotspot of Xiamen and its region, the island is a true paradise for those who love the Asian vibe, whether natural or cultural. With the almost supernatural peace that this place offers, light years away from the busy city of Xiamen, Gulangyu is an elegy to Chinese tranquility, with its green landscapes that are an ode to timeless relaxation. Although it's hard to leave this peaceful bubble when you're back on dry land in Xiamen you'll discover its great quality of life, exuded by its white university, a harmonious place whose size (540 hectares) casts its influence across the whole of China.

More of a spiritual place at times, the city has many heritage treasures, like the Nanputuo Temple, nestled into Wulaofeng mountain, known as the Five Old Men. An exquisite pleasure emanates from the place, with its lodges capped by typical Chinese roofs that enchant and bewitch as they transport the traveler to medieval China. With an enveloping warmth, once night falls Xiamen becomes adorned with red lanterns and enveloped by dizzying scents, as it becomes one of China's liveliest night-time locations. To experience the pinnacle of this nocturnal life, you need to head for Alluvion Egret Park and watch the ethnic dances and spectacular fountains.

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