A Day in Quanzhou
Duration: 7 hours
Tour Code: XIA-005
Explore the treasures of ancient Quanzhou, once China's most important port, which include a sprawling Buddhist temple and a revered maritime museum.
Depart from the pier and begin driving northeast, leaving the populous island of Xiamen behind. The ever-changing landscape along the way is mesmerizing, particularly the approach to Quanzhou, which was once the largest seaport in China. Founded in the 8th century, the strategically located city has long been a trading center, especially during its first 700 years, before the port began to silt up.
Today, Quanzhou celebrates its storied past in monuments such as Kaiyuan Temple, which was built in 686. The province's largest Buddhist temple, it is an architectural wonder that incorporates designs from various dynasties. Carvings of flying musicians grace the 100 pillars that support the roof of Mahavira Hall, ancient tales are inscribed on the temple walls, and two stone pagodas tower nearby. As you wander about, admiring the visual splendor, you'll share in the serenity enjoyed by the more than 1,000 Buddhist monks that live here.
Then, after lunch at a local restaurant, you'll visit the Maritime Museum in Quanzhou, which was originally located at the Kaiyuan Temple. Now housed in a building appropriately shaped like a sailboat, the museum paints a vivid portrait of the city's maritime history. You'll see pottery, coins and medicinal herbs from shipwrecks, treasured Islamic relics, and the remains of a 1,000-year-old boat excavated from the harbor floor in 1974. After touring the museum, you'll drive back to Xiamen.
Please note: This tour includes approximately 2 1/2 hours of moderate walking with some steps to negotiate. The tour is not considered suitable for wheelchair guests or those with mobility concerns. Casual, weather appropriate clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended.