When you have a stopover in Xiamen you'll be flying into the Xiamen-Gaoqi International Airport. It's located twelve kilometers from the city on the northern tip of Xiamen Island. XMN is not a large airport but still ranks in the top ten of China's busiest, handling on average thirty million passengers annually.
To be able to leave the airport and go into Xiamen during your layover you will need to apply for a transit stay permit on arrival. They are valid for up to 144 hours and entitle you to visit Xiamen only. The Chinese immigration authorities do not permit visitors to travel to any city other than Xiamen. Once you've been issued with a permit there are a couple of options for getting into Xiamen from the airport. It's a ten-kilometer trip you can make by taxi that takes around twenty minutes.
6 hour layover in Xiamen
When you're on a six-hour layover in Xiamen it won't be long enough to be able to complete all the required paperwork needed to be able to go into Xiamen, get through immigration, and collect your bags. Staying in the airport is your only option and there's not a great deal to do there.
- Make sure you slip a good book into your hand luggage as it will come in handy to help pass the time until your Xiamen connection takes off.
- The airport lounges are a good choice for somewhere peaceful to relax between flights and the entrance fee includes food and drinks so you won't need to wander around searching for it.
8 hour layover in Xiamen
If you were able to get a transit visa to allow you to leave the airport organized quickly enough, drop your bags at a Xiamen luggage storage service and jump in a cab to Huweishan Park. There you can take a leg stretch by strolling along the meandering trails through the woodlands and up the hill to the Pearl Tower. Climb up the stairs to the 19th-floor viewing deck and you'll see pretty much all of the city spread out below you. If you have time, go back down one floor and you'll find a museum.
- You can still go up the Pearl Tower when you're on an evening layover in Xiamen as it stays open until nine-thirty at night.
- Treat yourself to a posh lunch or dinner at the Zen5es restaurant in the Westin Xiamen Hotel from where there are amazing views of the city.
10 hour layover in Xiamen
When you have a ten-hour Xiamen stopover you'll have time to take in a few of the city sights. Take a cab or hire a private driver-guide to ferry you from the airport to the Haicang district. You'll drive through Xiamen then over the impressive Haicang Bridge from where you'll be able to see multiple islets in the river. It's a scenic ride with lots of photo opportunities that, once you're back on the other side of the bridge, will leave you with enough spare time to visit the Xiamen Science and Technology Museum or indulge in some retail therapy.
- If science and technology aren't of interest to you, consider visiting the Xiamen Olympic Museum instead.
- To see some astounding ancient Chinese architecture and amazing views head for the south of the island and the Putuo Temple. The enormous pagoda-style temple sits high up on a hill and is surrounded by tranquil gardens. It's a great spot for nurturing the soul and restoring mental and bodily calm during your stopover.
12 hour layover in Xiamen
When you have a twelve-hour long layover you'll be able to head out of the city and go to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Daping Lou. There you'll find the Hakka villages that are made of unique circular mud huts with thatched roofs that have been built in clusters. The villages are usually located on a hillside or by a river so the landscapes around them are incredibly scenic.
- When you’re going to Daping Lou it’s definitely not the day to have left your camera behind in an airport luggage locker so make sure not to leave without it.
- Discover more about Xiamen and its island's culture by taking a guided tour of the food markets where the locals shop. Be brave and taste something you've never seen before. It'll really enhance the experience.
24 hour layover in Xiamen
When you have an overnight layover in Xiamen there's one thing you really shouldn't miss doing and that's visiting Gulangyu Island. Step off the ferry and it'll be like stepping back in time as the island is almost completely pedestrianized. You can either explore by walking or use an electric cart. Bicycles aren't allowed either, but as the island is only two kilometers square, it is easily manageable on foot.
- After you've wandered around the streets for a while, find a good spot on the first beach you see and have a relaxing hour before catching the ferry back to Xiamen.
- The ferry from Xiamen to Gulangyu Island takes about twenty minutes to make the trip. There are frequent departures throughout the day but services terminate earlier in winter and spring than they do in the summer and autumn.