Not speaking Chinese, we found many people to help us, even if we didn’t share a language. Many English speakers were kids, who liked to show their parents what they had learned
First, my advice is never go on the weekends, any season. I have family in Xiamen and went with them the first time on a weekend and I backed out (to everyone's relief) when I saw the queue. Family were obviously there for... More
First, my advice is never go on the weekends, any season. I have family in Xiamen and went with them the first time on a weekend and I backed out (to everyone's relief) when I saw the queue. Family were obviously there for me. I tried again by myself on a Monday and booked one night stay for Tuesday. Second, there are many windows and foreigners must go to the allocated windows because it is a higher fare (even Chinese citizens who do not have a Xiamen ID pay a higher fare), however it is not immediately obvious which one is for foreigner so find a security person, show them your passport and they will direct you to the right window. In general, local people are very nice. Third, be sure to take as early of ferry to the island as possible. I got there for the 3 pm ferry on a Monday and it was still a long queue to board and standing room only but better than weekends when we had to fight to even get into the terminal. Leaving the island, take the ferry before 11 ish or so. Travel very light, there is no place for luggage on the ferry, not enough seats, and people push, run, shove, cut, etc. Just stay put, look ahead, and don't give an inch. Don't get upset, this is the way it is, Chinese have had to fight for everything they have and therefore, it is normal and people don't mean to be rude. Lastly, forget the low roads by the boulevard, it is very commercial, same foods, products, etc. Take the high roads up and be sure to visit the Piano Museum at the very top of Gulangyu.