Xiamen is a little bit like the Florida of China. It’s a southern city that is popular with northerners in the winter months. There are beaches, palm trees, and plenty of attractions for visitors (though English is not as prevalent there as in some of the major cities like Beijing or Shanghai). It’s proximity to Taiwan also makes it a convenient place for savvy expats who need to leave the country occasionally on their tourist visas. We spent one month in Xiamen, and though we weather wasn’t as warm as we were promised, we still enjoyed the opportunity to spent some time outside, exploring a new continent with Baby Lisa. Here’s everything we’ve written so far about Xiamen, China.
If you aren’t traveling to get off the grid, you will find that a cell phone is a very useful thing to have in China. But not only won’t some of your favorite apps not work while you are in China (unless you have a VPN – see below), you also have the chance to try some really useful ones that you’ve never heard of before, but which are being used by over a billion Chinese people. After months in China, here’s our list of apps that we really couldn’t get by without.
If you are in China, much of the internet will be unavailable to you unless you have a VPN. Google Maps, Gmail, Facebook, Instagram and much more are all blocked by “The Great Firewall of China.” In this post, we go over what a VPN is, and review ExpressVPN, the service we have been using ever since we started traveling. Even if you aren’t in China, a VPN also provides security and anonymity as you browse the web.
The small island of GulangYu is the most popular attraction in Xiamen, China. And with it’s unique history and East-meets-West architecture, that’s no surprise. But most Westerners have never heard of the place – mostly because getting there and getting around can be a challenge for those who don’t speak English. In this post we go over how to explore GulangYu, including which ferries tourists are allowed to take, which places offer the best photography, what parts our toddler enjoyed the most.
While we were in Xiamen, enjoying the start of our year in Asia, we decided to start 2018 with some family portraits. We hadn’t done any in a while, so we hired a local photographer to show us around Gulangyu Island and take some photos of us. The nice thing about hiring a local photographer is that they know the scenery, so after our portraits were finished, we just took out our own cameras and tried our best to remember the route we had taken. This post is mostly about sharing our new family portraits. How do you think our Xiamen photographer compares to Jake? (Choose your words carefully!)