This Sunday is Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋节) in China, and this year it coincides with the October 1 national holiday, which means the entire country has a week-long holiday. While I was in China, it was only a week-long holiday for the national holiday. But, after I left, the government decided to promote traditional holidays and broke up the fall and May holidays–they left the regular national holidays in tact, but added the lunar holidays that are celebrated around the same time.
During my final year in China, my October holiday was spent in Fujian Province. The journey took me from Xiamen to the countryside to see the Hakka tulou. While it was great to see the tulou and get out to the countryside, I enjoyed a day trip on the tail-end of the holiday to Gulangyu.
Gulangyu was a haven for foreigners in Xiamen. The island holds on to its colonial architectural heritage–even the dilapidated buildings being renovated are in the same style. Aside from the holiday crowds, the island is a quiet respite from the busy city (and there are small portions that have fewer tourists during the holidays).
The only way to access the island is via public ferry. It’s a short ride, but it can get very crowded.