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Xiamen University, colloquially known as Xia Da (厦大), located in Xiamen, Fujian province, is the first university in China founded by overseas Chinese. Established by Tan Kah Kee in 1921, the university was originally known as Amoy University.

I was surprised to see it make it on the top 10 of tripadvisor’s places to visit and recommended by the locals.

Xiamen university

Went there twice but couldn’t get in!!! argh…. This is the West Gate.

1. Visitor’s Schedule

You cannot just walk into the university just like that. The visitor’s schedule is limited to 12-2pm and the university apparently takes in only up to 1000 visitors so go early to queue!

If you miss the timing, you will have to wait until 5:30pm. There are no limit on the number of visitors during that time, but it is just a few hours before it gets dark.

If not, go on the weekends. (5000 tickets are available but you still need to reserve the tickets, then get snapped up fast!) I think there are people who just reserve the tickets to sell!

How do tourists get tickets into Xiamen University?

You basically need to go to the official wechat account to reserve tickets. The tickets get snapped up very fast. Once it’s open for reservations, do it!! Sources say that system opens at 12:28pm everyday for the tickets 2 days later.

Scan the QR code below to go to the wechat account of the university and click 我要预约, then 预约。good luck!

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2. Bring your passport

No ID, no entering!

3. Student Volunteers

If you go in the afternoon, there are student volunteers who can guide you where to go. However, there isn’t any if you were to go in the evening.

Xiamen University bookstore

One of the things you can buy from the university bookstore; a souvenir pullover.

4. No cycling allowed.

I thought it would be a good idea for visitors to cycle around the campus since it is so big. (especially with the bike-sharing bicycles like Ofo and Mobike available everywhere in China.) Unfortunately, no cycling is allowed in the campus (at least for visitors).

Visiting the university bookstore is a must!

5. Recommended routes

I haven’t explore the university enough to make a very good recommendation so if there is anyone qualified, please email me.

Based on my research and visit, this is what I recommend:

  1. Enter from the West Gate
  2. Immediately on the left, you will see a beautiful Tan Kah Kee-style building. Housed in the building is a beautiful bookstore which you can get souvenirs and sit down for tea.
  3. Eat at the cafeteria if you are hungry.
  4. Rest at the lake.
  5. Go to Furong tunnel. (enter from Furong East Road.)
xiamen university map

One of the more understandable map with the important sights if you don’t understand Chinese. Just walk from the West Gate (on the left) to the Furong Tunnel (on the right)

There are a lot of nanyang (Tan Kah Kee-style) buildings which are close to a hundred years old which you can see along the way.

After all, Xiamen University is China’s first university funded by an overseas Chinese. The rubber tycoon who made his fortune in Singapore is known for setting up schools in Singapore and Xiamen.

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Over 100 paintings in Furong Tunnel which cuts through a mountain. Image Credit: What’s On Xiamen

I heard that if you are a Mr Tan’s descendants, you get a 20 marks bonus for the university entrance exams because of his contribution to education!  Talk about privileges!!

6. Other attractions and sights near Xiamen University

If you are in the area, you should also visit:

  • Nanputuo (go by the Campus’ North Gate) – One of China’s most famous temple. You can hike up the hill for a view of the city or eat vegetarian food there.
  • Xiamen Huandao Road or Xiamen Islet Ring Road (go by the Campus’ back gate) – Sandy beach in the area. Cycle along the promenade. When you are tired, simply sit down at one of the many cafes.
  • Zeng Cuo An village (2-3 stops away from Xiamen University’s gate. If you are good walker, after exiting the campus on the backgate, walk along the Huandao Road and you will see it on the left side, eventually. Cross the overhead bridge.. tada!) – A old street town with lots of street food and souvenirs. Reminds me to Taiwan night market; food are rather similar frankly!
  • Shapowei (about 10min’s walk from the West Gate, in the Southwest direction.) – Where do the undergrads hang out? There are lots of food and coffee joints here for you to rest your feet and just chill.