When thinking of taking a trip to China, we admit that Quanzhou probably wouldn’t be one of the few places that would come to mind. However, allow us to change your mind because we changed ours after our recent visit there.
We detailed our adventures in our previous articles, of course, such as 8 Fun and Exciting Things to Do in Quanzhou and JinJiang, China, as well as 8 Important Religious Sites, Showcase The Importance Of Old Silk Road’s Quanzhou in China. But to give you a gist of some of our favourite memories there, have a look here:
1. Houses Made of Oyster Shells
Xunpu, an oyster fishing village located 10 kilometres away from Quanzhou city, specialises in their oyster import to the point where houses, called héké cuò / ô-khak chhò (蚵壳厝) are made of oyster shells too!
2. The Intricacy of Xunpu Women’s Hairstyles
The Xunpu ladies wear traditional floral tunics (which are usually pink), loose black trousers and their hair is normally styled up into a chignon with colourful flower garlands. This particular style is called zanhuawei/chiām-hoa-ûi (簪花围). The Xunpu women were also known to not practise foot binding during the imperial area, a trait which supposedly is owed to the theory that the Xunpu descended from Arab traders, although most of them now are devout Mazu followers.
3. Kids Training at the Southern Shaolin Monastery
The Southern Shaolin Monastery was reputedly the spot where southern martial arts were first founded. If you’re a fan of martial arts, you’d be even more delighted to see little young ones enthusiastically practising!
4. Proof of Religious and Cultural Diversity
If you happen to check out Quanzhou Museum, you’ll come across relics that span several important religions such as Hindu-Buddhism, Islam, Christianity as well as Manichaeism. Quanzhou is such a cultural and religious melting pot!
5. Chongwu Ancient City
At a glance, this area might just be a set of a Chinese period drama. But it gets better, the story behind it is even more interesting. This ‘wall’ city was built as a defence barrier against the Japanese, so you’d literally be visiting a huge part of history.
6. Wudianshi Traditional Blocks
Imagine traditional buildings smack in the middle of the city, and stepping into it would make you feel like you travelled dynasties back. That’s how Wudianshi feels like. Set against the backdrop of the city, despite how ‘olden’ these buildings look, they actually house pretty neat spots such as souvenir shops, cafes, restaurants and the like.
7. Larger-Than-Life Lao Tse Statue
Perched at the foot of Mount Qingyuan is this giant stone Lao Tse statue that attracts visitors all-year-round, who pay tribute to this famous Tao philosopher and poet of ancient China.
8. Breathtaking Pagodas at Kaiyuan Temple
We’ve all romanticised pagodas especially through paintings and movies but to see one up close is just breathtaking. When you have the chance, ask your tour guide about the stories behind the carvings and depictions on walls and pagodas…you’ll be most fascinated!
9. The Attention-Grabbing Puppet Show on Xi Jie (West Lane)
The arts scene is very much alive in the city of Quanzhou, and it is a must to book yourself a spot at the West Street puppet show theatre. Watch talented puppeteers tell stories in an immersive, amusing and totally entertaining way.
10. The Majesty of Water Rock Temple Perched on the Edge of a Cliff
Now, this looks like a scene out of a painting, but you get to see it in the flesh! Just imagine the amount of work and creativity as well as the groundbreaking techniques used to create this majestic temple! P/S it’s likely going to be scorching hot on your way there, but just know that there is an ice-cream booth within the vicinity of the temple.
11. The Renting of Hui’an Costumes, Complete with Fake Bangs
Just like the Xunpu, Hui’an folk also have their own attire. They typically wear short jackets, loose pants and colourful scarves on their heads. Pay attention to their belts, as they could give you insight as to how ‘wealthy’ their family is. They also have very interesting wedding and marriage customs: newlyweds are not allowed to stay together on their wedding night, and the bride and groom are forbidden to live together or even talk to each other until the bride bears a child!
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