One of my favorite childhood pastimes was playing the real estate trading game "Monopoly" and getting the card "Advance token to Boardwalk"--the most expensive and profitable property, based on Atlantic City, NJ's boardwalk. Of course, I usually ended up paying exhorbitant rent, not receiving it. Opened June 26, 1870, the world¡¯s first boardwalk is still the most famous, with 7.5km. of casinos, restaurants, stores and amusements. But while boardwalks seem to be springing up all over the planet (click here for more), the most beautiful boardwalk on the planet (and one of the longest) is right here in Xiamen!
Island Ring Road is a 31km stretch of parks and
attractions unlike anything else on the planet, but it was almost too
big to enjoy except from afar, by bus or car (which as Chinese say is
akin to "viewing flowers from horseback"; zouma kan hua; ×ßÂí¿´»¨).
But our new boardwalk lets us appreciate our home's unique beauty, up
close and personal.
From Xiamen University
beach it extends a good 5 km., past Huli Fort, Music
Square, and numerous beaches, parks, and restaurants.
Eventually it will extend to the International Exhibition Center, well
over 10km away.
Some areas evoke
images of the Mediterranean, with sprawling white villas fronting the
blue sea. John Fischer claims one section reminds him of Monterey, California,
as it rises on a steel frame over the sea to skirt wind-lashed trees clinging
precariously to rocks. Still other sections are distinctly Chinese, with
colorful S. F¨²ji¨¤n fishing boats anchored just offshore, and open-air
traditional opera theaters.
has quickly become our favorite escape, and my wife and I walk it not
only every morning but many evenings as well, stopping only to rest in
the small wooden pavilions, or to inspect some of the countless works
Eventually most of
the walk will be lit up at night, but even now the ambient light level
is such that my wife and I have walked it (though carefully) on starless,
The boardwalk does have a few snags. For example, during the highest tides, such as we have during the mid-autumn festival, some sections are submerged. You¡¯d think the engineers could have asked a local fishermen how high the tides get! Most of the boardwalk is built of quality Dura-Guard pressure treated wood (from Virgnia, says Rod Ivall), but no wood can stand up to salt water long. I suspect they¡¯ll be raising some foundations soon¡ªor passing out snorkels! But all-in-all, I¡¯m amazed that Xiamen could conceive of, much less execute, such a delightful addition to our already picturesque Island. Back to Top AmoyMagic Guide to Xiamen and Fujian
So set your alarm to rise with the sun tomorrow and head straight for Boardwalk! (If only I could find Park Place for my car).
Xiamen Boardwalk Photos by Mark Lee Krangle, Prof. of English at Xiamen University (the girl in the photos is Suzi Yan)
Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York: most famous for amusement parks; still has the Cyclone roller coaster and Wonder Wheel Ferris Wheel, as well as the New York Aquarium.
Santa Cruz Boardwalk, California: California's first amusement park, opened in 1907, and famous for the Looff Carousel.
Venice Beach Boardwalk, California: 2.5 km. famous for Muscle Beach.
Virginia Beach Boardwalk, Virginia: 3 mile boarwalk with amusements, dining, and sporting venues.
Long Beach Boardwalk, Washington: Boardwalk and Discovery Trail; only half a mile long but popular because of its interpretive displays, great views, and picnicking facilities.
Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk, Delaware: 1 mile of Dolle's Candyland, Funland Amusement, shops and restaurants.
Myrtle Beach Boardwalk, South Carolina: known for its amusement parks, theaters, restaurants and shops, as well as a 9,000 square foot glass butterfly pavilion, aquarium, Imax theater, and 2700-seat Palace Theater.
And on and on...!
Last Updated: May 2007 Back to Top