Since ancient times, Kinmen has been known as the "fairy island of the sea", and the natural scenery on the island is refreshing. 金门还保留了闽南地区的民俗风情，金门人和厦门人在饮食文化、生活习惯等方面也有很多相同之处。 When I traveled to Xiamen before, I went to the opposite Kinmen to see, where I was very impressed, I want to tell you what I saw and heard through this article, I hope you can learn about the most real Kinmen!
1. Kinmen Island was originally part of Quanzhou City, Fujian Province, but due to historical reasons, it is now administered by Taiwan Province. Kinmen Island is strategically located in the middle of the Taiwan Strait and is a bridge connecting the mainland and Taiwan. Kinmen Island also has a good port, with a good deep-water port, and is an important maritime transportation hub. Kinmen Island is also not small, with enough land resources to develop agriculture and tourism. However, the population of Kinmen Island is very small, only more than 100,000 people, and the economic level is also very low, compared with Xiamen Island, the gap is very large. The advantage of Kinmen Island is that it has abundant plant resources, a good natural environment, no pollution, no crowding, fresh air and beautiful scenery.
2. The area of Kinmen Island and Xiamen Island is about the same, both of which are about 150 square kilometers. Kinmen Island consists of the Great Kinmen, the Little Kinmen and a number of small islands, Xiamen Island includes the small islands of Xiamen Main Island and Gulangyu Island. The shape of the two islands is different, Xiamen Island is like a round ball, and the big Kinmen Island is like a butterfly, and it is not clear who is big and who is small on the map, in fact, the area of the two islands is about the same. Kinmen Island and Xiamen Island are also geographically close, separated only by a strait about 2 kilometers wide, and there is a ferry between the two islands, which can be reached in only half an hour.
3. The permanent population of Kinmen is only more than 130,000, but the per capita GDP has reached more than 170,000 yuan, although it is not as average as the average level of Taiwan Province, but the quality of life of Kinmen people is very high, because the county's medical care and education are free, Kinmen people do not have to spend money for these basic public services, and the elderly over 65 years old can also receive a pension of 1,500 yuan per month, which is twice that of other parts of Taiwan. Kinmen County is also one of the happiest areas in Taiwan, and the people of Kinmen are satisfied with their lives and confident in the future.
4. Kinmen is a place very similar to the county seat in the seventies and eighties in the mainland, with vast land and a sparse population, mainly agriculture, although the city streets are old but clean, and the countryside is lonely but full of greenery. Kinmen's main agricultural products are sorghum, sweet potatoes, peanuts, etc., and in addition to agriculture, there are also fishing and aquaculture. The level of industry in Kinmen is very low, with only one state-run Kinmen Sorghum Distillery, and the rest are small handicraft workshops. The people of Kinmen live a simple and unpretentious life, not pursuing luxury and glitz, but also losing their style and charm.
5. There are very few buildings on Kinmen Island, which is very lonely compared with the high-rise buildings on Xiamen Island. This is especially true on Little Kinmen Island, where there are only a few small villages, and the island's inhabitants are scattered and there is no bustling scene. As you can see on the map, most of the island is barren and shows no signs of development, only some crops grown by the Zhou family show some vitality. The people of Kinmen Island live a simple and peaceful life, they follow the rhythm of nature, get up early and go to bed early, work and rest, and enjoy the beauty of tranquility every day in the company of the sunset.
6. The people of Kinmen are very hospitable, they are very friendly and polite to tourists from the mainland, and their service attitude is also very good, which makes people feel very comfortable. The young ladies of Kinmen speak very loudly, which has a Taiwanese flavor and makes people feel very cute. The streets of Kinmen are very clean, there are no garbage cans, because the locals take their garbage home or throw it in designated places, and they all love the environment of Kinmen. There is very little nightlife in Kinmen, and the locals go to bed early, so if you want to eat a late-night snack, you can only go to a convenience store, where there are many delicious things, such as hot spring eggs, fried oysters, bamboo shoot jelly, etc., which are very Taiwanese and southern Fujian style snacks.
7. In Kinmen, you can experience a strong Hokkien style, you can talk to the locals in Hokkien dialect, and you can easily communicate with them. But in addition to the southern Fujian style, you can also feel some Taiwanese characteristics, such as seeing some traditional Chinese characters with a sense of history, and hearing some soft Taiwanese accents. These are the connections between Kinmen and Taiwan Province, and they are also the differences between Kinmen and the mainland. Golden Gate is a place with a complex history and diverse culture, where you can see different landscapes, hear different sounds, and feel different atmospheres.
8. The people of Kinmen have a very unique vision, and they have long taken a fancy to the real estate market in Xiamen, and they have bought more than 3,000 houses in Xiamen. These houses are good projects to make money, and the price was low when they were bought, and now it has risen several times. Some Kinmen people have added several more houses at once, and their wealth has risen along with housing prices, and their houses in Xiamen have really doubled! Therefore, the people of Kinmen are full of praise for Xiamen and praise it as a place where wealth is abundant.
9. Kinmen's fresh water resources are very scarce, and the lakes are very shallow, which has brought great difficulties to Kinmen's economic development and people's lives. In order to solve the water problem, Kinmen had to pump a lot of groundwater, but this in turn led to over-exploitation of groundwater, causing the water table to drop and the quality of water to deteriorate. In order to improve this situation, Fujian Province has invested nearly 400 million yuan in the construction of a project to transport fresh water from Fujian to Kinmen through an undersea pipeline, providing a stable source of water for Kinmen. This project not only embodies the family affection and friendship between the two sides of the strait, but also promotes cross-strait economic and cultural exchanges and cooperation.
10. There are three things in Kinmen that are called the "Three Treasures of Kinmen", that is, Kinmen kitchen knife, Kinmen sorghum wine, and Kinmen tribute sugar. These are the most popular souvenirs for mainland tourists when they visit Kinmen. Among them, the Kinmen kitchen knife is the most distinctive, because it is made of cannonballs, so it has a mysterious charm, and it is also a commodity that the tour guide especially recommends to mainland tourists. The tour guide will also say that in the past, when the girls in Xiamen got married, they had to prepare a Kinmen kitchen knife as a dowry, and when the brother of the soldier in Kinmen returned to Taiwan, he also had to buy a bottle of Kinmen sorghum for his father and a Kinmen kitchen knife for his mother, because in Hokkien dialect, the pronunciation of the kitchen knife is the same as "Cai Dao". Such a kitchen knife can be used not only to chop vegetables, but also to defend oneself, and can also attract wealth.
11. Kinmen sorghum liquor is the first of Taiwan's three treasures, and it is a fragrant liquor, which is as famous as Moutai and Wuliangye in China. The raw material of Kinmen sorghum wine is Kinmen's unique dryland sorghum, and the water source is Kinmen's Baoyue Shenquan, which is a natural mineral water with sweet and clear water. The production process of Kinmen sorghum liquor is also very particular, which has to go through multiple steps such as fermentation, distillation, and cellaring, using traditional ancient methods, and is personally controlled by experienced brewers. The taste of Kinmen sorghum wine is affected by the natural environment and climate of Kinmen, with the flavor of the sea, fragrant but not greasy, mellow but not strong, sweet but not bitter. With a market share of more than 80% in Taiwan, and sales reached NT$38 billion in 2022, Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor is the most popular liquor brand in Taiwan.
12. The currency used in Kinmen is Taiwan dollars, although many stores now support electronic payment methods such as WeChat and Alipay, but some snack bars still only accept Taiwan dollars. If it is a two-day and one-night trip, if it is two people, it is recommended to exchange 2000-3000 Taiwan dollars, which should be enough. If you run out of NT$ in Kinmen, don't worry, you can withdraw NT$ directly from a mainland bank card at an ATM, which is very simple. However, it should be noted that the exchange rate on the ATM may be lower than that of the bank, and there is a certain fee, so it is best not to withdraw too much, just take what you need.
13. Tickets to Kinmen can be purchased in advance online, you can buy one-way or round-trip, the one-way ticket price is about 150-170 yuan, but it depends on the specific time and ship type. On the return trip, when you change your boarding card at Kinmen Pier, you will have to pay an additional 100 Taiwan dollars for cleaning, which is to maintain the environmental hygiene of Kinmen. It takes about 30 minutes to ferry from Xiamen Wutong Pier to Kinmen Shuitou Pier, and there are seats and air-conditioning on board, as well as drinks and snacks, but it's best not to eat too much to avoid seasickness.
14. If you want to go to Taiwan Island for free travel, you need to go through a lot of procedures, such as entry permits or visas, but if you only want to go to Kinmen Island, then the procedures are much simpler. As long as you are a resident of a city with free travel, you can apply for a G visa, which is an endorsement for personal travel, and then you can choose to apply for an entry permit in advance, or you can choose to apply for a landing visa at Kinmen Wharf, that is, a deposit permit. We decided to go to Kinmen on a temporary basis, so we added a G visa to the Taiwan pass before departure, and then chose the way to get a visa on arrival. The cost of the visa on arrival is NT$400, and there is a NT exchange window at Xiamen Pier where you can exchange TWD. After arriving at Kinmen Wharf, you need to fill out some forms, show your ID card and Taiwan pass (with G visa), you don't need to prepare a photo, you can queue up for a landing visa, and after getting the deposit card, you can clear customs.
15. Although the area of Kinmen Island is not large, there are many scenic spots, and you can't finish it in one day. Many people's impression of Kinmen is still stuck in the history of war, in fact, Kinmen not only has the relics of war, but also beautiful natural scenery and rich folk culture. On the west coast of Kinmen, there are many war-related attractions, such as bunkers, forts, history museums, etc., while in the east of the central part of Kinmen, there is the Shenghengchang Duty-Free Shop, where you can buy a lot of duty-free goods. If you only have half a day, you can choose to rent an electric car at a car dealership, so you can explore all parts of Kinmen freely.
16. The ancient houses of Kinmen are a major feature of Kinmen, which is a traditional Hokkien architecture, built of stone and adobe, with heavy walls and delicate carvings, forming a unique style. If you want to see the complete ancient house settlement, you can go to Shanhou Folk Culture Village in Jinsha Town, which has the largest group of ancient houses in Kinmen and has different theme pavilions that showcase the history and culture of Kinmen. You can see the internal structure of the ancient house, understand the etiquette and customs of the ancient house, and feel the charm and atmosphere of the ancient house. You can also taste Kinmen's specialty snacks there, such as fried spring rolls, peanut candy, shortbread, etc., all made with Kinmen's local ingredients and delicious.
17. Public transportation in Kinmen is not well developed, if you want to visit the various attractions in Kinmen conveniently, you can choose to take a tourist bus, which is a service specially provided for tourists, with multiple lines, covering the main attractions of Kinmen, there are two options, half-day and full-day, and the price is also very reasonable. The departure point of the tour bus is Jincheng Station, where you can buy tickets or 711, there is only one bus a day, departing at 8:25 am or 13:25 pm, so arrange your time well in advance. There are professional tour guides on the tour bus, who will introduce tourists to the history and scenery of Kinmen, so that you can have a deeper understanding of Kinmen. At each attraction, tourists can get off the bus to take pictures or visit without worrying about being in a hurry.
18. Although Kinmen is a place with a low degree of development, it is also part of Taiwan Province, so you can also feel Taiwan's modernization and convenience there. In the county town and town of Kinmen, you can see many Taiwanese convenience stores and snack bars, and you can buy a lot of Taiwanese goods and food, such as bubble tea, nougat, meatballs, bean curd, etc., all of which are very Taiwanese. You can also buy a lot of duty-free things at the duty-free shops in Kinmen, such as cosmetics, perfumes, liquor, etc., all at cheap prices. You can also see Taiwanese movies in Golden Lion Cinema in Kinmen, which are very different from mainland movies, and you can learn about Taiwan's culture and social features.
Overall, Kinmen is a very well-worth visiting, and spending two or three days will be a unique travel experience!