Nestled on the base of Wulao Mountain (吴老山) just next the entrance to Xiamen University, Nanputuo (南普陀寺) is Xiamen's premier temple. With free admission, this Tang Dynasty era Buddhist temple attracts China's devout, and not-so-devout.
Even for the temple-weary, Nanputuo is worth a visit thanks to Wulao Mountain. A maze of stairs and pathways snake up the mountain behind the temple, past grottoes filled with figurines, and squeezing through narrow gaps between boulders. Those who complete the steep climb to the top of 190-meter Wulao Peak are rewarded with views of the temple below, adjacent Xiamen University, the sea, and Jinmen Island. From the top, you can have the option of entering the Xiamen botanical gardens via the back entrance. 515 Siming South Road, just west of the entrance to Xiamen University 思明南路515号厦门大学正门旁
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Vegetarian Cuisine in Nanputuo Temple
The most famous Buddhist temple in Xiamen is also home to the city's most famous vegetarian restaurant. What Nanputuo Vegetarian Restaurant (南普陀素菜馆) lacks in atmosphere, it makes up for in delicious, inexpensive, and healthy food. For the uninitiated, Chinese vegetarian cuisine is more than just vegetables side dishes in entree-sized portions. Soy- and protein-rich ingredients like tofu, mushrooms, and tubers substitute for meat. Great attention is paid to the shape, color, and texture of the dishes, with each resembling a work of art. Specials include taro paste with dried seaweed, luohan (a kind of fruit used in Chinese medicine), corn with pine nuts, tempeh stuffed in bamboo, and roasted, marinated flowers. East of the main entrance of Nanputuo Temple. 515 Siming South Road 思明南路515号南普陀寺正门东边