Meizhou Island, located in the middle of Fujian, takes up an area of 14.35 square kilometres with the coastline of 30.4 kilometre and a population of 38,000. The convenient transportation by water and land makes Meizhou Bay one of the four major international transit ports in China. It is about 1.8 sea miles to Putian, 72 sea miles to Taichung Port of Taiwan, 100 sea miles to Xiamen Port in the south and 70 sea miles to Mawei Port of Fuzhou in the north. It became a national tourist attraction in 1992.
Mazu Statue at Meizhou Island
Meizhou Island, well-known as the hometown of Mazu, the Goddess of Peace or Sea Goddness, and the origin of Mazu Culture, is recognized as the “Oriental Mecca”. It has a great influence among overseas Chinese especially among Taiwan people.
Mazu, named Lin Mo, was a mysterious girl in Meizhou, Putian, at the beginning of the Song Dynasty. She was kindhearted and helped people who were in trouble during her life. And even after her death, her spirit always rescued fishermen and seafaring traders. Therefore, Mazu is widely respected by the later generations.
Mazu culture is very popular among people in Fujian and Taiwan. Worshipping is the biggest and most influential cultural event during a year. Every year on March 23 (Chinese lunar calendar), the birthday of Mazu, and September 9 (Chinese lunar calendar), the anniversary of Mazu’s death, locals and thousands of believers from Taiwan come to Meizhou Island and hold worshipping ceremonies.
While on Mazu Island, you may notice that the women’s hair is coiled in the shape of a ship’s sail on the back of their heads. This is to honor Mazu, and to invoke their husbands’ safe return from the sea. Meizhou women also wear half-red half-blue baggy pants in memory of Mazu’s red-trousers.
Major tourist Spots
Mazu Cultural Park
1) Mazu Temple Scenic Spot (妈祖庙)
The Mazu Temple at Meizhou Island was first built in the Song Dynasty by a businessman, and extended into a complex in the Qing Dynasty. A Mazu stone sculpture of 14 metres high sits at the top of the mountain near the temple. In 2005, the temple was awarded the cultural heritage of national level.
2) Jiubaolan beach (九宝澜沙滩)
Jiubanlan Beach, located in the southwest of Meizhou Island, is a must-see for tourists. The beach is 3 kilometres long with soft sand and clean sea. American travellers have travelled here and praised it as "China's Hawaii".
3) Erwei Stone Park (鹅尾神石园)
Located in the south of the island, Erwei Stone Park takes up an area of 32 hectares. It has a cluster of amazing stone landscapes. The stones are of various shapes such as a frog, turtle, axe and carp.
How to get there:
Click map to enlarge
1) Take a long-distance coach to Putian from Songbai Bus Station - then take a bus to get to Wenjia Dock - take a 10-minute ferry to get to Meizhou Island
2) Use a travel agent:
Renting a van packaged with driver is the next best alternative. Call Apple Travel to organize a group tour. If you've a small group, The ideal number in the group is 5 or 6.