Saturday, June 26, 2010

Visa Run from XiaMen to JinMen (Kinmen)

I'm writing this blog post from my friends' house in Thailand, so it is clear that I didn't get a chance to do a fun visa run I just heard about.

The standard (read: low-cost and/or fast) Visa runs from Beijing are generally thought to be:

  • Sleeper Bus to Erlian then cross into Zamen Uud, Mongolia

  • Sleeper Train to Hong Kong

  • Flight to Seoul, South Korea

  • Flight to Busan (Pusan), South Korea

  • and some say ferries or flights to Japan from Tianjin

  • At this point I've done all of those except for the ferry or flight to Japan. I've even added Thailand to the list a few times because there are very often disturbingly low-priced flights to the delicious nation available on CTrip, Elong, Travelzen, Qunar or even Kayak and Vayama! For me, Thailand is worth a few extra bucks and can easily be done in a weekend.

    However, my Chinese teacher recently told me about a trip he took that involved flying to Xiamen and then taking a ferry across to the Taiwan ROC controlled island of JinMen (sometimes written KinMen). As my exit date approached, I was unable to find a cost-effective flight to XiaMen, so I quickly aborted this plan.

    If I had more time (read: if plan better in the future) I'll consider taking a train down or booking well in advance. I've heard XiaMen is a great place to go and JinMen sound quite nice too!

    Xiamen seems to have a bunch of nice, low-cost hostels and the ferry to and from Jinmen can be done in a day. It is worth noting that JinMen DOES NOT have a Mainland China (PROC) consulate or embassy and this is NOT a suitable run for a new visa. It will only work for those of us that need to exit and re-enter China every time our legal stay expires.

    Has anyone done this run?
    Any recommendations for places to eat, things to see or do in XiaMen or JinMen / KinMen?
    Also, any idea why its name is often written KinMen?