The city was once the eastern terminus of the Maritime Silk Road and home to a large (100,000 by some estimates!) international community, mostly Arabs but also including Persians, Indians and others. The English word "satin" comes from "Zaiton", the Arabic name for Quanzhou, the port from which that fabric first reached the West.
Marco Polo sailed home from Quanzhou. He described it as the world's busiest port, with Alexandria second. At about that time, Kublai Khan's fleet for the invasion of Japan sailed from Quanzhou. It was wiped out by a storm, the kami kaze or "spirit wind". This is the origin of the name for kamikaze plots, it was hoped they would save Japan in a similar way.
After the emperor cut off foreign expeditions, destroyed the records and let the great ships rot in the 1420s, Quanzhou declined considerably. Today, it is less well-known than the provincial capital Fuzhou or Special Economic Zone Xiamen, and certainly gets fewer tourists than either. However, it definitely has its own attractions, notably interesting architecture and good shopping.
Like most Chinese cities, Quanzhou has some of the standard ugly 8-storey concrete apartment blocks. However, there are far fewer of those than elsewhere and whole districts are much prettier. The city government has policies that require new buildings to follow certain architectural conventions. Downtown, there are many new 4 to 6 floor buildings with the traditional Chinese tile roofs with points on the corners. Near the old mosque there are new buildings with Islamic themes in the architecture. The rebuilding of the Zhongshan Road shopping area got a UNESCO award for heritage preservation, and Quanzhou got an international award in a contest for most livable cities in 2003, neighboring Xiamen had won the previous year.
Quanzhou, or rather Jinjiang across the river, has an airport with flights to various mainland cities. Nearby Xiamen has a more important airport with good domestic connections, including flights to Hong Kong and Macau and quite a few international flights.
Quanzhou has two kinds of rail service. The "conventional" rail line from the interior China terminates at Quanzhou East Station, located on the north-eastern outskirs of the city, off Chenghua South Rd (Hwy G324). At some 6 km from downtown, it is walkable if you are staying on the north-east side, but a bus or taxi is recommended. It is the terminal station for many (fairly slow) trains connecting Quanzhou with the interior of Fujian Province (Sanming, Wuyishan) and with major cities throughout China's hinterland, such as Nanchang, Wuhan (Wuchang Station), and Beijing.
The new high-speed rail line running along Fujian's sea coast, serves the new Quanzhou Station, located some 12 km northwest of the city proper, off Hwy S307. It is served by frequent high-speed trains running between Fuzhou and Xiamen. Some trains continue north to Wenzhou, Hangzhou, and Shanghai, and in the future (after 2012), one will be able to travel all the way south to Shenzhen; see High-speed rail in China for details.
There are frequent buses from Xiamen梧村（WuCun） (¥27-35, 1.5 hours) and Fuzhou (¥46-65, 2.5 hours).
There are also direct overnight buses to/from more distant places such as Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Zhuhai, in the ¥300 range.
There are two main bus stations, a fairly large one in a new building toward the east of town and one that is much more central and looks more run down. The latter is the "new bus station". A small bus station next to the Overseas Chinese Hotel has busses to Fuzhou and Shenzhen.
There is regular ferry service from Taiwan-controlled Kinmen Island to the port of Shijing (石井), some 50 km south of downtown Quanzhou. (CNY150, or NT750). However, as the early 2012, only PRC and ROC (Taiwan) citizens can use it.
Taxis start at ¥7 and you can go almost anywhere in town for under ¥20.
Be warned about local traffic! If you think traffic in typical Chinese cities is chaotic, you haven't seen Quanzhou. According to many travel blogs in China, Quanzhou traffic is so bad even Chinese are complaining about motorbikes riding on footpaths, cars stopped in the middle of traffic, expensive taxis, and so on.
The town has an assortment of religious buildings, some quite old. It has been called a museum of world religions. There are Taoist, Buddhist, and Confucian temples, as anywhere in China, plus Christian churches and one mosque. There are also Hindu and Zoroastrian temples.
Kaiyuan Temple (开元寺), Xi Jie near Xinhuan Bei Lu, northwest of downtown. The largest and most famous Buddhist temple complex in the area. The well-landscaped grounds house two famous tall pagodas, several temple buildings, an ancient stone turtle, and a variety of religious art. The Xi Jie (West Lane) outside of the temple is a busy shopping streets, with all kind of shops selling souvenirs, joss paper and other Buddhist items, snacks, and books. 10 yuan. edit
Qingjing Mosque (清净寺), Tumen Street. The only surviving mosque of the many that used to exist. It is over 1,000 years old, and was rebuilt in 2009 so the dome is now restored after a 200-year absence. Well worth a visit.3 yuan. edit
Taoist temple (Guan Di Temple), (just east of the mosque). Large and impressive. Note the huge (over 2 stories tall) ritual furnace for burning joss paper.free. edit
Confucian Temple (孔庙), (A couple of blocks west of the Taoist Temple, just off Tumen Street). This is the main Confucian temple in town.edit
Chongfu Temple, Chongfu Road (Northeast of the city center, near where Dong Road turns into Donghu Road). A beautiful if small active Buddhist Temple.edit
Old Saint (崇福寺), (On the peak of Qingyuanshan just outside town). An enormous statue of Lao Tse, the founder of Taoism, which attracts people from all over China.edit
Tian Hou Gong, (At Tianhou Lu (Tiangou St) and Zhongshan Nan Lu (Zhongshan South St), at the southern edge of downtown). Dedicated to Tian Hou ("Heavenly Empress"), although known as Mazu, the patron fiigure of sailors. Note the ancient bixi turtle with an illegible stele on the temple's grounds.edit
Six wins tower (六胜塔). , Six tower is the study of architecture and art precious kind of song and Yuan dynasties. The tower is of granite attic type structure,36.6 meters high, around the end of about 47meters, octagonal five layer, the carved Seiko, magnificent, with something comparable to Quanzhou tower.edit
Quanzhou Museum, (In a park north of the West Lake (Xi Hu)). Don't miss a small "stele forest" behind the museum.free. edit
Puppet Museum, (From the mosque, walk West (away from the Taoist temple) along Tumen Street, take the first right, go a short distance and take the first right again (if you reach a park on your right, you have gone too far), the museum is a short way along on your left (if you reach the French restaurant, you have gone too far)). * Quanzhou is famous for puppets and the museum is excellent. They sometimes do shows, which are excellent, but not on a regular schedule. You need to be lucky to catch one, or to have a group of 20 or so people and make arrangements.
Fujian-Taiwan Kinship Museum (In a park north of the West Lake (Xi Hu), just east of Quanzhou Museum). edit
Maritime Museum. Excellent museum. Quanzhou was, up to the 15th century, one of China's greatest trading cities and a major base for her powerful fleets. The museum's Ancient Ships Pavilion is located on the grounds of Kaiyuan Temple; as of Feb 2012, the pavilion is closed for renovations, but one can still peek into the windows.edit
Monument to Koxinga (Zheng Chenggong) (鄭成功; Zhèng Chénggōng). An enormous equestrian statue that appears to be guarding the town, up on a hill on the east side of the city. He was a local boy whose family were seafarers, merchants trading with Japan, and pirates. On land, he became a general, resisting the then-new Qing (Manchu) dynasty. His base on Xiamen's Gulang Yu is one of the tourist sites there. He is best known for driving the Dutch out of Taiwan in the 1660s, the first major wave of Chinese immigration to Taiwan was his soldiers settling down and bringing their families. He is one of the few people seen as a hero by the current governments on both sides of the straits, beating the foreign devils makes you a good guy in everyone's books.edit
Cai ancient dwellings
The ancient residential buildings by Cai Qichang and his son, Cai senior in the Qing Tongzhi years (1862) to Xuantong three years (1911) built. The existing more complete house in all 16, and are arranged in parallel are orderly distribution to approximately 3hectares (40 acres ) of a rectangular block, thing long200 meters, North and south100 meters wide, covering an area of 15300square meters.
Qingyuan Mountain. Climbing this mountain is a nice way to get away from the city, and some of its heat and noise. Mountain climbing in Qingyuanshan is a different experience from hiking in other places, the paths up the mountain (large hill, really) are clearly marked, and paved in most places, with steps up the steeper parts. There are lots of places to buy drinks or snacks along the way, and temples, pavilions, and even some carnival-style games are there to distract you from your trek, if you like. Nonetheless, its a beautiful, strenuous climb, with dense tree canopies above and cicadas all around, with openings along the way with clear vistas of the city below. Wear good shoes and clothes you can sweat in. There's a large tea house near the top with outdoor seating.55 Full price, 27 for students. edit
There is large area of antique and curio shops on the north side of the mosque. They sell mainly to locals. Quality, variety and price are all better than most tourist areas. You do have to bargain fiercely, though.
White pottery from the village of Dehua outside Quanzhou has been a export item for centuries, known in Europe as "Blanc de Chine". Other ceramics are also made in the area. There are kilns going back a millennium or more.
Tea.Anxi outside Quanzhou produces one of China's most famous teas, Tieguanyin Oolong. Guan Yin is Goddess of Mercy; "tie" means iron. Tieguanyin tea is available in countless shops throughout Quanzhou, in most you can sit and try a variety of grades of tea to decide which you want. Prices for a jin (half kilo) of tea in a typical shop start at about ¥40 and there are some very nice teas under ¥200. However, tea in Chinese culture is priced like wine in the West, the really rare and excellent varieties fetch staggering prices. It is not uncommon to see teas at ¥600-2,000 a jin. These shops also sell the miniature tea sets that are most commonly used in this area, making and drinking tea this way is somewhat labor-intensive (each cup is smaller than a shot glass and a 'pot' is about as big as a coffee cup) but an enjoyable social experience. Making and serving tea in this way is not really a tea 'ceremony' in the sense of a Japanese tea ceremony, but it is still a ritualized and celebrated process.
North of the mosque, across the arched bridge over the small creek (Baguagou), is a traditional courtyard house that has been converted into a teahouse. This is a good place to get an introduction to the local tea service, your server can show you how to prepare the tea. Most tea shops will also be happy to give you an impromptu lesson in brewing tea.
Books and maps. The labirynthine Quanzhou Book City (泉州书城), located underground in Zhongshan Park (Zhongshan North Road, just south of Quanshan Gate)， is pretty good for books and maps of all kinds (mostly in Chinese, of course). This is the only book shop in China where I simultaneously saw many provincial atlases from from StarMaps "军民双用" ("Military and civil use") series, which are superior to most other publishers' products.
Bicycles. Quanzhou's bike shops of all kinds are concentrated in Zhongshan Nan Lu (Zhongshan South Road). The more southern section, from Tianhou Lu to Yiquan Lu, has primarily electric bike shops. More to the north, from Yiquan Lu to Tumen Lu, regular (pedal) bicycles are found as well, in a at least a dozen shops. There are a few high-end places for various brands, as well as several shops for Chinese mass-market bikes, in the CNY200-500 range. The small family-owned Triace shop at 376 Zhongshan South Road (山南路376号) can be recommended for its friendly and knowledgeable staff. They speak good Mandarin and a bit of English, and can provide local advice and help you get in touch with local bicycle enthusiasts.
ELectronics. Need a new iPad? A Chinese cell phone. Some spare parts for your laptop? Computer, cell phone, and electronics shops can be found in Jiuyi St (九一街), west of Wenling Rd. There are also many cell phone shops farther east, as Jiuyi St becomes Fengce Rd (丰泽路)。
The original Shaolin temple, one of China's greatest centers of kung fu, is in Henan, but during one of China's many wars a lot of the monks fled South and founded Southern Shaolin with temples in Quanzhou, at the foot of Qingyuanshan, and in nearby Putian. Both of these were burned down during other conflicts, but are being rebuilt. The Quanzhou temple  takes foreign students at rates around $500 a month including room and board.
Bart's Kitchen (椰林阁娘惹私房菜), at Dong fang min zhu #115 (东方明珠） on Feng zi street (丰泽街), ☎ 0595-22217892, . 09：30-10:30. The best Southeast Asian and Western cuisine in town. And they provide English menu.Expect to 20-60RMB per head. edit
The Mandarin Hotel (悦华酒店). Best Western and Eastern lunch (160 RMB) and dinner (270 RMB) buffet in town. Don't waste your money on buffet at the other 5-star hotel; The Quanzhou Hotel.edit
Amazon BBQ buffet (亚马逊烤肉), on Ci tong road (刺桐路). MEAT, MEAT, MEAT! There are several locations across town. The lunch buffet is 40 RMB and the dinner buffet is 60 RMB.edit
Yuan pan （元番日本料理）, on Quan xiu road (泉秀路).. Best Japanese sushi in town with buffet prices starting at 118 RMB.edit
Mr. Chiu’s Chiu Chau beef brisket noodles （啊潮牛栏面）, on Hu xin jie（湖心街). (Heading North on Tian an road (田安北路), turn left on Hu xin jie （湖心街). It'll be on your right.). Delicious slow-cooked cubes of beef served in a mild Chinese curry sauce.edit
Lan zhou hand-pulled noodles （兰州拉面）, on Hu xin street （湖心街) opposite Mr. Chiu's beef noodles.. edit
French-Vietnamese restaurant (红石）, various locations across town (one next to the Puppet Museum behind the Muslim Mosque). edit
Thai-Vietnamese Restaurant (泰好吃), 2 locations in town. edit
Xiaolongbao (小龙包), 381 Zhongshan Road (中山路) (Slightly south of Yiquan Road (义全街)). More like Shanghai-style San jian bao, with a chewy dough, minced-pork stuffing, and a sweet chili sauce. It is generally ordered alongside a clear soup.edit
Little Fat Sheep Hot Pot (小肥羊火锅), several locations across town. A huge chain of Hot Pot restaurants with hundreds of locations across China.edit
There are several vegetarian restaurants near Chengtien Temple on Nanjun Road
Pu Ti, Nanjun Road (Half a block north of East Street (Dong Jie)). edit
Wumingzi (lit.: No Name), (Between Pu Ti and Dico's (a fried chicken fast food restaurant)). Decent, buffet style place.edit
Vegetarian Restaurant, (Across Nanjun Road from the Carp City Hotel (Lichung Dajiudian).). Good and quite fancy.edit
The Brickyard Pub & Cafe, Unit 101, Block 6 Quanxiu Lu, Fengze District, Liveshow Wonderland, Quanzhou, Fujian (地址：泉州市丰泽区泉秀街领秀天地 6号楼101单元 Only a five minute walk from the Yue Hwa Hotel), ☎ +86 (595) 15960431105, . 6-2am. The Brickyard is Quanzhou's first and only genuine western pub & cafe. It is proud to offer all locals and expats an authentic taste of the west. With a friendly staff, and relaxing environment, it has been know as a "home away from home", and has been deemed the Expatriates Association of Quanzhou. Also a number of other bars in the same area.edit
Zhuangyuan Street (Bar Street) is to the east of Zhongshan Road north of the center of town. The street is parallel and slightly south of East Street. It has many bars.
Inconveniently located on Wenling Road or Chongfu Road are several cheap business hotels, for ¥50-100. There is a hotel in the main bus station (turn right as you come out, look for the London/Moscow/Beijing/... row of clocks in the reception area) and several more along the (fairly long) street between it and the more central bus station. But there are also other budget options in town.
Tiho Hostel 114 Dihou Road, LiCheng District, Quanzhou. The address in Chinese is 泉州市鲤城区堤后路114号（蔬菜公司后面，堤后加油站往前100米斜对面） Tel. 059522390800 or 18065479055 (Call after 9am till late). Mixed-dorm beds from RMB50, single, twin and king-size room also available. It is easier to take a taxi from JinJiang Airport about RMB50, or less than RMB20 from train station. There is a green signage outside the green gate that says, "Tiho Cafe & Hostel". It is close to the old gate, LinZhangMen, and local buses to sightseeing places for RMB1 only, or to museums for RMB2.
Baiyun Hotel (Baiyun Binguan), 157 Zhongshan South Road (Slightly north of Mazu Temple), ☎ +86 595 22397807. A convenient hotel for cheap travelers. Rooms are relatively large and clean, but fixtures are old so have a careful look at the room first, and ask for a different room if needed.Expect to pay around ¥60 after bargaining. edit
Carp City Hotel (鲤城大酒店; Licheng Dajiudian), Nanjun Middle Rd (south of Dong St), ☎ Reception 22279888, room reservations 22279111, restaurant reservations 22272777. A three star hotel in a fairly central location.From ¥370 (low season from ¥240). edit
There is a train leaving 17:04 to Wuhan daily (arriving 16:31 next day) passing Mount Wuyi at 05:49.
The new Fuzhou - Xiamen High Speed train stops at Quanzhou which means Quanzhou is connected to Shanghai by train via Fuzhou.
Bus to Fuzhou leaves from the bus station at the southern end of the main tourist street (not the main bus station) and takes about 3 hours (¥60-70). There are also Fuzhou busses from the small station next to the Overseas Chinese Hotel.
Several times a week, there is an early-morning bus to Mount Wuyi and Jingdezhen. This bus is small dirty sleepers, arrives at many of its destinations very late at night, and drops passengers off by the side of the highway rather than the bus station. So book with care.
There are two long-distance bus stations in Quanzhou, so make sure to book the correct one.
Chongwu is an old walled town near Quanzhou. There are good beaches near it.