W'd like to bring 80 year old mum to Shantou and Xiamen from Kuala Lumpur. What is the best traveling arrangement. Thanks.
You can fly from Kuala Lumpur to Xiamen Gaoqi Airport. Malaysia Airline, China South Airline, and Xiamen Airline operate flights between Kuala Lumpur and Xiamen. Flight time is approximately 4 hours. Outside Shantou there is an airport, Jieyang Chaoshan Airport, but there do not seem to be international flights to this relatively small airport. In your case, since you're going to visit Xiamen anyway, you might as well fly to Xiamen.
The distance between Xiamen and Shantou is about 270 km, freeway. Since you're traveling your a senior, you may want to consider leasing a car along with a driver. You may get a Buick that takes 3 to 4 people for about ¥1500 for one-day's service. Evidently that's more than the bus fares, but you'll have the comfort and control - to stop when you need to, etc. There should be car leasing companies that do business like this. You can, for example, find some car leasing info at this website here (in Chinese language). One may also be able to get a taxi driver to go on such a trip, but some negotiation will be involved.
There are long distance buses between Xiamen atnd Shantou. It's freeway, so travel condition is not too bad. Ride time is about 4 hours, and bus fare is about 100 per person. Departures hourly at various long distance stations in Xiamen - Jimei Bus Station, Hubin Bus Station, Songbai Bus Station.
No easy way to go by train from Xiamen to Shantou. There is rail link but it goes around and you need to make connections, spending up 10 hours to get there.