China has successfully positioned itself as a modern tourist destination of the world that often we picture competing skyscrapers and buzzing entertainment districts of Shanghai and Beijing. We are also reminded of its colorful past and heritage through the myriad of museums, old mansions and villages that have been converted into large landmarks, captivating temples, and amazing sceneries. Admittedly we normally don’t associate China with islands.
But the massive land is also composed of small islands that, although hardly ever noticed, always captivate visitors for their natural and almost-untouched beauty. One of these is the Nanji Chain Islands.
The chain of islands known as Nanji belongs to Zheijang Province and forms part of Wenzhou. It join the ranks of Penghu as one of the most beautiful islands of China and even the entire world. It is so rich when it comes to biodiversity that it is now well protected and monitored by UNESCO, an organization in charge of coming up with World Heritage Lists.
The islands themselves belong to a large nature reserve that is now being taken care of by the government. It has a total land area of more than 200 square kilometers, most of which are occupied by water. The reserve maintains a climate that is affected by the oceanic monsoon.
Because of this, the temperature is not incredibly hot during the summer. On winters visitors don’t often feel the chill. The marine life in the reserve is truly abundant as it has more than 150 different types of algae and over 400 shellfish species. Many of these species are not found anywhere else in the world, so the area is a great place for marine research.
The Challenge before the Arrival
There’s no airport and other kinds of transport from and to the islands except through a boat. If you’re coming from Shanghai, you need to travel toward Wenzhou in Zhejiang for around 4 hours. Then you take another ride toward the boat area for additional 20 minutes. Travelers should be warned that the seas are not very friendly. In fact, they are often described as torturous. Moreover, some of the areas of the reserve have already been washed away or conquered by sea water.
What to Do
Nevertheless, once you arrive in the main island, you will realize that all the troubles are worth it. Although the island doesn’t have the sunny weather tourists could be looking for, it makes up for it by giving travelers with exquisitely beautiful blue waters, rolling green mountains, and a very laid-back life that is away from the hustle and bustle of the city living. This then explains why during the summer, the tourist population just swells.
The Nanji chain of islands isn’t completely barren, though the amenities are more basic than those of the mainland. It’s normal for guests to stay in accommodation options with mats instead of plush beds. Nevertheless, because the outdoors are so inviting, you’ll spend most of your time playing water sports, taking a dip, enjoying the sands filled with many various kinds of shells, or taking in the wondrous rock formations that took several years to form.
A visit to the island is never complete without dining on seafood. There are many restaurants and shacks near the beach, where you can enjoy the freshest catch of prawns, crabs, shrimps, and fish.
Though cars are rare in the island, there are several buses. Steps made of stone are great for hikers, while gazebos are found along the path should you wish to rest.