Shangchuan & Xiachuan Dao's (Islands)
|Shangchuan and Xiachuan Dao's are the main
islands in a small group of islands, located not far off the southern
coast of China, in Guangdong Province (Canton), adjacent to the mainland
area of Taishan, about 2-3 hours driving time, south pof Guangzhou.
Because of their grouping, they are sometimes referred to as the Hawaii
of China, but they, nevertheless, remain relatively undiscovered.
On our first trip, we went only to the upper island, Shangchuan Dao, but it was quite lovely. A ferry from Taishan takes you to the small port city of Sanzhou on the west side of the island from which you can take a bus or van to the private beach area, Fei Beach, on the east side of the island (Y5/person by bus; about Y30 by van...negotiate). The beach area costs Y40/person to enter and has a variety of hotels and even small stone cabins, as shown in the picture on the left. We stayed at the Liu Gan Kaixuan, in about the center of the little village, which we were told is the best hotel in the area. Also located at the Fei beach complex are a sea view walk lined with vendors of dried seafood and seashell art, on the one side, and restaurants where you can pick out seafood from tanks, on the other. For night time entertainment, there is a KTV bar on the beach, as well as an outdoor KTV in a garden setting, very near the Liu Gan Hotel. Also near the beach area is Nine Dragons Cave, which is a Buddhist temple with a cave going into the mountain, a large golden statue of Buddha, up the way a bit, and a small island off the beach, which you can walk to in low tide, has a tower and a large statue of the Duck Goddess (shown in the picture to the right). You can also go for a horse back ride (don't get excited - they walk you around) or rent a dune buggy to drive on a small course. We also mention that the sand on the beach is soft, and the beach and water are very clean. In early evening, the locals dig for clams and you can see small sand crabs running around the beach and burrowing: it is quite fun to watch.
To the south, there is a sheltered port area called Shadi Port. To get there, hire a car. We grouped up with some people one day, and we paid Y10/person each way; another time, we hired a small car at night and negotiated Y80 for him to take us down and wait for us to return. In the daytime, there is only one restaurant to sit outside and have lunch. You can also get small boats to take you for a small tour for Y40, although they will try to charge you more. At night, the street along the dock is transformed into one big outdoor eating area, and it is a very fun time. Since the beds in China are often hard, as was the case, here, we also bought a bed pad, in Shadi Port, for only Y45 to put on our bed at the hotel.
On the northwest part of the island is a church, near which is the grave of St. Francis Xavier, who came to the island as a missionary several hundred years ago when the Portuguese occupied several islands, in the area, the most famous of which is, of course, Macau to the east. On the northeast part of the island is a nature preserve where you can go and see the local monkeys. There are open tour buses to take you around to see the various sites.
The island is made up of mountains, covered by large boulders left by the ice age and lush farmland valleys in between. The hilltops are lined with wind turbines. All in all, it is beautiful scenery, plenty of good fresh seafood, and beautiful beach and port areas, and not overrun by tourists with most of the tourists, in fact, coming from the Taishan area.
Next trip. we'll try to get down to Xiachuan, which is smaller, and report on that.
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