An island getaway is perhaps one of the best ways to soak up the sun before the summer ends, and South China is blessed with a myriad of islands either beset with gorgeous scenery or loaded with fascinating history. Below, we give you a look at five islands in South China that are worth a visit.
1. Weizhou Island (Guangxi)
Image via Mafengwo
To the south of Beihai city in Guangxi and east of Vietnam lies the volcanic island of Weizhou. Reputedly the youngest island of its type in China, it boasts a unique volcanic landscape and is home to a diverse collection of bird species.
A popular spot, for amateur and professional photographers alike, is ‘five color’ beach, which beckons tourists with its aesthetically pleasing rock formations that hug the shoreline. On the west of the island, visitors can catch one of China’s most sublime sunsets.
On Weizhou, biking or riding an electric scooter (RMB60-80 per day) appeals to many tourists, us included. It’s a practical, fun and convenient way to get around on the island.
If you don’t like seafood, Weizhou probably isn’t your dream destination. Here, seafood items, most notably sea cucumbers and giant prawns, are available throughout the year and are a mainstay at restaurants and hotels across the island.
Read more about our trip to Weizhou Island here.
2. Wuzhizhou Island (Hainan)
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A one-hour drive and 20-minute ferry ride north of downtown Sanya lies the unrivaled beaches of Wuzhizhou island, sometimes referred to as ‘the Maldives of China.’ Another of Sanya’s 5-A tourist destinations, the picturesque island lives up to the hype and proves a relaxing afternoon excursion.
The island’s pristine beaches, coupled with crystal clear, baby blue water, are among the finest in Hainan and, arguably, China at large.
The small island, which occupies an area of about 1.48 square kilometers, greets you with the slogan: ‘China has Hainan Island; Hainan has Wuzhizhou Island.’ As a popular tourist spot, naturally it’s well equipped: There are restaurants, food stalls, a cafeteria, shops and even villas.
Water sports enthusiasts will be happy to know there are designated swimming beaches, although such spots require a fee to get wet (surprise!). Those who enjoy getting under the water’s surface will be pleased to learn that Wuzhizhou offers ample opportunities for underwater exploration.
3. Lamma Island (Hong Kong)
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Lamma Island is probably the closest you can get to vacation mood without dropping the big bucks on a plane ticket. It also sports one of the cleanest beaches in Hong Kong and affordable vacation rental prices (if you want to spend the night) – quite unusual for the pricey former British colony.
For the not-so-faint-of-heart, head over to Lamma for some island living with a light touch of Hong Kong’s signature urbanism. Yung Shue Wan is the very heart of Lamma Island. A small village mixing restaurants, residential properties and small shops in a bright, delightful mosaic, hotels and smaller private properties are abundant – and the deals get better as you venture further into the island away from touristy spots.
One of the best things about staying on Lamma is that your pets won’t have to be missing you at home. Most hotels are pet friendly and more than willing to host your furry companion for the length of your stay. Just make sure you have all the needed Hong Kong papers in place (though that could take a while).
Read more about our trip to Lamma Island here.
4. Gulangyu Island (Fujian)
Image by Ryan Gandolfo/That's
Located in Fujian province right off the coast of Xiamen city, Gulangyu Island has several hundred years of history. In 1903, settlers from other countries began to make the island home after the Opium Wars, which, much as in other spots in China with a colonial past, left a mixed cultural footprint that is still apparent today. In 2017, the island was listed as one of China’s UNESCO National Heritage Sites – and for good reason.
There’s surprisingly a lot to do on the 1.8-square-kilometer island, which currently hosts a population of around 20,000. Whether you’re into museums, beaches, temples or lounging around at an old school cafe, Gulangyu has what you crave. On our visit, we hike up Sunlight Rock to get arguably the best view in all of Fujian province. Aside from outdoor exploring, the island boasts a 450-square-meter piano museum that showcases ancient pianos brought over from around the world.
Read more about our trip to Gulangyu here.
5. Miaowan Island (Guangdong)
Image by Tristin Zhang/That's
Last but definitely not least, there’s Miaowan Island, so remote and secret that you can’t find it on Baidu Maps.
Take a one-hour fast train from Guangzhou, followed by an hour-long, swaying ferry ride and another heart-pounding hour on a speed boat and you’ll find yourself on the scenic island of Miaowan, which translates roughly to ‘temple bay.’
Resting to the southeast of Macau, and about 25 nautical miles from Hong Kong, Miaowan Island is a small plot of land in the South China Sea that is renowned for its pristine beaches and azure water.
Under the administrative control of Zhuhai (a city rightly known as the ‘city with a hundred islands’), the island has attracted mainlanders over the past decade looking to escape the craziness of urban life for a secluded retreat.
Read more about our trip to Miaowan Island here.
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[Cover image via Pixabay]