Huaniaoshan Island was a strategic location in times past, an important gateway by which domestic ships and international vessels entered Shanghai. In the middle of the 19th century the U.K. opened sea routes via the Pacific to Shanghai through this area. To ensure navigational safety, the U.K. financed the construction of a lighthouse on the island in 1870.
It is a 16.5-meter-high, four-storied cylindrical building, known as “No.1 Lighthouse in the Far East.” It has survived several wars and remains well preserved to this day. In the evenings, the xenon spotlight on top sweeps around at a speed of 1 rotation per minute, sending off light that can be seen from 30 nautical miles.
The island has never been fully developed for tourism purposes though it enjoys a superior location near Shanghai. Due to a lack of facilities such as restaurants and accommodations, there are few tourists. However, the relative obscurity has guaranteed its unspoiled natural beauty.
Tourists can buy a bus-and-ship package ticket from Shanghai to the Shengsi Islands. The combined journey takes about three hours. The Shengsi Islands are linked by ferries, and the ferry from Sijiao Island to Shengshan Island makes stops on Huaniaoshan Island only on even days.
Taohua (Peach Blossom) Island
Most Chinese people are familiar with the island through the famous novel on martial arts written by Louis Cha (Jin Yong) and many assumed it was a fictional wonderland invented by the writer. But it is in fact a real island located in the Zhoushan Archipelago. Taohua Island, Mount Putuo Island and Zhujiajian Island form a golden tourism triangle.
However, despite its name, there are no peach blossoms to be found on the island. It was actually called after a stone bearing the patterns of peach blossoms on the island. Locals say that touching the stone activates one’s “peach blossom luck,” bringing romance into one’s life. The most stunning attraction on the island is Taohuayu, located on the eastern coast where tourists can climb up the hills to enjoy the gorgeous sunrise over the bay. There sits a smooth, naturally formed rock ball called the “East Sea Pearl” with a diameter of 0.8 meters. It is encircled by three rocks and rumbles amazingly whenever the waves and tides crash over it.
Many newly developed tourism activities are available on the island. Tourists can go fishing on traditional fishing boats to experience what life was like for ancient local fishermen or take an adventure tour of one of the surrounding non-inhabited islands.
Tourists can first take a shuttle bus at Xujiahui in Shanghai to Shenjiamen Port, and then take a boat to Taohua Island. Tourists from Mount Putuo Island can take a direct speedboat, which commutes three times daily.
On the island there are buses available, but they don’t have specific routes. A bus will head to the destination where the majority of its passengers wish to go. Drivers of buses heading to different destinations will communicate with each other by radio so that they may exchange their passengers according to passengers’ needs. Therefore tourists can get on whichever bus is heading their way, but sometimes they will have to transfer to get to their desired destinations.