Shensi Islands

Shengsi Islands, China: The Ultimate Travel Guide for 2024

Are you wondering what the Shengsi Islands are really like and whether they’re worth visiting?

The Shengsi Islands are a unique group of islands located off the east coast of China’s Zhejiang province.

The islands are known for their natural beauty, scenic landscapes and tranquil atmosphere. They offer a unique combination of beaches, lush vegetation and fascinating cultural heritage.

If you’re looking for an off the beaten path destination in China, the Shengsi Islands will be the perfect getaway for you.

In this article, you’ll read why and when you should visit the Shengsi Islands in China and how to get here.

Disclosure: please note that some of the links below may contain affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. 

Shengshi Islands in China
Shengshan island

How to get to the Shengsi Islands?

There are several ways to get to the Shengsi Islands.

By ferry

The most common and convenient way to get to the Shengsi Islands is by taking a ferry from Shanghai or Ningbo. The ferry ride usually takes about 4-5 hours.

If you’re coming from Shanghai, you can buy a combination ticket (bus and ferry ride) for around 100 RMB the day before your travels, at Nanpu Bridge Station exit 1. Please bring your passport/ID card just in case to be able to buy the tickets.

By plane

The nearest airport is Shanghai Pudong International Airport, from where you can take a connecting flight to Shengsi.

By car

You can also drive to the Shengsi Islands, but you’ll need to take a ferry from the mainland to the islands.

Please keep in mind that the level of tourism infrastructure in the Shengsi Islands is limited, so it’s recommended to plan your trip carefully and to book accommodations in advance.

How to get to Shengsi Islands
The view from the ferry

Where to stay on the Shengsi Islands?

The Shengsi Islands offer a range of hotels and accommodation options to choose from.

It’s always a good idea to book your accommodation in advance to ensure that you have a place to stay. It’s also important to know that not all hotels in the Shengsi Islands are open to foreigners.

Therefore, it’s best to book your stay at a place where it’s possible for foreigners to stay. The best places to stay on the Shengsi Islands include:

Shengsi Begonia Villa: This stunning and luxurious villa with sea view offers 5 comfortable bedrooms, 5 bath rooms, a living room, a terrace and a fully equipped kitchen. Click here for the latest prices.

Shengsi Xihai Guesthouse: This guesthouse has an amazing view and is located on the beachfront in Zhoushan Island. The owner is very kind and the rooms are offered at very affordable prices. Click here to see the latest prices and why you should visit this guesthouse.

Shengsi Islands

Are the Shengsi Islands worth visiting?

Yes, the Shengsi Islands are definitely worth visiting. They gave me a complete different perspective of China, as I had never seen such a Chinese island before. A visit to the Shengsi Islands really gave me a special insight into local Chinese culture.

The Shengsi Islands are surrounded by crystal clear waters and sandy beaches, making them an ideal destination for beach lovers. While I was there the sea was ice cold, yet it was still very refreshing to swim here. It felt very freeing.

The islands are dotted with hills and picturesque landscapes, making them a great destination for nature lovers and hikers.

Besides, the Shengsi Islands have a rich cultural heritage and a long history, dating back to the Ming and Qing dynasties. You can explore the local villages, temples, and ancient ruins to learn more about the islands’ rich history and cultural traditions.

The Shengsi Islands are also known for their fresh delicious seafood, which is sustainably sourced. You can enjoy a variety of seafood dishes here, including fish, crab, and shellfish.

Please do keep in mind that most of the people living on the Shengsi Islands don’t speak any English, so this will be a very good opportunity for you to improve your Chinese language skills. I think this really adds to the charm of the Shengsi Islands.

As I don’t think the islands see a lot of foreigners, they are very interested in getting to know you. On multiple occasions I was asked by locals whether I was Russian (which I am not) and it was clear that the locals really tried to engage in conversation with us.

Shengsi Islands
Mao Zhedong China

Where to go on the Shengsi Islands?

Where you should go in the Shengsi archipelago completely depends on your preferences.

The Shengsi archipelago consists of four main scenic areas: Shengshan-Gouqi Island Scenic Area: famous for its abandoned villages and island of wolfberries; Huaniao Scenic Area: this area is well-known for its large lighthouse, located in the eastern part of the island group; Sijiao Scenic Area: the place to be for blue sea, beaches, and delicious seafood; Yangshan Scenic Area: known for its reef and connection to Shanghai by a sea bridge.

Sijiao Island is the biggest island in the Shengsi county. Gouqi Island, Houtouwan abandoned village on Shengshan Island and Sijiao Island are the most popular areas among the Shengsi Islands.

China Islands

What to do on the Shengsi Islands?

Personally, I think Houtouwan (后头湾) on Shengshan Island (嵊山岛) is one of the best places to visit in the Shengshi archipelago. If you want to visit Shengshan/Gouqi Island, make sure to get off at the Ganxie Port. The port is located on Gouqi Island (枸杞岛).

Gouqi Island and Shengshan Island are connected to each other by a bridge. From the port you can take the taxi/car to Shengshan Island. This is often referred to as Wolfberry Island.

It takes around an hour to get to Houtouwan from the main city on the island. You can wander through the village, explore the abandoned houses, and take in the stunning views of the surrounding landscapes.

Houtouwan abandoned village

This abandoned jewel located about 64 kilometers from Shanghai used to be a thriving community inhabited by roughly 2,000 fishermen and their families.

In the early 1990s, as the small bay was unable to keep up with the expanding demand of the fishing industry, residents started moving to mainland China.

They were in pursuit of alternative job opportunities and a better standard of living, a phenomenon that was common among many small villages in China.

More things I recommend doing on Shengshan Island are: relaxing at Dayuwan Beach, visiting a local KTV, wandering through the island and swimming in the sea.

Shengsi islands

Another great island to explore is Sijiao Island, the largest island of the Shengsi archipelago. If you want to visit Sijiao Island, make sure to get off at the Lizhusan Port.

Recommended things to do here include visiting Jihu Beach, exploring the colorful Fishermen’s village, hiking to Dabei Mountain and watching the sunrise from Liujingtan Natural Scenic Spot.

A different great beach to visit on Sijiao Island is Nanchangtu Beach. And please don’t forget to bring sunscreen and mosquito repellent when you visit the Shengsi Islands.

When to visit the Shengsi Islands?

I think it would be best to visit the islands during the summer or spring. It’s best to visit the abandoned village of Houtouwan in summer or spring, when the houses have turned green.

If you want the area more for yourself, make sure to visit in spring, as the summer months can get a little more crowded.

Keep in mind to not visit the Shengsi Islands during Golden Week, as a lot of places in China get extremely crowded during this time of the year.

In conclusion

Overall, the Shengsi Islands offer a unique and unforgettable travel experience. As you can really immerse yourself in the nature and local culture of the Shengshi Islands, I highly recommend a visit.

You can relax at its sandy beaches, you can swim in the sea, you can visit its abandoned villages and you can eat the most delicious seafood.

A visit to the Shengsi Islands will really add to your travel experiences in China.

Away with Danae

Gouqi Island

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