Zhoushan City, or called Zhoushan Archipelago (舟山群岛), lies south of the Yangtze River Estuary in the East China Sea. It is a maritime city in China's Zhejiang Province and is composed of over 1,390 islands, including its Zhoushan Main Island, which is the fourth largest island in China. Those islands in Zhoushan, accounting for one-fifth of the number of all the islands in China, facing Shanghai, Ningbo, Japan and Korea across the sea.
The unbeatable large number of islands endows Zhoushan an ideal tourist city for island vacations. You must have heard a lot about its world-renowned Ideal Buddhist Island - Putuoshan, which is one of the four sacred Buddhist Mountains in China! Besides, the city also offers diverse islands of different size, both inhabited and uninhabited!
When it comes to Zhoushan, the first image comes to the mind is usually its sacred Mount Putuo Scenic Area, which is a holy island every Buddhist believer dreaming to visit at least once in his/her life. Apart from Putuoshan, Zhoushan also offers many other stunning islands that are top recommendations for photographers, arts and cultural youth, etc. Besides, there are historical maritime cultural sites. Here is the list of Top Things to Do in Zhoushan:
Putuoshan (普陀山), the adobe of the Goodness of Mercy (Guanyin), is rich in Buddhist culture and legends and never lack of pilgrims. There are Buddhist relics everywhere on the island. With grand temple and pagoda clusters, sandy beaches, pine groves, elegant carvings and so on, Putuoshan itself is also already a scenic. Putuoshan is located on an island without any bridge or road connecting it. Therefore, it is only accessible by ferry.
Zhujianjian Island (朱家尖) is one of the largest and the most accessible islands in Zhoushan. The airport and one of the most significant wharfs of this region, Zhoushan Putuoshan Airport and Wugongzhi Wharf, are all located on this island. In addition to its traffic convenience, Zhujiajian is also famous for its golden beaches, caves, cliffs, etc. There is also an annual International Sand Sculpture Festival held!
Dongji Island (东极岛) not refers a single island but a cluster of islands in Dongji Town in Zhoushan, with Miaozihu Island - where popular Chinese movie named The Continent firmed, Qingbin Island - the Potala Palace on the Sea and Dongfushan Island -the place in China that the first rays of the sun strike being the most famous. It is serene and offers a glimpse of the primitive fishing life.
Taohua Island (桃花岛), or called Peach Blossom Island, was very little known by the world until novels like The Return of the Condor Heroes of famous Hong Kong martial arts novelist Louis Cha Leung-yung (Jin Yong) became a big hit. In his novels, Taohua Island was portrayed as a fairyland. And actually, the real Taohua Island is indeed a fairyland that lives up to its name!
Shengsi Islands (嵊泗列岛) is the only national-level archipelago scenic spot in China. It is composed of over 404 islands, including 16 of them inhabited by human beings and the rest are not. The most popular islands include Gouqi Island, which is praised as the Little Greece of the East.
Dinghai Ancient City (定海古城) is a thousand-year-old ancient city with numerous cherished relics to be visited. It is also the only ancient city about Island Culture in China. Here, visitors can stroll around its well-preserved ancient streets, alleys and temples to trace its prosperity.
A Putuoshan (Mount Putuo) tour usually ranks on the top of things to do in Zhoushan. You can stroll around its temples and caves to savor the Buddhist atmosphere there and pray for good fortune or something else to the Guanyin.
On Dongji Island, where China's easternmost island is located, you will be rewarded with the first rays of the sun lighting up the sky, sea, boats, roofs, and houses of local fishers… It is certainly a lifelong experience.
Many Islands in Zhoushan, like Qingbin Island, offer breathtaking hiking experiences. While going ascend to the upper places of the islands, you will get broader views. It is especially beautiful and cheerful!
Along the seashore of islands in Zhoushan, especially near its ports, there are many Da Pai Dang opened, where you will be treated with delicious seafood and snacks cooked with fresh and superb fishes, oysters, etc.
You can enjoy fishing at any seashore of any island in Zhoushan. Besides, you can follow the local fishers to go fishing on their boats floating on the sea! Imagine raising the fishing rod from the sea level. What a cool experience!
How does it feel when stepping into an island with no human beings inhabited on it at all? You will get the answers at some remote but beautiful islands in Zhoushan. Gouqi Island will then be the best pick. Here you will totally get a fairy-like world.
From every late-August to middle-October, there is an International Sand Sculpture Festival held at the beach on Zhujiajian Island. Vivid and beautiful sand sculptures, large or small, will display during then, including mermaid, etc.
Zhoushan is only 218 km and 3 hours or so to/from Hangzhou. After the visit of Zhoushan, you can extend your tour to Hangzhou to visit the world-famous West Lake and Longjing Tea Plantation and explore the history and culture of this ancient capital.
Zhoushan belongs to the typical subtropical maritime monsoon climate. The weather here is featured with moist climate and plenty of sunshine and wind all year around. Sea fog is very popular in spring in Zhoushan. And in July, August and September, this region may be attracted by occasional typhoons. You are advised to check the weather forecast and ferry news in advance during then. The annual average temperature of this region is about 16.7℃, with the highest temperature falls in August and the lowest falls in January. The weather slightly differs in Zhoushan downtown and on its other offshore islands. Normally, you will feel colder on the islands, especially on their top points and by the sea. Temperature also varies greatly from morning to evening. Therefore, a coat is always suggested, even in summer.
Usually, the best time to visit Zhoushan is from June to October. It is an ideal tourist destination to avoid the summer heat. Autumn marks the most pleasant climate. And late autumn and winter are the best seasons to sample delicious seafood of this region! Putuoshan is suitable to be visited all year around. However, if you want to join its grand Buddhist events, there are three specific days recommended - 19th day of the 2nd lunar month, 19th of the 6th lunar month and 19th of the 9th lunar month.
Check more about Putuoshan Weather >>
Visitors can get to Zhoushan by flight, ferry, or long-distance bus. High Speed Trains are not available now, because at present there is no railway line connecting Zhoushan.
Zhoushan Putuoshan Airport is located on Zhujiajian Island of Zhoushan City, about 18 kilometers and 0.5 h away from Zhoushan downtown on Zhoushan Main Island and 3.6 kilometers and 10 minutes away from Zhujiajian Wugongzhi Wharf (where you can ride a ferry to Putuoshan in the shortest time) by car. At present, the airport operates flights to/from about 13 cities in China, including Shanghai (1 h), Beijing (3 hrs.), Guangzhou (2 hrs.), Shenzhen (2 hrs.), etc. There is no international flight line opened.
Zhoushan has mazy ferry lines. Visitors can find the most frequent ferries to Zhoushan in Shanghai and Ningbo, from where you can not only ride a ferry to Zhoushan Main Island and the world-famous Putuoshan (Mount Putuo), but also some other tourist islets like Taohua Island, Shengsi Island, etc.
Visitors can also take long-distance bus to Zhoushan Main Land and Zhujiajian Island from Shanghai (4 hrs.), Ningbo (1.5~2.5 hrs.), Hangzhou (3 hrs.), etc.
On Zhoushan Main Land and Zhujiajian Island, where its downtown area and airport are located, visitors can ask a taxi to get around.
Most of the offshore islands in Zhoushan, including Putuoshan Island, Dongji Island and Taohua Island, can only be reached by ferry. You can find the frequent ferries at Shenjiajiamen Banshengdong Wharf (沈家门半升洞码头) and Zhujiajian Wugongzhi Wharf (朱家尖蜈蚣峙码头).
Once arriving at an island in Zhoushan, you can take the local bus at pointed bus stations to get around. However, except Putuoshan, the bus and bus stations are usually limited.
The best way to travel around an island in Zhoushan is by private car. Going with a private car, you can explore the island in an extremely free pace, without worrying about the bus schedules or something else. We China Discovery also offer such warm private car service. If you are in need, please feel free to contact us!
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The complex distribution of so many islets in Zhoushan makes it a tough work to find the best hotel to stay. Things vary according to the itinerary of your tour plan. Shenjiamen and Dinghai District in Zhoushan downtown area and Putuoshan Island have the largest amount of luxury options from 4-star to 5-star, while some small islands have larger number of cozy inns and budget homestays operated by the local fishers. Sometimes, you can even rent a camp to stay on the beach in Zhujiajian.
Usually, staying at a hotel in Zhoushan downtown or on Putuoshan Islandis the hottest choice . However, if you are going to explore other specific islet, you are suggested to stay overnight on the island. Miaozihu Village is the most bustling area and the best place to stay on Dongji Island.
Check more about Where to Stay in Putuoshan >>
To help you have a better understanding about Zhoushan and Zhoushan Travel, Here we list you some useful English Zhoushan Maps, including Zhoushan China Map, Zhoushan Island Map, Zhoushan Zhejiang Map, Putuoshan Location Map, Putuoshan Ferry Map and Putuoshan Tourist Map, etc. You can also check Putuoshan Map to get more detailed maps.
If you want to keep travelling after Zhoushan, there are some awesome destinations near Zhoushan for your exploration. You can pay a visit to the most developed Shanghai, beautiful lakes in Hangzhou, exquisite gardens in Suzhou, stunning Yellow Mountain, and Dr. Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum in Nanjing.
Chinese Name: 舟山
Chinese Pinyin: zhōu shān
Population: 1.176 million
Language: Mandarin & Zhejiang Dialect
Tel Code: (+86) 0580
Zip Code: 316000
Time Zone: (UTC+8)
Usually, Putuoshan is the major highlight of Zhoushan. Visitors normally spend 2 days around to take a classic Putuoshan Buddhist tour. If your time allows or you focus more about the island beauty and fishing life, you can also add one or two islets of Zhoushan into your tour, like Dongji Island, Gouqi Island, etc. About 1~2 days are recommended for each island tour.
No matter you are only going to visit Putuoshan or not, a Zhoushan tour usually not starts from Zhoushan itself but the nearby Shanghai, Ningbo or Hangzhou, because Zhoushan is inaccessible by international flights. A 2-day Shanghai Zhoushan Tour is the most popular. And a 4-day tour combines Zhoushan and the ideal Hangzhou is also great.
Have your preference? Please feel free to tell us your likes. We can customize a Zhoushan tour to you according to your itinerary, budget and every special need.
Shanghai / Mount Putuo / Mount Jiuhua