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Weizhou

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Weizhou

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Weizhou (涠洲岛; Wéizhōu Dǎo) is China's biggest and youngest volcanic island. It is located 21 nautical miles south of Beihai city in the Gulf of Tonkin, an arm of the South China Sea. With about 6km from north to south and 5km from east to west, the island covers a land area of about 25km².

Volcano relics
Nanwan bay
Northern beach

Weizhou Island is declared as national park. The admission fee is ¥90 (¥65 in winter's off-season) and must be paid while entering the island at the harbour (XiJiao MaTou). The entrance ticket covers the whole island and is valid for the entire stay.

Formed by volcanic eruptions about 7,000 years ago Weizhou Island has a unique geological and geomorphologic landscape. The sea around Weizhou is rich in corals and other aquatic animals. Its subtropical monsoon climate with an average annual temperature of 22.6°C and an annual average rainfall of about 1380mm causes moderate summers and mild winters.

Except for Chinese national holidays Weizhou Island is not heavily touristed. Chinese tourists come here on daily trips and over weekends, but rarely stay longer. The island offers various scenic spots, a Gothic-style catholic cathedral, good and inexpensive seafood and wide beautiful beaches. It is ideal for relaxing and having a rest. Even the nightlife on Weizhou is less revelry than having a good time in one of its bars located in South Bay (NanWan) or a nice BBQ while enjoying the summer breeze from the sea.

If you travel with foreign bank cards, bring enough cash for your entire stay on the island. The only ATM on the island (in NanWan) will accept Chinese bank cards only and the local bank branch does not exchange foreign money either.

When planning a trip to Weizhou the weather forecast should be checked in advance. During heavy sea Weizhou Island can neither be reached nor left due to no ferries driving.

Understand[edit]

English is not widespread on Weizhou. As English is a school subject younger local people and children will be pleased to have a little English chat with foreign visitors. The dialect on Weizhou differs greatly from northern China's Mandarin. However, there are quite a lot of people who speak Mandarin, too.

Get in[edit]

Ferries to Weizhou depart daily from Beihai scheduled at 8:30AM, 11:15AM, 4:00PM and 5:30PM. First class ¥180/trip (advisable if you don't want to sit too close to your vomiting co-travellers). Second class ¥120/trip. In tourist season there may be more ferries, and during heavy sea, none.

Get around[edit]

The island has an impressive fleet of motor tricycles (¥5-20 per trip). The tricycle drivers rarely speak English. For exploring the island on one's own, motor scooters (¥120/day), e-bikes (¥80/day) and bicyles (from ¥20/day for city bikes up to ¥60/day for mountain bikes) can be rented as well. The deposit for renting is between ¥200 and ¥300. The renting prices may rise during Chinese national holidays.

Be aware that you need to own a Chinese driver's license to drive motor scooters on your own.

See[edit][add listing]

  • Crocodile Hill (鳄鱼山景区; ÈYúShānJǐngQū). This scenic spot is located in the Volcanic Park in the west of South Bay. Crocodile Hill can be reached either by walking or by taking a shuttle bus leaving at the Volcanic Geological Museum (¥20/trip). Tricycle drivers, motor cycles and bicycles are not allowed to enter the Volcanic Park. The island's entrance ticket must be shown to enter Crocodile Hill. Crocodile Hill has a round walk partially on wooden steps and planks that starts and ends at Crocodile Pharos and passes by the Seaview Pavillon, the Statue of Tang Xianzu, a volcanic vent, the Marine Pit, Canggui Cave, the Pirate Cave (Zeilao Cave), the sea arch, the Moon Bay, the Fall-In-Love-On-Weizhou-Island spot, coral sedimentary rocks, the Lover Bridge, the Moon Plaza, and the Sea Pier as well as craters and tree fossils.  edit
  • Shiluokou (石螺口景区; ShīLuòKǒuJǐngQū). Shiluokou is located at the western coast of Weizhou Island. Its long sand beach, the clear water and its coral reefs made it the most famous beach on Weizhou. On its managed beach are deck chairs, cold beverages, seafood BBQ and water sports availabe.  edit
  • Multicolored/Colorful Beach (五彩滩景区; WǔCàiTānJǐngQū). In low tide's sunrises this volcanic stone beach located at the east coast of Weizhou Island offers a breathtaking view when the sun is dazzling reflecting on the wave cut wet stone surface.  edit
  • Catholic Cathedral, Shèngtáng. The Catholic Cathedral in the middle of Shengtang Village was built over a decade in 1853 by French missionaries. It is made of coral sedimentary rocks from the sea bottom and built in neo-Gothic style.  edit
  • Saint Maria Church. The Saint Maria Church is a small Gothic-style Catholic Church located in Chengzai village. It is less famous than the Catholic Cathedral but still opens its doors for Sunday Mass.  edit
  • Sanpo Temple. Sanpo Temple in Weizhou's South Bay is also known as Tianhou Temple. After it collapsed due to lanslides it was rebuilt a few years ago. The former temple was built in 1732 to chase away the evil and bring peace to the island. Local fisherman still come to the temple to pray for good luck, a good catch and a safe home coming from the sea.  edit
  • Coral Reefs. The sea around Weizhou Island is rich in corals. They can be seen in low tide periods, while diving or joining a tour with glass bottom boots in West Beach (Shiluokou).  edit
  • Xieyang Island. Xieyang Island is a smaller island located 9 nautical miles to the southeast of Weizhou Island. It's total area is about 1.9km². A small path leads from its north to its south. It is famous for its birdlife and peaceful atmosphere and home for a little more than 100 people. The passage from Weizhou to Xieyang is including backpassage between ¥750 to ¥1,200 a boat, which can be shared by up to 12 passengers.  edit
  • Banana Plantations. Beside seafood, bananas are the most important goods produced on Weizhou. Banana plantations can be found beside the roads all over the island. The very tastefully fresh small and sweet bananas just cost a few yuan for a kilo.  edit

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Having fun on the beaches. Weizhou offers some of the best (and emptiest) beaches in China. However, because they don't have lifeguards, children and people unable to swim should not play in the sea unattended!  edit
  • Diving. With instructor. All the material is provided. 30-60 minutes for about ¥300. Booking at your living place, in South Bay or at Shiluokou.  edit
  • Snorkeling. Weizhou has two major coral reefs, one in the North-East and one close to Shiluokou in the South-West. Because of swimming accidents in the past and Jet ski driving being offered as well, Shiluokou now has some guards that prevent swimmers and snorkelers from swimming too far away. So more experienced swimmers may try their luck snorkeling during low tide on the northern beaches.  edit
  • Hiking. Exploring Weizhou Island by foot is fun. And because it is not very big, it's almost impossible to get lost.  edit
  • Bicycling. Bicycles can be rented in South Bay or at your living place.  edit
  • Fishing. Wheter using the own fishing rod on one of Weizhou's jetties or joining local fishermen with their fishing nets might bring fun in daytime and a fresh sea food supper in the evening. Joining fishermen can be arranged by your hotel or by directly asking the fishermen on the beaches.  edit

Buy[edit][add listing]

Weizhou Island offers a wide range of seafood, cheap and sweet little bananas and adornment made of shells and pearls. The biggest food, fruits and seafood market is located in Weizhou's South Bay (NanWan). A smaller market is located in Shengtang Village in front of the Catholic Cathedral. Small shops spread all around the island offer snacks, beverages and Chinese convenience products.

  • ATM, South Bay Road, close to the dockside of the market. Rural Agricultural Bank of China. This ATM does not accept international bank cards. China unionpay only.  edit

Eat[edit][add listing]

Smaller eateries and bigger restaurants are scattered all over the island. Weizhou is famous for its good and cheap seafood and its bananas. Seafood can be bought at South Bay's seafood market. Local eateries will prepare it for about ¥15-¥20 a dish. Other restaurants have their own selection of living sea animals that can be choosen by their guests and will be prepared in time. The seafood prices vary depending on the rareness of the seafood, the catch of the day and the weather conditions. Cheap (seafood) BBQ is available in daytime at West Beach (Shiluokou) and in the late evening at the dockside of South Bay's seafood market. Groups can also book goat BBQ.

Drink[edit][add listing]

In daytime, cold beverages are available in small shops all over the island. The most bars on Weizhou are located in its South Bay.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

  • Piggy Bar (猪仔吧; ZhuZaiBa), Beihai, Weizhou Island, South Bay Road, +86 (0) 779 6013610 (). Nice hostel located under the picturesque cliffs of NanWan. Free WiFi. Enclosed eatery, also serves Chinese breakfast. Dorm ¥40, air-con double ¥120.  edit
  • Beihai Weizhou Island Seahouse Hostel, Beihai, Weizhou Island, South Bay Road, No. 158, +86 (0) 779 6012298 (). Small hostel in Weizhou's South Bay. Limited amount of rooms. Friendly service. Free WiFi and self-service kitchen. Dorm ¥45, air-con double ¥150.  edit

Get out[edit]

Ferries from Weizhou to Beihai leave daily from the harbour (XiJiao MaTou) at 9:45AM, ..., 2:30PM, 4:30PM. First class ¥180/trip. Second class ¥120/trip. In tourist season there may be more ferries (but usually there are not), during heavy sea none. Especially during high season, it might be difficult for foreigners to get a return ticket, as the ticket pre-sale agencies have difficulties with foreign passports and the tickets are sold out very quickly. If you need to leave but didn't get a ticket, simply go to the ferry terminal before the earliest departure of the day, approach the policemen who check the tickets and explain to them that you couldn't get a ticket. They will either let you pass immediately or they will put you in an extra queue so you can go aboard after all the passengers having a ticket took a seat. Either way you will most likely have to sit on the floor and you will have to pay ¥120 on arrival in Beihai.


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