Hai’ou Island (海鸥岛) is a quaint fishing island in Panyu District in southern Guangzhou. Spanning a length of 37.96 km, the island is currently home to 20,000 inhabitants (a small number as far as China goes) who mainly live in four villages across the island. While there are many little islands off the coast of Guangdong, Hai’Ou is special in that it is the only ecological one that has resisted major development and exploitation. In 2007, plans were announced to develop it into a fishing resort, but so far the island’s natural beauty has been well preserved. Hai’ou literally means “Sea gulls” but these are few and far between on the island. So what’s the main attraction then? Read on for suggestions on how to spend your time on Hai’Ou Island.
1) Explore the island
The island is a manageable size to explore in one day and offers a tranquil respite from city life. Whether you stroll along the tree-lined roads and soak in the sea air or take a boat through the island’s watercourses, it’s easy to forget about time here. The island also boasts a multitude of picturesque fishing areas lined with wooden houses not so different from the wooden buildings found along the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok.
2) Cycle around the island
There’s a green path that loops around the island and is perfect for scenic bike rides. You’ll get to the path by following the village path to the fisherman’s port (remember to make a left as the right will take you to a shipyard). The village and green paths both run parallel to the normal road so you can always switch paths if you encounter a road block. Also, be warned that there are many dogs on the island that might jump in front your path. Just try your best to ignore them and cycle on.
3) Try the local food
Fresh water and salt water converge at Hai’Ou Island and therefore makes it a particularly good spot for fish, shrimp, crabs and other delicacies from the sea. Some villagers may even be willing to let you try your hand at fishing and enjoy the fruits of your own labor. No matter what, make sure to indulge in a local meal and try the seafood – it doesn’t get any fresher than this.
4) Go Fishing
As mentioned above, there are many fishing areas located across the island. To try your hand at fishing, make sure to bring your own rods and equipment. The general charge for a day’s fishing is 40 RMB and your catch is yours to take home. Alternatively, take your catch to a village and have a local prepare it for you – though you’ll have to negotiate a price for this. It’s best to talk to villagers about preparation and costs before you set out to fish.
5) Lianhuashan Scenic Area
Lianhushan Scenic Area is situated right across from Hai’Ou Island but is connected to the island via bridge. In 2002, the government named the area one of Guangzhou’s top eight scenic attractions. The major attractions at Lianhuashan include the remnants of an ancient quarry from the Ming Dynasty as well as a city built during the reign of the Qing Emperor Kangxi. It is also home to a newly built gold-covered Goddess of Mercy Statue – allegedly the tallest in the world.
Hai’Ou IslandView In Map
Add: inside Shilou Village, Panyu District, Guangzhou
Opening hours: 24 hours
Getting there: take Metro line 3 to Shiqiao Station and get out at exit C. From there, walk to Shiqiao Bus Station and take the special Panyu Hai’Ou Island line (No. 148) to the final stop. The journey should take around 30 minutes.
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Keywords: Hai’Ou Island fishing village in Guangzhou
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