& # 039; Lake of 1,000 islands & # 039; a weekend getaway

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About half a century ago, the vast area occupied today by Lake Qiandao was a mountainous region where people had been living for more than 1,000 years.

The construction of a dam and a hydroelectric plant on the Xin’an River involved the relocation of tens of thousands of people. In just one night in 1959, the mountains flooded, and only their points reached their peak above the waterline.

Qiandao Lake, located in the neighboring province of Zhejiang, literally means "lake of 1,000 islands."

The Xin’an River reservoir created by the dam became Lake Qiandao and provided an impressive landscape. There are 1,078 large and innumerable smaller islands that dot the lake, which is flanked by very wooded hills.

The lake, in Chun’an County, in the provincial capital of Hangzhou, is only two hours away by high-speed train from Shanghai. It has become a popular weekend getaway for Shanghai residents.

It really takes two days and one night to do justice to the area. There are boat trips on the lake and the hotel complexes by the lake where visitors can appreciate the landscape from their balconies.

& # 39; Lake of 1,000 islands & # 39; a weekend getaway


Qiandao Lake

Meifeng Island is the most recommended place. From the Meifeng peak, you can see the entire lake and its small islands. There are two observatories on the island; The westernmost offers the best views. Time permits, it is said, more than 300 islands can be seen from the observatory there.

Cable cars are available at the top of the peak, but many visitors prefer the 20-minute walk, amid fresh air, green trees and sometimes blooming flowers.

Lovers of outdoor activities will enjoy the Forest Oxygen Bar, a vast forest on the southeast side of the lake. There, they can enjoy grass skiing, rock climbing and other healthy outdoor activities.

After sightseeing, it's time to go to the local culinary scene. At the top of the list of delicacies is the fish head soup. All restaurants in the scenic area have soup advertisements on their signs.

The name may discourage some foreigners who do not know that fish heads are the best broth and have some of the most delicious meats. If you can pass the image of a fish head with your eyes wide open looking at them from a milky broth, you will receive real pleasure.

The taste of the soup is divine. The rich taste of fish meat melts completely in the soup. Other ingredients in the soup, such as fish balls, ham, bamboo shoots, tofu and corianders, are the icing on the cake.

The "organic" fish labeled locally used in the dish refers to the stained silver carp of culture. In China, this breed of fish is often used to make soups because of its especially large head, which can weigh up to 4 kilograms. It is not surprising that the dish here is often dubbed the "fish-headed king soup."

Carp farming on the lake dates back to the 1980s, when tens of thousands of fish were caught in huge nets. Sometimes, on weekends, fishing activities take place on the lake and are open to visitors. Seeing thousands of fish jumping in the lake is perhaps a unique experience for many.

& # 39; Lake of 1,000 islands & # 39; a weekend getaway


Large carp flip flops in the fishing net on Qiandao Lake in Zhejiang Province. Fishhead soup is a local specialty and favorite in local restaurants.

Sturgeon raised in pens in the lake is used to produce caviar.

Visitors can try fishing with a net, but it is not an easy job. Many professional fishermen here have perfected their skills for decades.

Among them is Ye Zhiqing, whose nickname is "fishing master". A fisherman for more than 30 years, Ye has seen the rise of the fishing industry and tourism in the scenic area.

"We have seen how tourism steadily increased here," he says.

"We have seen how tourists went from being interested only in the fishhead soup to enjoy the fishing itself, and we have seen how our soup became so popular that it is now vacuum packed so that the people take her home. " In fact, we have seen a lot and everything has been good. "

Ancient underwater cities

Before the Xin’an River reservoir was born, two nearly 2,000-year-old cities became the "Atlantis of China."

Shicheng and Hecheng were once shopping centers in ancient Huizhou. The old city walls, memorial gates, stone lions and Huizhou-style houses now sleep under the waters of Lake Qiandao.

Scientific exploration in recent years showed that most of the buildings are still intact. Divers have managed to identify meeting rooms, cast houses, 11 memorial gates and other buildings, tracing a general design of the two cities.

& # 39; Lake of 1,000 islands & # 39; a weekend getaway


Two ancient cities are in a mysterious cemetery under the waters of Lake Qiandao. Diving and underwater tourism have been banned to help preserve structures.

A submarine called Tianqing was built about 20 years ago, with the aim of taking people underwater to see the remains of the cities, but the plan sank due to legal and security problems. Experts fear that the walls and doors cannot withstand the turmoil of a submarine.

In 1998, a Chinese-Italian consortium began planning a submerged floating underwater tunnel that would allow visitors to "walk" near the ruins, but it never came true. In 2012, the Chun government completely banned the development of underwater tourism. Individual diving was also banned, leaving ancient cities to rest in peace.

Shicheng was built during the Eastern Han dynasty (AD 25-200). Today's visitors can take a look, somehow, at their former greatness in a replica built on the lake.

There, they can walk the facsimile streets and stay in imitation hotel rooms.

Everything is ironic. While real relics lie underwater nearby, people relive their past only through aftershocks that seem very new.

If you go

High-speed trains run from Shanghai to Qiandao Lake Station on the Hangzhou-Huangshan Railway. From the train station, shuttle buses operate to the main scenic area, which is about 20 kilometers away. A ferry port launches most of the transport around the lake.


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