Unsuspected Richness of Taohua Island
2011-04-01China travel Guide
Taohua Island (Peach Blossom Island)... This name sounds like a dream full of expectations. Being the second place I visited in China, this is important for me to present it to you as I was literally speachless in front of its beauty. The "Peach Blossom Island", Tao Hua Dao (桃花岛) in Mandarin Chinese, is part of the Zhoushan (舟山) archipelago located in northeastern Zhejiang Province (浙江省). The island south of the biggest Zhoushan island one (Dinghai Island), just represents 42 squeare kilometers but is a marvel of botanical diversity, lush sceneries of natural rich flora and fauna.
Spending a week on Zhoushan Island, I had the opportunity to spend 3 days and 2 nights on Peach Blossom Island. The island is sharing a marine channel with the famous Putuoshan (Putuo Mountain普陀山, one of the Four Sacred Buddhist Mountains in China), the only way to get on the island is to take on board for half an hour crossing from Zhoushan Island's harbor. The island got its name from the ancient peach tree branches naturally printed in a fossil-like way on stones. Spreading throughout the island, the stones are today the center of a legend that I learnt from our tour guide. Indeed, by touching the stones, people would find luck in seeking for love, an idea coming from the fact that the words "peach blossom" (tao hua) suggest romantic love encounters. I had the chance to see and touch one of these precious and legendary stones on my trip to Tao Hua Dao when I was visiting the rocky coastline of boulders and Buddhist legends. In this place, the scenery was just astonishing: huge bay with rock formations, clear water, green and bright vegetation intertwining with the typical Chinese pagodas and temples - the sights exceeded my expectations indeed!
Everywhere, some lion-like and turtle-like rock formations could be seen. The area was made of black wooden pathways standing out in sharp contrast with the beige rocks and the lush vegetation. Our attention was also taken on the other legends of the place, telling about Guan Yin Princess who ashamed herself after being seen by a young man while bathing in the sea. She is said to have fled to hide herself in a cave nearby. The place is today a great tourist sightseeing appealing to everyone's imagination for trying to glimpse her slim shape in the cave. The rock ball shape site in the area is another legend bringing luck and long-life prayers to anyone touching it!
The Peach Blossom Island is not very extensive, so I could did my trip mainly on foot or taking a little private bus sometimes. While visiting the island, I could have the chance to discover that it was also the most popular site for shooting Chinese movies and TV series! What a sight I had in here, really! Any traveler looking for some typical Chinese views would be delighted by the sight I had the tremendous chance to admire! We could enter the site, walking on the banks of a waterlily pond near to old Chinese stilt houses shaded by ancient trees, cobbled streets and other typical movie-like Chinese relics that any traveler to China can have in mind! The Taohua Island ilming base was in fact the place where some famous Chinese movies were shot such as "The Eagle-Shooting Heroes", the "Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils", "The Return of the Condor Heroes" and the "Duke of Mount Deer".
For travelers loving natural landscapes, this little island is just a must-see! Every part was a discovery all the more impressing every time. Located near to the filming base, the 38-meter-high and 7-floor Jilin Pagoda was also a great highlight to me. Our group decided to climb the mountain on which the pagoda stands despite the hot and humid weather we had during this three-day trip. The foot of the mountain is surrounded by a lotus pond where golden copper beefs were enjoying their times. Little souvenirs shops and dragon-turtle statues on the way to the top give the place a special taste not looking like every other tourist places in China. The site wasn't crowded with tourists, so we could enjoy our time at its best point there and take everlasting pictures.
Finally, before coming back to Zhoushan Island, my last but not least experience in this marvelous little Chinese island was: the beach! What a wonderful moment this was, this island is just an unsuspected paradise intertwining different types of sceneries for the pleasure of travelers having the chance to get there! The beach my group and I went for a few hours during the afternoon was called "Tawan Golden Sand Beach". There, a little restaurant serving some fresh beverages, fruits and other meals is at the disposal of tourists. The view while taking a rest there is just amazing!
The moment was a relaxing one far away for the tumultuous mainland. My Taohua Island experience was amazing and I think that pictures can speak for themselves even though I find that they may not be as beautiful as it was in reality. Looking for some different experiences of China far away from typical tourist cities, Zhoushan and its islands will fill your curiosity: a dream-like destination on your China tour!
--- By Sophie (Visit Our China)