Nan'ao Island, also named Nan Ao Island, is located between the coastlines of Fujian, Guangdong and Taiwan Provinces. The area is composed of the main island and then another 22 smaller surrounding islands, all covering an area of approximately 130 square kilometers. Nan Ao Island has much to offer tourists: blue skies, white waves, sandy beaches, beautiful mountain scenery, historic temples and parks rich in wildlife. The climate is warm in the winter, and yet cool in the summer, thanks to a strong breeze that blows in from the sea. The average annual temperature is 21.5C (70.7F).
Qing Ao Bay is one of the most renowned beaches in Guangdong Province. It stretches for more than 2,400 meters , and is covered with very soft and fine sand. The surrounding waters are jade blue, and remain untainted by pollution. Running from north to south is an area of shelterbelt, which combines with these other features to create a spectacular view.
Nan Ao Island's mountains are commonly praised as 'pearls above the sea'. The mountain area contains many kinds of botanical plants, which can be found at the National Forest Park of Huanghua Mountain. In the park, visitors are surrounded by the most stunning natural scenery: beautiful flowers, singing birds and awe-inspiring views. So it got another name of 'Natural Arboretum at Sea in Southern China'. The nearby Bullion Island is also worth a visit, with highlights including a winding, nine-bend bridge and a historical stone-carved statue which is said to guard the bullion and treasure on the island.
Another of Nan Ao Islands' most famous sites are the Song Wells. There are three Song Wells in total; the Dragon Well, the Tiger Well and the Horse Well. Historically, these were used to provide emperors, ministers, soldiers and their horses with drinking water. However, today the wells have begun to sink into the sand on the seashore, although the water from the wells still remains fresh. It is really amazing.
The island's religious temples are also popular with visitors. There are more than 30 large temples in total. Among these is the Dieshiyan Old Temple, considered one of the most important of its kind in Southeast Asia. The features of another nearby temple, the Guandi Temple, match the architectural style of the ancient palace. It was built on a similarly large scale, and is also renowned throughout the southeastern coastal region.
The island has more than 50 areas containing cultural relics and places of historical interest, such as the General Mansion of Army and the Changshanwei Emplacement, both of which have been recently restored to their former glories. The County Museum of Cultural Relics and Historic Sites is also conveniently situated near to these sites.
For those visitors with an interest in some of the more recent developments on the island, it also boasts the biggest wind power generation station in Asia.
The best times to visit: The best time to visit is in the months of April, May, September and October. Guest houses and hotels are modestly-priced, with the service offered comparatively well. Most hotels are able to offer rooms with views of the sea and surrounding coastline.
Local Food: Try sampling the local flavor dishes such as the beef bolus, the lobster with lettuce, the fresh cockle, the Oyster Omelet and a variety of other seafood dishes.
How to get there: The transportation methods on the island are by ferry, passenger ship and coach. The bus runs three times a day from Shantou General Coach Station. The departure times are: 8:20, 12:00 and 14:00.
|Qing Ao Bay||CNY 15|
|General Mansion of Army||CNY 10|
|Bullion Island||CNY2 (weekday), CNY 5 (on holiday)|
|Song Well||CNY5 (weekday), CNY12 (on holiday)|