Thousand island lake (Qiandao Lake) is a human-made lake with 1078 islets. It is located in Chun’an area in the west of Zhejiang Province in China. Underneath the lake, there are two cities, Shi Cheng (Lion City) which was built in 621 AD and He Cheng, also called Chun’an which was built in AD 208.
In order to supply the electrical needs of the growing city of Hangzhou, in 1959 the Chinese government built the Xin’an River Hydroelectric Station. A dam was constructed and these two ancient cities were drowned in the resulting artificial lake. In addition to these two ancient cities, 27 towns, more than 1,000 villages, about 45,000 acres of farming lands, and many houses left at the bottom of the lake. 290,000 people were relocated for this project. The ancient cities underwater have attracted diving tourists arranged by Chinese diving clubs.
You can walk along the lake to enjoy some quietness and clean fresh air away from polluted cities such as Shanghai. You can find good restaurants around the lake and have delicious fish foods with your family. It is a 4-hour well worth trip from Shanghai.
Biking around the lake and cruising boats are other activities in One thousand Island.
The road is in good condition and can take up to two days to complete the tour all the way around the lake. The cruise boats take different routes for their tours and based on the routes and the type of the boat the prices vary. It anywhere from 30 to 60 Yuan per person, for children it is less. I recommend you rent a small boat for half a day.
How to go to the Thousand Island Lake from Shanghai and Hangzhou
Take the direct bus from South long distance bus station (next to south railway station). It’s almost a 4 hours ride from Shanghai.
Take the bus at Hangzhou West Long Distance Bus Station (杭州汽车西站). They start at 6:00 AM and depart every 40 minutes until 6:00 PM. It is almost a 2 hours ride from Hangzhou.
Hangzhou wouldn’t disappoint you either if you like Shanghai. There is a mountainous area (Jiuqu) with many tea farms, it’s a place where you can embrace the real nature.
One Thousand Island Lake (Qiandao lake), near Hangzhou, wrapped by morning mist.