CITYLIFE / Weekend & Holiday

Small islands to beat summer heat
By Xiao Fu (Shanghai Daily)
Updated: 2006-06-28 09:02

Pack a tent, sleeping bag and, of course, mosquito repellent. It's time to go camping.

It's the latest fad among young professionals. People are camping on 20 uninhabited, small islands in Shanghai's suburban districts or neighboring provinces to beat the summer heat.

No scheduled ferries exist to the islands, therefore, they are relatively unspoiled. Campers can negotiate with private boat owners for passage to an island. Prices will vary depending on how long the trip takes. Most of the islands are no more than two hours from downtown Shanghai.

Tianchi Island is about 20,000 square meters and is found on Dianshan Lake. It's one of the most popular camping spots and is under the jurisdiction of Wujiang, Jiangsu Province. The island is about 10 minutes by boat from Grand View Garden Park in Shanghai. Campers started showing up for the first time about three years ago.

"There is nothing over there and we set up tents and cook our meals with a camp fire," said Gong Xiaokui, who works in the IT sector and has been to Tianchi three times. "I love living in the wilderness away from the city lights."

According to the Shanghai Ocean Bureau, the city now has 19 uninhabited islands covering 226.27 square kilometers, with a total coastline length of 309 kilometers.

One island is a national nature reserve-Jiuduansha Wetland. It's at the junction of the Yangtze River and the East China Sea. And three islands are city-level nature reserves - Big Jinshan Island, Small Jinshan Island, and Fushan Island in Jinshan District.

There are no tours to these islands.

However, a professor at Shanghai Maritime University said the islands could be ruined by campers.

"Too many tourists might be deadly to these islands," said professor Fu Quanshen. "They are small and far from the mainland. The ecologies of these islands are more fragile."

He said campers need to clean up the site and take all their garbage off the island.