Left: A traditional worship ceremony in Zhoushan; Right: Some houses in Daishan Island are used as homestays and are decorated in traditional fishing-village-style but have modern comforts.
With more than 1,300 islands, it would be a mistake to think Zhoushan's tourism resources are limited to the main island.
It's worth spending a few days on the islands out in the sea. They are not famous island paradises like Hawaii, the Maldives or Santorini, but they offer visitors authentic Chinese island life.
A ferry that goes about 20 kilometers north of Zhoushan Island takes travelers to Daishan island, the second largest island of Zhoushan city. Apart from the main Daishan Island, there are 378 small islands in the region.
In Daishan, there is huge respect for the sea and sea culture. The 119-square-kilometer island has six museums featuring different aspects of the sea.
China Ocean and Fishing Museum has a collection of fishing gadgets, fish specimens and thousands of seashells and conches on view.
The China Lighthouse Museum is the only lighthouse-themed museum in the country. Visitors can learn about the evolution of lighthouses around the world and read stories about different lighthouses.
China Reefs Museum is an open-air museum that consists of 134 natural islands and 69 reefs.
There is also the China Typhoon Museum, China Coastal Defense Museum and China Salt Industry Museum.
At the northwestern corner of Daishan Island is Dongsha, the only remaining ancient fishing town in China. The history of the town dates back to the Tang Dynasty (618-907). During the period of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), it was a prosperous commercial center in China's East coastal area. According to the book History of Fishery in China, during the fishing season of 1917, 12,601 fishing boats with more than 80,000 fishermen gathered in Dongsha.
Today, the town is left with quiet lanes, traditional houses and old people who have plenty of tales to tell.
Unlike other ancient towns on the Chinese mainland, Dongsha ancient town has not been commercialized. The lanes are not overcrowded with tourists and shops don't all sell the same souvenirs that people find in almost every tourist spot.
The town sits quietly, waiting for people who are really willing to hear its stories. Traditional festivals in Dongsha send visitors back hundreds of years.
Outside the ancient town is Xiao'ao fishing village. This once busy fishing port no longer has fishing boats coming and going, but it acts as a museum of old Chinese fishing villages.
Houses in the village are hundreds of years old. Many of them are no longer occupied, but traces of fishermen's lives can still be found by walking into the empty homes. If the stone walls could talk, they would have some interesting stories to tell.
Businessmen have turned some houses into homestays, which are decorated in traditional fishing-village-style with modern comforts. In a homestay, you can fall asleep to the rhythm of sea water lapping onto the rocks.
During the fishing seasons, owners of the homestays often show their hospitality by offering visitors a whole table full of fresh seafood.(ChinaDaily.com.cn)