Here at Engaged Explorers we don’t fancy ourselves “city people” and sometimes we just need to get away from all the honking, neighbors screaming with the police at 2 a.m., 4 a.m. scooter alarms…you get the picture. Sometimes we need to escape from the hustle and bustle of Shanghai to keep our sanity and recharge. So we threw the essentials into a backpack and bought tickets to Shengsi Island.
The bus station is right outside exit 1 at Nanpu Bridge Station, line 4. The tickets were 110 rmb/person and that covers the bus ride and ferry as well. The bus will literally drive you out to sea upon the Donghai Bridge; at 32.5 km (20.2 miles) is one of the longest cross-sea bridges in the world. This leg of the trip will also take you through the Donghai Bridge Windfarm making for an eerie, almost post-apocalyptic, ride through the silent turbines rising out of the brown water amongst the fog. The bus ride is about 1.5 hours long and will deposit you right at the ferry station where you will wait a short time to start the second leg of the journey. Unlike the bus, the ferry does have assigned seating so make sure to sit in the correct seat (the number of the seat is on the BACK of the seat). The ferry ride out to Shengsi Island is only about 40 minutes long and you can pass the time watching the provided entertainment of a “quality” safety video and the latest Chinese TV shows.
Once you arrive at Shengsi you will have to negotiate a price for taxiing into town. The going rate for a taxi into town was 30rmb for us in Nov. 2015. We had read about cheaper fares (25 rmb) in years past, but 30 was the minimum we could negotiate.
Aside from getting away from Shanghai we had also wanted to try our hand at traveling to an unfamiliar place with minimal/no planning. We did indeed find dinner, a hotel and the main restaurant/shops road with a little on-foot exploration. However, we could’ve saved time and tension if we did decide to research more about Shengsi before just hopping on a bus. So do yourself a favor and at least find a place to stay before you make the trip out, we missed out on some really neat boutique budget hotel options that would’ve been in a more enjoyable part of the island.
So what is there to do in Shengsi? Well, that is good question. We took our trip in the off-season and during a rainstorm…leaving us very few options for activities. That is a testament of how desperate we were to get away from Shanghai, even if it was just for a night. Anyway, the town was extremely sleepy so set out on foot to explore the island and take pictures. Interestingly, even in a rainstorm in the offseason, the beach was still 20 rmb/person to go see it! No way we are going to pay to go to a beach in a November rainstorm.
We decided to walk back along a closed coastal road to be able to snap some photos of the beach without paying. See, some things in life are still free. The road was closed because there were multiple landslides and serious construction that would make passage in a car impossible. It was here that we discovered a nearly vertical stairway winding its way up through the trees and boulders. After a good bit of hiking we came upon an abandoned scenic lookout, which had been reclaimed by what we can only assume as local teenagers gauging by the empty alcohol bottles and graffiti. Here we got our best views of the entire trip that made the rainy walk more than worth it. It is a bit of a downer to think about how many of the world’s beautiful secrets are passed by as only a blur through the window of a car. Maybe next time skip the taxi, slow down, and stretch your legs a bit. You never know what you might find.
Another great day trip option in Shanghai is Sheshan Mountain, read more here!A Happy and Healthy Weekend Away - Shengsi Island by firstname.lastname@example.org