In Chun’an County, Zhejiang, China, you’ll come across one of the most beautiful man-made reservoirs in the world. Thousand Island Lake (Quiando Lake in Chinese) is one of the best scenic attractions in the county. Quiando gets its name from the 1,078 islands that exist across the lake.
Thousand Lake Forest Park is one of the largest national forest parks in China. The lake is also known as Green Thousand Island Lake due to its vast forest coverage of up to 80 percent. Over 90 different species of birds and fish call the park home. Walk through the majestic Purple Bamboo Garden or take in the sweet scents of the Osmanthus forest. The area is so pollution-free that you can actually drink the water!
Old temples and buildings from the New Stone Age are scattered around the lake’s many islands, meaning there’s plenty of ancient history to be explored. Learn about the thousand year old cities of Shi Cheng and He Cheng, which exist in memory beneath the surface of Thousand Island Lake. The cities were submerged when the area was flooded to create the new reservoir.
When to go: The best time to visit Thousand Island Lake is in the autumn and winter seasons (September–November). During this time, rainfall is less frequent so you’ll be able to get out and enjoy the scenery with fewer crowds around. It’s also about two-thirds cheaper to visit at this time than say March–June, which is the island’s peak season. No matter where you stay in the area, you’ll have a view of Thousand Island Lake to wake up to in the morning. Just in case, bring your rain gear, regardless of the season.
What to do: Take a boat ride with a planned route that takes you to different islands such as Bird Island, Monkey Island, or Plum Island. If you want an aerial view of the lake and surrounding vistas, opt for a cable car ride. Take home souvenirs of pearls, unique rocks and stones, and orchids. For the quirky traveler fascinated by unique oddities, visit Lock Island, which is said to house the biggest lock known to the Guinness Book of World records. Take a trip to the Lock Museum where you will find even more locks to fit your fancy. You can also head over to the Animal Interest Section of the island and interact with peacocks, snakes, monkeys, and ostriches. Guests are encouraged to feed, play, and take pictures with the animals.
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