Zhanjiang is a city of 7 million in the Guangdong province in the south of China, and has grown from being a small fishing port in the early 20th century, when it was occupied by the French. Today, some of those colonial buildings can still be seen.
Donghai Island is the fifth-largest island in China and has a popular holiday resort on its east coast. It is known for its 20 mile beach.
View French colonial buildings, such as the Chamber of Commerce Center in Guangzhou Bay and the Calyon site.
Zhanjiang has a number of theme parks, such as Zhanjiang Waterfront Park and Green River Wetland Park.
Enjoy a dining experience with a dinner buffet and a dip in the pools and hot springs.
Learn all about the history of Zhanjiang and the people's struggle with French occupation.
Occupying around 20 square miles in northeastern Zhanjiang, Huguangyan is gorgeous. The park is centered around a "maar", which is essentially the lake that forms after a volcano blows its top, and the one at Huguangyan is reckoned to be among the largest in the world. The lake has remarkably clear water, which creates a dazzling effect when light reflects off the cliffs around its edge, while the shores are dotted with ancient Buddhist temples and rides for kids to enjoy, so it's more than just a scenic marvel.
Located in southeastern Zhanjiang, Donghai occupies 110 square miles, and has an irresistible allure for tourists thanks to its warm weather, attractive scenery and - more than anything else - it's largely pristine beaches. Some of the beaches around the island's coast stretch for 20 miles, so finding a secluded spot is rarely an issue, but sunbathing isn't the only lure. Off the coast of Donghai, you'll often find colonies of white dolphins - one of China's national mascots, and boat tours can help you spot them playing in the surf.
Zhanjiang's municipal museum might not be cavernous, or crammed with an infinite array of archaeological wonders, but it's still very absorbing. Located in Chakan, its major exhibits document the way that Zhanjiang's people resisted attacks from French naval forces in the 19th century. Foreign visitors may not know much about this episode, but the locals remember it, and you'll soon learn everything you need to know. Along with that, there's an excellent show of ancient copper drums, and some delicate porcelain creations - enough for an afternoon of diversion and education, for sure.
Don't stop your local island hopping at Donghai, because Naozhou might be even more appealing, and probably less crowded. Situated on the seaward side of Donghui, this is the place to grab some of the city's famous seafood. After all, local fishermen land oodles of blue lobster and spotted crabs all the time, and bars on the island will whip up some delectable stir fries and soups. The 83 meter tall Naozhou lighthouse is a highlight. Its crystal beacon has been guiding sailors home for over a century.
Zhanjiang's outstanding inner-city park is another commemoration of the city's struggle against the French, but for less patriotic visitors, it's simply a tranquil spot with some intriguing attractions. The centerpiece is the Cunjin Bridge, an elegant stone structure put up in the 1920s in memory of the fallen, but it's been complemented by a peaceful flower garden, various duck islands and ponds, and twisting bamboo-shaded pathways that now defy the heat of southern China.
Zhanjiang has a humid subtropical climate, with mild winters and hot, wet summers. Fall through to spring may be a more pleasant time to visit.
The city is served by Zhanjiang Airport (ZHA), which has a number of domestic connections and international flights from Hong Kong and Bangkok. A taxi into the city center costs ¥54, while the SBA bus costs ¥5.
Zhanjiang has three train stations with extensive connections across China. The train from Guangzhou costs around ¥300.
Zhanjiang is connected to Macau by the G15, while the G75 runs from Haikou in the south and Nanning to the northwest.
Zhanjiang has good national bus connections, and the fare from Hong Kong is ¥280.
The Sovereign Hotel on Leshan Road offers five-star comfort with superb views across the bay, while the Jinxin Holiday Hotel on North Renmin Avenue offers budget rooms close to the Tropical Gardens.
Zhongshan - this is a busy area in the city center with lots of accommodation and good shopping.
Fujiancun - this is a quieter lakeside neighborhood to the north of downtown, with pleasant green space.
Chikan - this is a modern and bustling part of the city, with wide boulevards and extensive commercial areas to the south of the city center.
Zhanjiang has an extensive bus network, with the main 2, 11, 12, and 22 services serving the north to south corridors.
Taxis in Zhanjiang are plentiful and fairly cheap, with an initial fare of ¥5 and then ¥3 per mile.
Visitors should remember that a Chinese license is required to drive in China.
Minzhi Road is one of the main shopping streets in the city, with lots of technology and fashion outlets.
A quart of milk in Zhanjiang will cost ¥9 and a loaf of white bread is also ¥9.
Steakking Kitchen Production in the Chikan district offers Western-style cuisine, while Macau Street Food City on Shimao Plaza has good local dishes. You will pay around ¥16 for a meal in a cafe and ¥50 for a main course in an upscale restaurant.