Sailing to Xisha Islands

Updated: 2016-06-10 07:51

By LI XIAOKUN(China Daily)

Sailing to Xisha Islands

A view from the aft deck of a cruise ship. CHINA DAILY

One day, we joined a group of islanders we had just interviewed to comb the beach. Crabs, conches and various kinds of fish were there for the taking. A colleague scooped up beautiful shells from the beach, which was littered with broken coral reefs.

Many friends on land were curious about my visit there after I posted some photos on my wechat account-in their mind the Xisha Islands is a mysterious area, generally closed to the public.

I told them cruise ships have been sailing from Sanya, in southern Hainan province, to several islands in Xisha since April 2013. There were 65 trips last year, with 16,000 passengers making the journey.

I checked the route of the only ship running from Sanya to the Xisha Islands, Star of Beibu Gulf, from Hainan Strait Shipping. The four-night trip takes tourists to the islands of Yagong, Quanfu and Yinyu.