Qiandao Lake is composed of 1078 islands. Fun fact: it's actually not a natural late, but a man-made "water deposit" after the construction of a hydroelectric station in 1959. Under water there were still ruins of 2 ancient towns (with thousands years of history) which were evacuated for building the hydroelectric station. So the little "islands" we now see were actually tips of the mountain range that was there once before.
Qiandao Lake is actually huge: 221.2 square miles. Out of the thousands islands there are a few major ones. The most popular ones are:
- Meifeng Island：here you can find the highest point of the scenic area. You have the option to hike up or take the cable lift for 30rmb/person each way. Honestly it's not a big hike at all with all stairs, I didn't hike but the cable lift was only 5 minutes, I heard from someone who did hike said it was just 20min.
- Monkey Island: where you find monkeys
- Dragon(Snake) Island: where you find snakes (not wild ones)
- The most popular route is to take the ferry from Yeyou Warf (夜游码头）to Meifeng Island. There are 2 major ferry companies to choose from:
- Large ferry: only 2 per day, 8am and 10am. You get to go on 3 islands including Meifeng Island where the viewpoint is. Takes 5hrs in total, cost 185rmb+/person <- it's quite rushed.
- (Luxury) traditional Chinese boat: You only get to go on Meifeng Island but it's more comfortable, takes 3 hours. It costs 340-400 rmb/person (1 hr going, 1 hr-ish on Island, 1hr-back) . It's costly but includes drinks snacks and a hot buffet meal.
- Luxury fast boat: You visit Meifeng Island and Fish Island, takes 2 hours, costs 480rmb+ /person.
- Tickets: you can choose and buy them at the ticket office located at the Warf.