So I rated it a four ...
The background is that this is not an easy travel destination if you don't speak Chinese or are very well prepared; and once there it totally depends on what your expectations are.
The review below is more to let you know what to prepare if you decide to go. If you don't speak Chinese try to get professional help from a tour guide or your hotel and also make sure they can support as backup if you need help once there.
To start; My very subjective comparison is - think Gran Canaria, Playa del Ingles, and relocate it to China ... the difference is that you are as much a tourist attraction as the island :-).
We spent two days in Shengsi Islands (we stayed at Feichengwurao Resort in Jihu Village, Caiyuan Town; this is on Sijiaoshan Island, the same islands you arrive to with the high speed boat). This is an upscale hotel and it was a very nice experience.
Link to hotel, http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g1372209-d3644587-Reviews-Feichengwurao_Resort-Shengsi_County_Zhejiang.html
First, the trick is to find out how to get there. Even my Chinese friend who is an experienced tour guide was unsure. Through some extensive googling we found out that the most efficient way was to take the bus from the long distance bus station at Nanpu bridge and buy a combined ticket; first bus to the deepwater port and then boat to the main island . The most entertaining description of how to find the bus station is here; one note though, as far as I could understand the address is 1788 Waima Lu (not 1588 as it says in the blog).
http://blog.chinatravel.net/china-travel-tips-advice/weekend-excursion-from-shanghai-to-shengsi-island.html another one is here
There are different priced tickets and a first class. We paid 120 RMB each for one way and had OK seats on lower deck. We also tried to find out how to buy tickets back and the most convenient way is likely to buy them in the boat terminal when you arrive to Shengsi Island ... which we missed. For the time table; that is another issue - we talked to a number of persons including the hotel in Shengsi Island and got a variety of suggestions :-) in the end we took a bus at 8.20 in the morning and arrived just before noon (while the information we had was that it would leave either 8.30 or maybe 8.40). Here I strongly suggest you get professional help to figure out when to go. Make sure you have around 15 to 20 minutes buffer when arriving to the bus terminal (and it is the long distance bus terminal you should go to).
Once arrived the way we got around was by cab. The cabs don't run on a meter so make sure you agree on the price before heading off. The cost was 50 RMB to get to the hotel and around 15 to 20 RMB to get from the hotel to the "city".
We stayed smack on the beach (on what I would call the north beach at Houtan Bay but normally referred to as the east beach). My chinese friend really liked the clean air and the fresh water. The water is not crystal clear but a little bit opaque as a result of the tides and the sand they stir up. Independently it was a nice experience. The beach was clean and guarded and big. So no crowds. There was an entry fee to this beach but is was included in our hotel fee; my understanding is that is was around 80 RMB.
For sightseeing; my take is that it is the beach and the seafood you come for. We also visited a very nice temple just east of our hotel. As far as we could figure out it was the Dabeishan temple. We actually walked there from our hotel (it worked out OK but bikes would have been better :-)). However the traffic on the road is very light. Our hotel helped us out with bikes the first day (but they were standard chinese size and maybe somewhat small for more extensive excursions ...)
For food; first night we had dinner on the street. It was very good; we checked who had the freshest display and most local customers. We had crab, shrimp and a lot of really good local vegetables in a soup. The crabs were simply fantastic. Meal priced around 60 RMB per person since the crabs and shrimp added to the cost. My suggestion is to go for the boiled food not the barbecue. Second day we had lunch at an area with a lot of small restaurants looking over the port. I have added a picture of the business card/address for one of them. We finally found this place with help of a richshaw driver while the cab drivers seems to mainly try to drop ypu off at one of their friends ... For the price of the food; there is clearly a substantial markup if you are a tourist and even more so if you are a westerner. I suggest you do your best to haggle :-), but not if you have the street food.
In short; if you have time over and have done Shanghai, Hangzhou or Suzhou and a water town; want to get away from the beaten track and see how some locals spend their holiday this is as condensed as it can get :-). If you are looking for a tropical island experience at a fancy hotel this is not your destination. Personally I had both a great time and some cultural overload :-). When at the Island there was maybe two or three more non Chinese there at the same time. The island is reasonably clean and litter removal seems to work well.
As part of preparations; try to get as many of the seafood varieties you like can written down in Chinese. At many restaurants it is as ususal that you can just point at what you want but not all is on display we found out.
Good luck with the adventure.
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