Besides Lyushun, Dalian in Liaoning province, offers travelers an off-season weekend destination that's relatively untouched by mass tourism. There, Dawangjia Island on the Shicheng Archipelago of the Yellow Sea, serves as a pleasant surprise for adventurous travelers.
To begin the journey, maybe on a Friday, you could first fly to Dalian, which is among Northeast China's most prosperous cities and is perched on the Liaodong Peninsula, bordering the Yellow Sea to the north. On landing in Dalian, take a road trip to Zhuanghe, which is a town some 170 kilometers northeast of Dalian.
Zhuanghe is closest urban area to the archipelago that is a chain of more than 70 islands and big reefs. A taxi ride should cost you about 400 yuan ($64) and take two hours.
After staying there for a night, you could catch a ferry from Zhuanghe to Dawangjia Island in the morning.
It is always better to check the ferry schedule before you leave owing to weather-based adjustments.
The 90-minute boat ride is usually pleasant in this season, with a refreshing wind blowing and the warm sunshine in your face. As the passenger boat is bigger than ordinary fishing boats of the area, your journey is expected to be stable and you don't need to worry about seasickness.
As there are few local passengers or tourists in this season, you can leave your luggage in the cabin, get onto the deck and enjoy the view of the sea. Surrounding the isles are white floats that serve as traps for fish. The floats are favorite haunts of seagulls. They are seen either resting or eating fish and are largely indifferent to the passing boats.
When you arrive at the island, a small but tidy port will greet you.
There you can see a lighthouse standing on top of a hill to the south amid some fantastic scenery.
The major interest then would be to visit the White Reef and Black Reef near the island.
Standing side by side, about 1 km east of the island the reefs are occupied by cormorants and seagulls. If you hire a small fishing boat, you could get close to the reefs in about 20 minutes.
The next morning, you could hike up the hill to the lighthouse. A path along a ridge, passing through the woods and several vantage points, would take you to the lighthouse. From there you can enjoy a bird's-eye view of the two bays on the northern and southern sides of the island. On a clear sunny day, the view is spectacular.
After a day and a half on the island, you could return to Dalian on Sunday afternoon. The rest of the week at work would appear smoother after such a weekend getaway.