Bewitched by Beihai
By Li Jing (Beijing Weekend)
Updated: 2004-06-03 10:39
The majority of visitors to Beihai in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region
are on their way someplace else.
But this all-year-round beach resort on
the Beibu Gulf is starting to attract admiring second glances from visitors on
their way to established tourist traps like Hainan and Viet Nam.
The coastal city is within striking distance of Guangdong, Hainan,
Hong Kong, Macao and Viet Nam by land and sea.
Beihai was declared one of
the earliest open cities to foreign investment in 1984.
include shipbuilding, glass making, aquatic products processing and
offshore petroleum drilling.
Tourism, too, is on the rise in Beihai. For
most travellers it is still a stop on the way to Hainan or Viet Nam.
More than 2 million tourists visited Beihai last year, with two-thirds
of them passing through on their way to Viet Nam.
The architecture here
is a harmonious mixture of Western and Chinese styles. The residential zones are
surrounded by green plazas with distinctive features.
Beihai abounds in
tourism resources for visitors interested in a marine environment. It boasts
sea, sandy beaches, islands, seafood, coral and marine sports, as well as an
established maritime culture.
The bordering sea is clear and deep blue
and the sunshine is generally bright. The beaches of fine sand are amongst the
The Silver Beach (Yintan) is the ideal place to relax
and soak up the sun. On the volcanic Weizhou and Xieyang Islands you'll find an
atmosphere of tranquility and mystery.
Silver Beach lies to the south of Beihai, stretches 24 kilometres west
and varies in width from 30 to 300 metres. The beach gets its name from its soft
and silvery quartz sand. It has a reputation as one of the best in China. With
an average seawater temperature of 23C, it attracts sea-lovers all year
The beach is lined by a loose row of guest houses and villas
built in different styles.
Water sports including windsurfing, yachting
and motor boating are offered alongside traditional beach pursuits such as
volleyball and football.
At certain times of the year, for example, from
July to October, ethnic cultural dance shows are staged.
The resort is
well served by transport, communications, water and electricity resources and by
hotels, restaurants and entertainment facilities. Little wonder then that the
area is becoming a fast-growing leisure resort in the south of
Weizhou Island and Xieyang Island
Forty nautical kilometres from Beihai are found
Weizhou Island and Xieyang Island.
Visitors can enjoy the colourful,
beautiful corals by taking a boat ride operated by Jinhaiwan Tourism
Transportation Company. Cost is between 30 yuan (US$3.6) and 100 yuan (US$12)
per hour each person. The price you pay depends on what kind of boat you
Ruins of Ancient Bailong Pearl City
attraction is located in Bailong village in the east of Hepu County. According
to historical records, the Pearl City was the place where emperors from
far and wide came to choose their pearls. Unfortunately, it was destroyed during
several wars and now only some ruined ancient buildings remain.
of distinctive local customs include the Pearl Home, Hakka, and Danjia
Beihai is an ideal
resort for seafood lovers with hundreds of snack stores lining the streets. The
main seafood snack street is especially crowded between 7pm and 12pm.
Crab is the most popular snack in the street. It goes for 30 yuan
(US$3.6) per jin (500g).
How to get there:
Train routes and flights connect Beijing and Beihai. It takes more than 30 hours
by train and costs 500 yuan (US$60) for a sleeping berth and three by air.
Going by air costs around 2,100 yuan (US$253) each way per person. Ticket
agencies usually offer 30 to 40 per cent discounts so don't be shy to
After getting to Beihai, you can take a taxi to the Silver Beach,
which is about three kilometres from downtown Beihai. Just tell the driver you
want to go to Yintan (Silver Beach).
You can also take flights from
Beijing to Nanning, the capital city of Guangxi and then take a bus to Beihai.
The 210-km Nanbei (Nanning-Beihai) Expressway connects the two cities.