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Swaying palm trees, golden-yellow sandy beaches and a tropical blue sea: these are not the first images that spring to mind when thinking about China. After all, China is not a beach holiday destination. At least, that’s what lots of visitors think – yet nothing could be further from the truth.
Depending on how you measure it, China’s jagged coastline extends between 14,000 and 30,000 km. Here you will find countless beaches, ranging from the northern beaches close to the capital of Beijing to the tropical snorkelling paradises of the South China Sea. So don’t forget to pack your swimsuit!
There are many secluded beaches around Dalian in the north-east, often between impressive rock formations. This is a lovely place to come and relax when visiting Qingdao, a metropolis on the other side of the water. The most beautiful beach in Dalian is Bangchuidao. Just the way there is well worth the journey as the surrounding hills are full of cypress and pine trees. When you arrive, you will see a remarkably clean beach which faces a deserted island, an easy swimming distance from the coast. The hotel of the same name, in the corner of the bay, is equally as romantic as its surroundings.
Macau was the first and last Portuguese colony in East Asia. The archipelago has become a famous holiday destination, mainly because of its casinos and Portuguese heritage. Macau is a city of Mediterranean avenues, cathedrals and fortresses, which often still feels distinctly Portuguese. The southernmost of the three islands, Coloane, is also the quietest. There are two beaches here at the foot of the Alto de Coloane. The golden sands of Cheoc Van invite sun worshippers, while the black sand of the slightly more distant Hac Sa is somewhat less photogenic but still very popular – especially thanks to the many beach bars situated along its 4-kilometre stretch. This is also the location of Restaurante Fernando, a seafood restaurant with the best views of Macau. What more could you ask for?
Hainan Island is the southernmost part of China. It is at more or less the same latitude as the islands of Hawaii, which it bears a small resemblance to. Sanya, a city on the south side of the island, is known for having the only true tropical beaches in China and coconut trees grow in what is perhaps the whitest sand in the country. The bays of Dadonghai and Yalong are home to resorts so luxurious that some beach villas have their own pools. If you opt to explore the South China Sea with a snorkel, you’ll discover a wonderful undersea world of red coral, tropical fish, marvellous seashells and huge turtles.