Your adventure to Bangchui Island Beach (棒棰島) begins once you step into your taxi. Soak in the Dalian skyscrapers that rise like giants throughout downtown, breath in the smog, and listen to the car horns barking at you, because you’re about to leave them all behind.
If you live in downtown it will take you ten minutes to reach Yingbin Road. Once you turn onto Yingbin Road you will know that you’re close to Bangchui Island, because the atmosphere around you will suddenly change. It will seem as if you’ve left Dalian altogether and that you’ve somehow driven into another city. Roll your windows down because a cool fresh breeze will hit your face and flow down into your lungs. View the manicured lawns that unexpectedly appear. Don’t forget to look off into the distance at the pristine forest mountains.
You will stay on Yingbin Road for 3 kilometers and soon you’ll reach a ticket window. You now have two choices: You can pay for your tickets and then hop back into the taxi and drive down to the beach or you can say goodbye to your taxi driver and walk down to the beach yourself.* I suggest that you take the taxi down to the beach (it’s about 1 km from the ticket window to the beach) and then after you have enjoyed the shore walk back out.
The taxi driver will drive you through a beautiful park, then you’ll reach the small parking lot of Bangchui Island Beach. Upon arriving at the coast you will immediately understand why this beach translates to One Island Beach in English, because straight ahead a beautiful island off the coast will appear.
This island juts out of the sea and brings to mind a smaller version of the famous islands that protrude out of Halong Bay in Vietnam. The trees and other green vegetation that line the top of this small island will make you want to swim to over to it for a closer view. Then you’ll realize that although the island appears very close to shore it’s actually about 1 km out to sea, so leave the swimming to the fish.
More than meets the eye
After you finish staring at the island look left and observe the majestic mountains lined with trees. You can walk up these mountains and at the top is a pavilion which offers a great view of the entire beach. Then look right and observe the black lagoon. You can walk to the lagoon and sit beside it while listening to small waves lap against the cliffs.
Enjoy the beach. Go for swim, take a nap, walk around, but don’t spend all your time at the beach because the park itself is also a sight to take in.
The surrounding park offers a peaceful lake and plenty of green foliage. You can walk along the winding roads while enjoying the sound of the wind rustling through the trees.
*If you don’t have a lot of time or you aren’t interested in walking 4 km to the main road, you should get out of the taxi at the ticket gate and then walk through the park until you reach the coast. Then you can wait in the small parking lot next to Bangchui Beach for a taxi. This small parking lot is the only place you are guaranteed to get a taxi; it can be very difficult to get a taxi at the ticket gate or along Yingbin Road.
One ticket into the park costs 20 RMB. This ticket covers everything I’ve described above.
Bangchui Beach was designed for government workers throughout China as a remote vacation spot. Because Bangchui Beach is intended for government workers it is not promoted as a tourist location. Therefore there are no buses that run to Bangchui Beach: you have to take a taxi. A taxi ride costs about 20 RMB from downtown Dalian.
Food and Drinks
There is one small BBQ restaurant next to the beach. The quality of the food is very good, but the prices are about 5 times more expensive than the prices an average restaurant in Dalian charges, so make sure you bring enough cash if you get the munchies.
There is one small snack shop next to the beach. You can buy water, instant noodles, sweets, and so on at this shop. The prices are little more expensive than your usual run-of-the-mill snack stand, but reasonable nonetheless.
Two things besides the natural beauty of this beach stand out: There is no trash anywhere and even on a summer weekend it won’t be crowded. With that in mind, it’s an almost perfect getaway! Try not to go on the day when the government officials are having their annual outing though.
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