Beidaihe is a Chinese tourist resort near Qinhuandao city in Hebei province. It is close to both Beijing and Tianjin cities and so a popular holiday destination. First to come were Europeans at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century. They brought the European tradition of sun bathing and swimming in the sea. From the 1950s on, Beidaihe was popular with the Chinese elite. Its proximity to Beijing made it a convenient summer camp for the leadership. Mao Zedong and others frequented the resort. Today it remains popular with Chinese tourists. Russians also come here from the Russian Far East and Siberia looking for the traditional European style, “Sun, sea and sand” beach holiday. You’ll find few westerners here, just Chinese and Russian tourists.
I visited Beidaihe in August 2014 along with my family. The beaches stretch for many kilometres starting at Qinhuangdao, running round Beidaihe and onwards to Nandaihe. We stayed in an apartment hotel in the south of Qinhuangdao. It cost 200 RMB per night. We drove to Beidaihe in about 20 minutes form here. We elected to avoid the parks and just find a strip of beach. We found just a spot on the south side of Beidaihe’s headland. Renting a parasol and deck chairs for a day, everywhere we looked we saw Russian sunbathers. The Chinese generally don’t like sun bathing as they want white skin. The Russians follow the European tradition of sun worship. Spend the whole day on the beach and got rather too much sun. One thing to be careful of in China – though the sky is hazy for much of the summer, the sun is strong. You can easily get heat stroke even though you might not get sun burnt. Make sure you consume large amounts of water/juice throughout the day.