Southern Guangxi Province: Beihai

8 Aug

Children trying to play on a super hot playground in the middle of the day in Nanning.

After leaving Guilin, we travelled south to Nanning, the capital city, and then Beihai, a coastal town with Silver Beach, a famous beach in China. When we got to Nanning the first evening, we thought it seemed very nice. But the next day, it was just so hot, it was tiring just to go around to a few parks and everything was deserted since people don’t go out in the middle of the day.

Peiman trying to relax at the park in Nanning.

We were so tired, in fact, that we decided not to spend another day in Nanning when travelling from Beihai to Kunming. We also looked into going to Detian Falls but the price was too much and it was three hours each way that it just did not seem worth it. Instead we thought we would decide in Beihai if we should spend the extra two days in there or in Kunming.

View toward the beach – strange houses on the left and “Roman remains” on the right.

That afternoon, we took a train to Beihai. Our first hotel was close to the beach, on the edge of town and the beach was really quite nice and deserted! We found out that “Silver Beach” was a little further along the same span of beach and it was packed but we were on the other end of the beach and since that part was not famous, had fewer trees and some strange architecture.

“Fairy tale” housing complex.

The architecture around this area of Beihai was just bizarre. First, there was a large new housing or hotel area starting from hotel and going along the road by the beach, that looked like a collection of houses from fairy tales or kids’ blocks’ creations. Then, between the road and the beach there were some unfinished Roman ruins-type structures. They even had fake trees made of concrete! It was very strange. But it didn’t take away from the lovely beach and quite clean water.

Concrete trees.

Peiman collecting garbage at the beach.

Although not the official “Silver Beach”, as far as nature was concerned, it was the same beach, same very fine sand, etc. The only thing was that it was a bit dirtier, with people throwing garbage like plastic bags and empty bottles and no one cleaning it up (unlike on Silver Beach). One time, when Peiman had enough of swimming, he went around picking up the garbage while people looked at him strangely.

Our beautiful beach

The two days we spent in this hotel and on this beach were beautiful and we truly enjoyed the swimming and playing. We always went swimming in the morning, then took a break in the early afternoon and then again in late afternoon. On the last morning when we had to check out the weather changed to slight rain but Peiman and I still went swimming. The water was actually quite warm and the occasional small showers didn’t bother. It was actually nice to have time alone to swim.

Having fun in the water.

Roya’s karst hill creations.

Relaxed and captivated.

A dirty inlet in Beihai.

The day before we moved to our hotel in town (because the weekend price of the beach hotel was much more than the weekday price and the other hotel looked like it had a nice pool), we went into town in the afternoon for a chance of scene (and because my guidebook said it was very nice). Well, we didn’t like it there.

Our lovely hotel – too bad the surroundings were not nicer.

The town was quite dirty in parts; there was especially a lot of garbage in the water of the inlet near our new hotel but the hotel still looked nice so we felt ok. However, when we went to the hotel the next day, and tried to go swimming in the pool, we found out that not only was the water very cold (and the days not so hot anymore, with clouds) but also we had to use tickets to go in. Each of our twin rooms got two tickets but kids needed their own tickets and you could only use a ticket for one visit. We had planned to spend all day at the pool but if leaving for a meal, we would have to pay to visit again. As it turned out, we didn’t even need more tickets as the weather turned cold and rainy at times.

The nice pool with cold water we hardly used. 

Roya walking down an alley in the old town.

To be fair, we did visit the “old town” nearby and it was quite nice but overall, we were left with a not very favorable impression of Beihai except for the beach which we did enjoy hanging out at and may even come back to. But when we do, we will avoid the town.

It was, however, a happy time when we left and looked forward to our time in Yunnan. We were also satisfied with our decision to add only one day to our stay in Beihai and the other to Kunming, where we were going next.

On the bus to the train back to Nanning before flying to Kunming.

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