Situated on the coast of Bohai Bay in northeast Hebei Province in North China, Qinhuangdao has long been famous as an ideal summer resort because of its pleasant scenery and culture.
Qinhuangdao (“Qin Emperor Island”) is where the Great Wall protrudes into the sea like a dragon drinking water.
Laolongtou (“dragon head”), is the place where the wall meets the sea, and is the city’s key attraction.
Standing at Laolongtou, facing the misty sea, visitors can easily picture Emperor Qin (221-207 BC), the first emperor of China , sending people into the sea here to find a drug that would give him immortality. Archaeologists have discovered the remains of grand palaces where the emperor came for short visits, making the city even more worthy of its name.
Both Laolongtou and Shanhaiguan, 15 kilometres away in the east of Qinhuangdao City, were in the country’s first group of national-level tourist sites.
Shanhaiguan, with its 14-metre-high and 7-metre-wide city walls, seems almost to join the Great Wall.
On an enormous plaque at the east gate of Shanhaiguan is written: ‘The first pass on the earth’. The east gate is called “Zhendong Building,” which is 13.7 metres high and boasts 68 arrow slits used to defend the place against attack.
Shanhaiguan is called the country’s gateway, connecting Northeast China and the rest of the country.
Built in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) as a key military pass, it is now popular as a scenic attraction.
When people appreciate the grandeur of the Great Wall, many think about those who built it and how they did it.
Numerous people were killed or lost loved ones during this seemingly everlasting project. The story of Mengjiang, a woman famed for her loyalty to her husband, is particularly remembered.
Mengjiang was married in Nanjing of East China’s Jiangsu Province, but soon after the wedding her husband was caught and sent to the north to help build the wall.
As winter drew near, the woman left her hometown with a bundle of clothes, in order to find her husband. She eventually reached the coast, but was told that a great number of people were building the wall in the far distance.
She stood by the seaside, waiting for her husband’s return.
According to the legend, Mengjiang waited so long she turned into a stone. Visitors can still see the woman-shaped stone there. People later built Mengjiang Temple in her memory.
Beidaihe is known as Eden on earth. Its pleasant weather – the average summer temperature is 24.5 degrees centigrade – and fresh air attract many visitors.
Lianfeng Mountain in the west of the area boasts lush vegetation, with strange caves and decorated pavilions scattered across the mountain.
The Daihe River winds along the foot of the mountain and joins the sea.
In the south lies a long, sandy beach along which visitors can enjoy sun and sea bathing.
To the east of this area is Geziwo Park, which is the best place to view the sunrise and watch the changing tides.
The 52.1-kilometre-long Golden beach is 17 kilometres away in the southwest of the Beidaihe area. Its fine sand and shallow, calm and clear water make it the best place for swimming.
West of the Golden Beach, sand dunes stretch 40 kilometres against a green belt of woodland. Some sand dunes are 30-40 metres high, which is very rare in coastal areas. Sliding down these hills is a popular activity among visitors.
Tourists can enjoy many other entertainment services such as shooting, horse racing or even yacht racing.
Qinhuangdao is a favoured holiday spot for China’s top leaders. Several villas once lived in by major political figures of China are now open to visitors.
The best season to go is between May and October. Remember to bring swimsuits and enough sun-block lotion. There are direct trains between Shanghai and Qinhuangdao City.