China: Beach-going in Shenzhen with Chinese Characteristics

Hong Kong Getaway

Michael Taylor gets a phone call from one of his buddies suggesting that they head north to Shenzhen for a day at Dameisha, a seaside resort community along the city’s Eastern flank.

Sunny skies drew us north of the border yesterday to Dameisha, which sports Shenzhen’s longest stretch of sandy seashore. Logistical confusion ensured that we arrived at the seaside resort much later than we were hoping.

By the time we arrived in Dameisha, it was already well past 3.00 pm. We opted for lunch at a Hunanese restaurant, and the food was yummy – except it was very oily, which seems to be the norm in mainland China.

I forgot to tell the waiter, “Easy on the oil!”

By the time we hit the sands it was already nearly 5 pm. Unlike beachgoers in most other countries, few people were lying in the sun. Many were sitting in small groups, chatting or playing with their mobile phones.

Most were standing near the water’s edge watching the surf. A few were in the surf. The waves were breaking very close to shore, and some of them appeared to rise to a height of about 15 feet!

Every time a large wave approached, there would be an excited roar from the gathered humanity.

Friendly Natives

We were among the only foreigners on the beach, and we were mostly ignored. But some of the beachgoers waved at us or said hello. Everyone seemed to be having a good time.

Two attractive young twenty-somethings approached and asked if they could have their pictures taken with me. I obliged.

And then I returned the favour by taking their picture and posting it on my blog.

Many of the beach goers I spotted on the beach were fully dressed. I saw one young lady traipsing through the sand shoe-less. Nothing strange about that except she was wearing nylons!

This really was beach-going with Chinese characteristics! So different from the way we do it in Hong Kong (and most other places), and yet so much fun!

After Dark

The crowds didn’t thin out much at night fall. Beach goers, in fact, were still arriving when we left the beach in search of a place to have dinner at about 9 pm.

The evening air was balmy, and the moon was a rare burnt orange when it appeared after sunset. We had dinner at another Hunanese restaurant, and the food was even better than what we had had at lunch.

There was more confusion on our way home, which would ensure that our return to Hong Kong would not be without drama. We had, in fact, cut things a bit close.

Things would have been just fine except that 20 minutes into our journey, I was in the severe need of a pit stop. That added at least 15 minutes to our trip – and when we got on the next bus, we had to stand the entire way.

When our bus arrived at the terminus in Lowu, it was exactly four minutes before midnight, and the border crossing closes at midnight.

We made a mad dash past the Lowu Commercial Centre, arriving at customs expecting to see the doors closing in front of us. But our watches were two minutes fast – and the clocks at customs were two minutes slow.

We made it through customs and back to Hong Kong just in the nick of time.

Dameisha 101

Dameisha is one Shenzhen’s two most popular beaches. The other, Xiaomeisha, is a bit further down the coast. I haven’t been there yet.

Dameisha has two five star hotels, the Sheraton Hotel Dameisha, which is right on the beach, and the Kingkey Hotel, which is across the street from the beach. There are several other three and four star hotels and a host of guest houses.

Dameisha has quite a few restaurants and cafés, which mostly serve regional Chinese cuisine, many with outdoor seating. There are a few clubs and an attractive mall with factory outlets.

Dameisha is about a one hour’s bus ride from the border crossing at Lowu. Alternatively, there are through buses from Mongkok with stops at Kowloon Tong, Shatin, and Fanling by way of the Sha Tau Kok border crossing, which is about 30 minutes from Dameisha.

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