Now that the scorching summer heat has arrived in full-effect across Dalian, item number one on many expats' lists is to head to the nearest beach for a bit of fun in the sun, followed by a cool, relaxing swim. Unfortunately, as countless expats have no doubt already figured out this summer season, open space and privacy are hard (if not impossible) to find at the local beaches. You can still head there for a quick dip in the ocean, but there will be nothing relaxing about the experience at all. If you really want to enjoy blue skies, clear seas, and sandy beaches – without the crowding – then head to an island instead! There are a number of small islands close to Dalian, but which of them is the right choice for you?
Guanglu Island. Photo: travel.runsky.com
1) Guanglu Island
Guanglu Island is a national forest park made up of 23 small islands and reefs. The park covers 31.5 sq. km, and is the largest island within the Changshan Island chain. Guanglu Island is well known for the quality of its shrimp and scallops, which are a favourite of tourists. Fairy Lake, Gold Sands Beach, Moon Bay and Rainbow Beach are the island's most famous scenic areas, and are perfect for sunrise- and sunset-watching. Facilities have been set up on the island for barbecuing, fishing, volleyball and other activities.
Lodging Recommendation: Golden Sea Beach Vacation Village
Add: western section of the Changshan Island chain, Changhai County, Dalian
Tel: 0411 8975 8899; 135 0070 5007
Getting there: From the north side of the Dalian Train Station, take the No. 3 light rail to Jinshitan Station. From Jinshitan station ride bus No.1 to Jinbei Square. Head to Jinshitan Port and board the boat to Guanglu island. The boat departs at 09:20, 11:20, and 13:50. Boat tickets cost 62 RMB for the 50-minute trip or 49 RMB for the 90-minute trip. Call 0411 8791 2303 for boat-related inquiries.
Gupi Island. Photo: itravelqq.com
2) Gupi Island
The untouched natural setting is the most outstanding feature of Gupi Island. The coast, you'll find, is completely devoid of anything man-made. The large, soft sandy beaches are perfect for camping. Two hundred fishermen (and resort-operators) are the only permanent residents on the entire island. It's the perfect place to sample pure, fresh and authentic Dalian seafood.
Lodging Recommendation: Island Holiday Fishermen Resort
Add: 12.7 miles east of Guanglu Island (8 nautical miles from the mainland), Changhai County, Dalian
Tel: 0411 8975 1182; 138 4083 6360
Getting there: From Dalian take the bus to Pulandian City and head over to Pikou Port. From there board the boat to Gupi Island. The boat departs three times daily (specific times are unavailable). Boat tickets cost 35 RMB.
Price: Boat Ticket: 35 RMB. Call 0411 8340 0316 for boat-related inquiries.
Xizhong Island. Photo: 52photoshop.cn
3) Xizhong Island
Known as the "Hawaii of the East", Xizhong Island is surrounded on all sides by mountains and golden sands. The island's convenient location is great for those who want to drive there using the coastal roads. There's a number of fun activities available on Xizhong Island, including beach volleyball, soccer, sand sculpting and more. And after the sun sets, feel free to return to the beach for a barbecue or to set off some fireworks!
Lodging Recommendation: Xizhong Island Farm House
Add: 58 km northwest of Wafangdian City, Dalian
Tel: 136 2426 8488
Getting there: Take the bus from Dalian to Wafangdian. From there take bus No. 6 to Getiche bus station. From here, take a Tongshuigou bound bus and get off at Xizhong Island; the trip should cost about 15 RMB
Dachang Mountain Island is best known for its numerous mountains and lovely scenic overlooks. The island, which covers about 31.79 sq. m, features several of China's best swimming spots, as well as several other interesting landmarks, such as Qixiang Park, Sanyuan Palace and the Sea Cucumber Museum. Other typical island activities, such as barbecuing and fireworks, are readily available as well.
Lodging Recommendation: Jinpen Port Fishing Farm House
Add: middle section of the Changshan Island chain, Changhai County, Dalian
Tel: 137 0409 0217; 139 2846 6808
Getting there: From Dalian's Beigang Qiaoqi Station, take the bus to Pulandian City/Pikou Town. Get off at Pikou Port and board the boat to Dachang Mountain Island. The boat departs between 08:00-15:00 daily (specific times are unavailable). Call 0411 8340 0316 for boat-related inquiries.
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