Qinhuangdao (秦皇岛; Qínhuángdǎo) is a city of 1.9 million people (2020) in the urban area in Hebei province. Qinhuangdao Port is the largest coal shipping port in the country. The Qinhuangdao Wildlife Park and is China's second largest wildlife park.
Qinhuangdao has three urban areas:
- Beidaihe: a seaside resort.
- Haigang: the harbor area and considered Qinhuangdao proper.
- Shanhaiguan: the eastern end of the Great Wall.
- 1 Qinhuangdao Beidaihe Airport (BPE IATA). There is a tiny (by Chinese standards) airport. There are some daily domestic flights to Qingdao, Shijiazhuang, Shanghai and some other places. You can book through the airlines websites, but they are Chinese only. Alternatively, ask someone from your hostel or hotel to book for you; they are glad to help and works out fine.
Other airports close by are Tianjin (TSN IATA) or Beijing Capital Airport (PEK IATA) where you can take Inter-Provincial Bus [dead link]. Take note of the timetable. Or you can take the train from those cities, see below.
There are multiple train options when traveling to Qinhuangdao. Most visitors to Qinhuangdao are coming from either Beijing or Tianjin. Both cities are a two-hour ride on one of CRC's (China Railway Corp.) 'D' or 'Dong' trains. A ticket for a fast train to or from Beijing is ¥93, but expect to pay a ¥5 ticketing fee if not purchased directly at the departure train station. 'T', 'K', and 'numbered' trains also make daily journeys through Qinhuangdao, but they are much slower (4-6 hours from Beijing) and rarely worth the savings for western travelers who value time over cost.
Long distance buses are common in China, and Qinhuangdao is no exception. Buses depart from a central station near to the central train station in the Haiguan area of the city. Bus tickets from Beijing will often cost as much as train tickets, but the departures are more frequent. There is a direct bus from Beijing Capital International Airport direct to Qinhuangdao. Travel time is roughly 4 hours (depending on traffic), and tickets can be purchased directly at the bus station at the airport for ¥150.
Qinhuangdao is a relatively small city by China standards. However, due to its location on the water, the city tends to sprawl in a linear fashion along the coast from Shanhaiguan to Beidaihe, thus making buses and taxis necessary means for getting around.
Taxis are inexpensive and abundant, thus making them the preferred means of transport for travelers. Be sure you can confidently communicate where you want to go before you get into a cab as most of the drivers in Qinhuangdao can not speak English, but many of them can read Chinese. You can ask somebody to write down the place where you want go in Chinese on a card, and show this card to taxi driver. The best approach is to have a valid phone number for where you are going, or a phone number for a contact who can communicate with the driver in Chinese, should there be a problem.
While most taxi drivers are honest and use meters, the ones around railway stations tend to refuse to use meters. The prices they ask are usually a rip off. Be prepared.
Buses are also a good option for getting around the city. City maps, which contain bus routes on them, can be obtained from kiosks near to the central bus and train stations. Buses cost ¥1-2 for a single ticket ride. However, the low cost means that buses are always overcrowded, and occasional pickpockets make it essential to protect your personal belongings.
Many of Qinhuangdao's attractions have been extensively restored or rebuilt in the 1980s. This includes most of the city wall as well as the Great Wall going towards the sea. The other side of the wall, going up the mountains, has been partly restored but some parts remain in their original, crumbling state.
Much of the "old" town, especially along the main north-south road, was completely reconstructed in 2008/09. Several city blocks were remade into a faux-old Chinese city that, despite the lack of history, is quite pleasant to walk through. Most of it, however, is still largely uninhabited and quite like a ghost town. Especially in the evening after sunset, with the tourists gone, you will find even the main streets almost deserted.
- Emerald Isle (翡翠岛). Gold Coast is in the southern coastal areas. It is China's seven national marine nature reserves of the east, north, west, three from Bohai and seven around the Caspian (lagoon). It is known for it yellow sand, green vegetation and the peninsula. The island at rolling, beautiful shape, the highest point of 44 m, known as "the Jingdong desert " is called.
- Gold Coast (黄金海岸). Located in Hebei province Changli County southeast of Bohai coast, 52.1 km long coastline, with fine sand beach, soft, clear water, tidal flat, is bathing in the sea, sun, sand, forest bath, air bath place.
- 1 Old Dragon Head (老龙头) (Take bus 25 from the south gate or train station, taxi around Y10). At Qinhuangdao, the Great Wall juts out into the sea. The original wall is long gone, but an extensive rebuilt section has been put up. Bus 25 will take you there for ¥1-3. To get onto the wall and into an area with several rebuilt halls, you need to buy a ticket for ¥60.
- If you're content with seeing the wall hit the sea from the other side, turn left outside the entrance and follow the road making a right turn, going through the wall and to the beach. Walk about 200 m along the beach to get to the end of the wall. A fence has been put up preventing you to get closer than about 50 m to the wall, however, it may be possible to go through a hole in or under the fence. Judging by its appearance, several such holes have been patched in the past, but in Sep 2010, there is still one there. Passing the fence will not lead you to the paid area as the wall blocks you off from that.
- At low tide it is allegedly possible to walk around the end of the wall and enter the paid area without a ticket. If you want to do this, make sure you understand the risk - if you get caught, you can be fined several times the admission fee.
- First Pass under Heaven (天下第一关) (East of the Drum Tower in the center of the old town). The area between the sea and the mountains at Qinhuangdao is called the "First Pass under Heaven", being the place where the Ming dynasty Great Wall began. Guarding the pass is the city of Qinhuangdao, with its (restored) east gate marking the main road through the pass. You can see the tower guarding the gate and, depending on choice of ticket, various exhibitions or take a walk along the city walls. From ¥60 depending on choice of attractions.
- Shanhaiguan Fortifications. The walls of the old city of Qinhuangdao can essentially be considered part of the Great Wall: the whole city was built as a wall fortification to guard the pass between the mountains and the sea. The walls of Qinhuangdao are square, with a perimeter of around 4 km in length. The walls reach the heigh of 14 m, and are 7 meters thick. The east, south and north sides of the fortification are surrounded by a moat 3 m deep and 5 m wide. There are drawbridges to get over the moat. You can only go up on the wall by buying a ticket for the First Pass under Heaven (see above). The other sides of the city have gates as well, but these have been rebuilt: the original buildings long gone.
- [dead link] Five Buddha Park, Jiao Shan (角山) (Head straight north from the north gate, 2-3km, taxi Y10). Further inland, there's a fairly extensive park near another section of the wall. Here, the wall can be seen snaking it's way over the hills. The lower part has been restored in the 1980s, you can walk up the hill about 2/3 of the way before an unrestored part of the wall has been blocked off by a concrete barrier. Next to the wall, there is a walkway towards a temple further back in the hills (alternatively, you can take a chairlift from the bottom). From the temple, you can reach the rear part of the wall going over the hills, where it is made of raw stone rather than bricks and in many places not much more than a convenient walking path remains. By walking south from here, you can reach the other end of the unrestored brick-wall section, blocked by an iron fence on this side. For the adventurous, the barriers on either side are not insurmountable, but some steep parts and loose stones makes this section less safe than those below and above it. ¥30.
- Laodao Ocean Park (Laodao Ocean park). Laodao Ocean Park, with the theme of Ocean Park, is 8 km from Qinhuangdao Airport and 2 km to Old Dragon's Head Great Wall. The park offers rich and colorful entertainment items, which all bring happiness in your tour. The park breeds numerous sea animals and the sea lion, dolphin, and beluga will play brilliant performance. At the bottom of the sea, you can get zero-distance contract with wild animal of ocean, and explore the arcanum of nature as much as you like. Meanwhile, if you are interested in the natural culture, you will have a chance to view the performance full of exoticism. The polar region exhibition hall takes you to the romantic world of ice and snow, and hope you will have a good time with the cute polar bear and penguin. At night, the ebullient bonfire party will give you a enthuse evening absolutely.
- Other Great Wall ruins. When heading out to Jiao Shan (above), you will see a large earth wall on the right side about 50 m from the road. This is actually a (completely unrestored) part of the Great Wall. On the barbarian side (east) you can still see the bricks and the moat, while the top and the western side are overgrown and few bricks remain. Locals can be seen herding sheep or walking their dogs on this part of the wall. From the road, you can see small paths leading up this wall at intervals; to get to Jiao Shan, the walk up here is much more pleasant than going along the road. When you reach Jiao Shan, the wall is blocked off by a barbed-wire fence, so you will need to buy a ticket to get in. Alternatively, you can walk off the earth wall on the east side and follow a path leading up the hills to a small watchtower. There is another path from here leading off into the hills, but it's not used much and heavily overgrown in places.
- [dead link] Great Wall Museum (长城博物馆) (take the southeastern gate (near the train station) to the old town and walk north along the eastern wall). Admission is included with some of the First Pass tickets, but it's not inside the compound.
- 2 UCCA Dune Art Museum (UCCA沙丘美术馆), Aranya Gold Coast Community, Changli County (昌黎县阿那亚黄金海岸) (it is advertised as being in Beidaihe, but it's a long way from Beidaihe District; he best way to get here would probably be to take a car or tax; if you insist on using public transport, take a long-distance bus to Changli (昌黎) (because trains only go to Changli in the evening), then walk 780 m north to the Wuliying (五里营) bus stop to catch a bus no. 10 to the Changli Railway Station; once there, you will need to transfer to bus no. 20; get off at Aranya (阿那亚). From there, it's a 1.5-km walk to the gate of Aranya Gold Coast Community and then a 2-km walk from the gate to the museum), ☏ , email@example.com. Nov-Apr: Tu-Su 10:00-17:00; May-Oct: Tu-Su 10:00-19:00. No entry in last 30 minutes. Closed on Mondays and during the Spring Festival. Winner of the 2020 Leading Cultural Destinations (LCD) Berlin Awards in the New Culture Destination of the Year, Asia-Pacific category. Tickets are normally ¥80 each. Discounts are available for students, children under 1.2 m, disabled people and persons over 60.
The city has a wide selection of entertainment options, but mostly are dedicated to nightlife and dining. The main attraction of the area is the sea and the relatively clean beaches. Day trips to Shanhaiguan and Beidaihe are hassle free and worth doing.
- Xuerun Spa (Hebei Dajie Zhongduan No.233-1), 秦皇岛市海港区河北大街中段233-1号, ☏ . Xuerun Spa is one of the few pleasure destinations in Qinhuangdao. You can pamper yourself with full body massage, traditional Chinese hot stone massage, Taiwanese acupuncture, oil therapy, skin treatments and facials. They believe health comes from nature and beauty comes from health. The natural oil therapy, derived from plants, is a top choice for woman who visit the city.
Qinhuangdao, like every city in China has its share of shopping. The downtown area is comprised of many shops all selling different goods at prices that are usually less than in Beijing. The styles however, tend to be out dated and nearly everything available is knock off versions of the 'real' products sold elsewhere in China. There is a great DVD store on the second floor of the 'Blog Theme Hotel' near to 'Qinhuangdao Number 2 Middle School'. There are also large electronic stores in the same vicinity. Most items are priced competitively and can be bargained for with some success.
- Pu Shi (樸石西餐厅), Taiyangcheng Zhengyang Street No. 39, ☏ . 10:00 - 24:00. This is a favorite for pizza in the city. You can dine in, take out, or have it delivered straight to your door. The handmade crusts and ample toppings make this the best Chicago style pie in the city. The private rooms are classy and elegant. You will not be disappointed with the service and comfort. Watch a movie or a sports match on your own personal flat screen. If you do want some company, the piano bar is wonderful. You can curl up in the oversized, overstuffed furniture and take in the scene. This is the place to see and be seen in QHD.
- Vietnam Youyou Cafe (越南悠悠咖啡), baojie) Sidaoqiao Nanxing 100m, ☏ . 09:30 - 24:00. The Vietnamese owner makes this the only place to go in Qinhuangdao for Vietnamese fare. The decor is refined, the owner speaks English, the food tastes just like what you’ll find in Hanoi, and the live music is a hit. The menu is pleasantly inexpensive considering the posh surroundings and classy atmosphere. It’s a great choice for a night away from the masses. Private parties large and small are always welcomed.
- Butterfly (蝴蝶时尚餐厅), Qinhuangdao Haigang District Kanglejie No. 1 (Renmin guangchang yingu xice), ☏ . 09:30 - 24:00. Next to People's Square, it sits in the heart of the entertainment district of the city. This is the place to go for quality cuts of meat and plump steaks. The prices are reasonable, and are on par with other western style steakhouses in China. The bar serves a full line of spirits and wines, and has a nice list of imported beers to choose from. A must visit for anyone who needs a "meat" fix.
- [formerly dead link] Haitianyise Hotel (海天一色度假村), Qinhuangdao Haigang District Dongshanjie No. 51, ☏ . 09:00 - 21:00. Nestled among the rocks overlooking the ocean, this is the place to go for weekend brunch. The restaurant is connected to the Haitianyise Hotel and Seaside Resort. It’s a top pick among travelers and locals alike. The seafood buffet is always fresh and includes all the sides and drinks (including alcohol) that you care to consume. Enjoy your meal while watching the waves roll in.
Qinhuangdao has lots of hotels in all price categories, but unfortunately, most of them are not allowed to take foreigners. If you are Chinese, you can get economy rooms (no bathroom) in the train station area for ¥40-50, or regular rooms starting at about ¥80.
There are several hotels that have permission to take foreigners. One is listed below; another is a smaller and cheaper place just south of the old town (if anyone stays there, please fill in the details). To find it, ask around at the train station (e.g. other hotels, taxi drivers). Taking a taxi to either of the two hotels should cost ¥5.
- Jing Shan Hotel (京山宾馆) (directly north of the entrance to the First Pass under Heaven). Mid-range hotel that takes foreigners, consists of several buildings both north and south of the First Pass with courtyards between them. Rooms start at about ¥180 (September, possibly higher in July/August).
There are two more hotels that allow foreigners to stay:
Xiyuan Inn, 17th Building, Taiyang City, Xihou Street, Haigang District (锡源宾馆, 海港区太阳城17号楼 西后街, 海港区).
GreenTree Inn Hebei Qinhuangdao Sun City Express Hotel, 5-8F Building B No.9 Xinhua Street, Haigang District (格林豪泰河北省秦皇岛市太阳城快捷酒店, 海港区新华街9号B座5-8楼, 海港区).
Jiumenkou Great Wall 九门口长城 can be combined into a day trip with Qinhuangdao. It is in Liaoning Province but close enough to Qinhuangdao. One-way taxi from Qinhuangdao to Jiumenkou Great Wall is ¥40-50. Jiumenkou Great Wall is the solely Great Wall section that is built above a river. There is also the only existing Great Wall tunnel. Prepare at least 3 hours for a trip to Jiumenkou Great Wall from Qinhuangdao.
|Routes through Qinhuangdao|
|Beijing ← Tangshan ←||W E||→ Shanhaiguan → Harbin|