Editor's note: The article is written by Sanghamitra Chakraborty who teaches at an international school in Shenzhen.
Ever since I came to Shenzhen in 2015, I have been hearing about Dapeng. However, I never had a chance to visit the place till January 2021, and in that year, I have been there thrice. Surprising as it might appear to many, what did I find so special in Dapeng that I made three trips?
Dapeng is beautiful. It is not picturesque in a traditional way but it is a place that grows on you. It is a place that enthralls you with its bustling alleys, the aroma of fresh local cuisine, the colorful ice cream and juice parlors, the contemporary cafés, the lovely promenade, and lots of activities like tourist boats, jet skis, paragliding and those crazy inflatables to name a few. In a word, Dapeng is “charming.”
The sun is about to go down for the last time in 2021. Photos by Chiranjib Chakraborty
The first sunrise of 2022.
Dapeng Peninsula is in the easternmost part of Shenzhen. A part of the peninsula to the south of Pengfei Road along the arched coastline stretching for around a couple of kilometers has now been developed as a popular tourist destination with the old houses converted into small hotels, restaurants and B&Bs. It is popularly known as Jiaochangwei. In each of my visits, I experienced Dapeng in a completely different way. It is fascinating to discover what an amazing bouquet the small tourist village has to offer to its visitors.
Activities to enjoy during the trip.
My first visit to its sandy beach was on a normal weekend in January 2021. The driver dropped us in the central parking zone near the soccer ground where the amphitheater gallery is located. The ambience of the place was warm and welcoming, the weather was crisp and sunny, and the company of great friends made a perfect recipe for a relaxing weekend gateway.
From the central parking area, battery driven cart rides are available at the rate of 10 yuan per person to take the tourists to their destinations. The distance is actually short enough for a walk but these carts are a great help if you have luggage with you. Ours was a beautiful beachfront hotel with a majestic view of the sea from the comfort of our rooms. An extended balcony with sitting arrangements was like the icing on a cake. Most of our time during the day was spent relaxing on the beach just soaking in the sun, sand and blues.
A view of the promenade just after sunset.
A trip to Dapeng is incomplete without a barbeque and most of the hotels have the facilities for the same. We carried our vegetables and meat along with us, but in our subsequent trips we discovered that you can buy those locally very easily. However, if you have any specific choice of imported condiments, spices and sauces, then it is suggested to bring them along.
During the winter, the weather in Dapeng can change overnight, and to our disappointment, the next morning it was cloudy and windy. However much we wanted to enjoy the morning sunrise and coffee from our extended balconies, the chilling wind forced us to stay indoors. So, if you are planning to visit Dapeng during the winter, make sure that you carry warm clothes with you. However, the weather could not stop us from enjoying the local ice cream. The ice cream and juice shops no doubt are a treat for the eyes, and they offer tons of choices from fruits to Oreos to M&Ms and waffles.
An ice cream treat. Photo by Sanghamitra Chakraborty
My second visit was a month later during the 2021 Chinese New Year. The plan was made at the last minute and all the beachfront hotels were booked by then. So, this time our hotel was a little far from the bustling Jiaochangwei Beach promenade that crossed the Haishe Holiday Hotel. This gave us an opportunity to explore the place more than what we had done before.
We enjoyed the long walks along the promenade and the beach all the way to the other end. We came across the underwater boulder walkway that created a beautiful semicircular arch from one point of the beach to another. The walkway was visible only during the low tide and was extremely dangerous if you got caught up in a high-tide situation. Probably, that was the reason I found all the boulders were removed during my third trip to Dapeng almost a year later on last year's New Year’s Eve.
A lazy morning to relax. Photos by Chiranjib Chakraborty
The under-water walkway in low tide has now been removed.
In this trip, we had plans to stay for a couple of nights and had more time to explore. We walked around the streets and bylanes of Dapeng, enjoyed the coffee from the cafés and pizza from the pizzerias. However, the highlight of this trip was observing the close by New Year’s Eve fireworks on the beach and a visit to the Buddha temple opposite to Jiaochangwei Beach across Pengfei Road. The other side of the road is a stark contrast to Jiaochangwei Beach – it is serene and quiet. The temple is ancient with a Chinese architecture and nestled in a very calm surrounding. I did not get a chance to visit the Dapeng Fortress yet, but that will definitely be another strong reason for going back once more.
The Dongshan Temple. Photo by Chiranjib Chakraborty
If you are bored and looking for a quick weekend outing, Dapeng is the place for you. There are countless places to stay overnight so unless it is an official public holiday or long weekend, prior booking is also not necessary. While the beachfront hotels offer an undisturbed view of the bay, they charge a premium. The hotels which are a few hundred meters away from the beach are also quite good without making a hole in your pocket. Hence, whether you are looking for a quick outing in a budget or a pampered luxury weekend, Dapeng has options for both. And if you are a party person, nightlife in Dapeng has its own charm. Most of the shops and streets are bustling way past midnight and there are a few bars with live music and karaoke facilities as well.
I am looking forward to my next trip to Dapeng in spring this year. What about you?