When friends suggested a Shanghai beach day to me, my immediate response was to laugh. Of course, I know that geographically speaking Shanghai is a coastal city but it could not feel further from that, with the endless skyscrapers and sprawling metro. I was therefore very intrigued to get to the bottom of this man-made beach and agreed to a day trip on one of my days off.
We all packed into a bus and embarked on our hour-long bus ride to Jinshan district, south of the Shanghai city center. The beach area that we were going to was sectioned off and so first we had to line up to get entrance tickets which were luckily not pricey at around 30 RMB per person. It was weird having to wear a mask to enter a beach area but once we were through the entrance it was okay to remove them.
The beach was surprisingly better than what I had imagined. Despite the slightly stony nature, the sand was just nice to see. The water also looked cleaner than expected so I was excited to get in! The sea had been sectioned off by red and white buoys in order to limit the area that we were allowed to swim in. A bit further in the distance, I could see what appeared to be a wall, the reasoning I could not figure out but the result being that there were no waves upon entering the sea. But the water was a perfect temperature and given that Shanghai summer had begun to hit, it was greatly refreshing. I could not submerge myself in the water while standing as the designated swimming area was quite shallow (and surprisingly swarming with lifeguards). However, some friends had brought along water guns so that made the time a lot more fun!
The beach area also offers other activities such as kayaking, boating, and quad bikes for an additional fee. There is also a grilling area with individual grills available for hire. So, of course, we had a barbecue (or braai as we would say in my home country of South Africa!). This was for sure a highlight of the day, being able to take in the relaxing atmosphere and (surprisingly) blue skies. There were beach umbrellas providing shade over the seating and with the grill area elevated above the sea, it was really well designed. I also appreciated just how clean the beach area in general was!
We did not have time to do this but there are quite a few other offerings going on in the Jinshan district so if you make it out there and do not want to spend the whole day at the beach then the following also look good: Donglin Temple; Jinshan Fishing Village or Fengjing Ancient Town. These are all available via metro or bus from downtown Shanghai. The temple definitely stands out to me so watch this space as I hope to visit that soon!
Overall in these trying times and increasing difficulty to travel, being able to discover the “beach” in Shanghai was a surprising change of scenery that I would absolutely recommend. Not only is it affordable and convenient but it allows you the feeling of being much further away than you actually are!