Beach Holidays in China: Qidong

By Naz Lim


Craving the smell of the sea, the sound of waves, or the feeling of sand between your toes? Being an Australian, I need sand and sea to recharge every few months for my sanity, even though city living has perks. Everyone knows Sanya as the destination for beach holidays, but China has other coastlines that are just as good!

Qidong, Jiangsu

For a close beach option for a weekend away, consider Evergrande Beach Resort in Qidong, Jiangsu Province. Qidong is where property development group Evergrande built (or is still building) a Venice-themed beach resort and town. My husband, our 2-year-old, and I joined some friends for this beach getaway for the September Mid-Autumn holidays in 2022. The weather was cool but hot enough for some beach fun, and the place was not full of people.

How to get there

We rented a car and drove ourselves. Evergrande resort is a 2 – 2.5 hour drive from Shanghai, just past Chongming Island. Traffic can clog the drive, as access to Chongming Island is via one road/bridge. But once you pass the highway exit for Chongming Island, the rest of the drive to the beach should be smooth.

Suppose you want to get to the Evergrande resort via public transport. In that case, you can take a 2hr38m high-speed train (高铁) from Shanghai Railway Station (上海站) to Qidong Railway Station (启东站). From Qidong Railway Station, it is another 50-minute car ride to the Evergrande resort.


The beach is part of the Evergrande development, and staying at one of their hotels gives you unlimited beach access for the duration of your stay (show them your room card at the entrance to the beach, and the guards swipe you in). Otherwise, beach access is 62 RMB/day/person.

Evergrande Venice Hotel overlooking the beach and outdoor pool

Built in 2016, the Evergrande Venice Resort overlooks the beach. It is the pricier of the two Evergrande hotels, with rooms starting at around 900 RMB/night on Ctrip. The Venice hotel looks majestic as you drive towards the resort, with a grand driveway lined by Roman-style statues. Every few meters is a Roman-style fountain to go around (you know the style I’m trying to describe).

Evergrande Castle Hotel

We stayed at the sister hotel, the Evergrande Castle Hotel. Built in 2020, the Evergrande Castle Hotel is just off to the side from the Venice Hotel (about a 10-15 min walk from the beach) and has rooms starting at around 600 RMB/night on Ctrip. The Castle Hotel is sea-themed, the rooms were simple and clean, and we had a fantastic sea view. We got a room with breakfast included, which was great with kids, as we just popped downstairs for a quick Chinese and Western buffet-style breakfast before heading out for the day. Extra beds or cribs are an additional cost, but our bed was big enough to fit two adults and a child.

The Castle hotel has a free shuttle bus to get you to the beach arriving every 15 min, which is a good option if you have a lot of stuff. We brought a foldable camping trolley and walked to the beach within the same time. Hourly rental bikes or cars around the resort can seat 2 – 4 people (scan using Alipay). These rental bikes and cars were overpriced, but we rented a bike once as a fun activity to explore the entire resort.

Rental bikes/cars outside the beach

Alternative accommodation besides the Evergrande hotels can be renting a villa nearby (check with your booking that beach access is included). Some places will allow pets, so you can bring your furry friend too, but note that pets may not be allowed on the beach, although I did see many dogs in the resort area. On Ctrip, a villa can be rented starting from around 1,500 RMB/night, or individual rooms can be booked.

Things to do

The beach at the Evergrande resort is nice and a decent size. There are few shady spots, so consider bringing a beach umbrella or tent. It was not overly crowded when we went during the Mid-Autumn holiday in September. There are lifeguards on the beach, and you can swim in the sea, but a part of the cordoned area has a lot of seaweed. I was told if you swim past the seaweed, the water clears. Otherwise, the kids loved the shoreline and played in little pools they dug or built sandcastles. There is also a great playground on the beach and large wooden structures the kids can explore (a wooden ship, whale, and giant crab).

Outdoor infinity pool overlooking the sea at the beach

If you want some thrill, there is a jet ski you can ride on (but not by yourself), and someone will take you out to sea for a spin. At night there was a beach party with DJs and lasers, and around 8pm, there was a fireworks display, but this may have been just for the holidays.

For meals, there is a restaurant street closer to the Castle hotel. Most Chinese restaurants serve seafood, beer, bbq skewers, and noodle and rice dishes. A KFC is open throughout the day if you want a Western option. I recommend booking a table at your chosen restaurant for dinner, as it can get busy and there is nothing worse than waiting in line for food with a hangry toddler. Outside the beach entrance are food and beverage carts selling hot food snacks, ice cream, and milk/fruit tea.

Other facilities/activities at the resort include indoor swimming pools (located inside the Evergrande Resort Sports Centre, access is included if you stay at an Evergrande hotel) and an indoor children’s play centre (extra cost, even with an Evergrande hotel stay). Swimming caps are needed to use any of the pools. We forgot to pack our swimming caps and used the shower cap provided in your hotel room to enter the pool.

Need a break from the beach and looking for an outdoor playground for the kids? The concierge at our hotel told us we could walk down the side of the hotel and into the residential compound behind the Castle hotel to use the outdoor playground. The kids loved this playground, which was hardly used during our stay.

Overall, the Evergrande Beach Resort was a pleasant stay for a short weekend away. We are already planning our next trip here for a close-to-Shanghai beach getaway.

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