BuBinhai Break

By Robert Watt (JIN Magazine)

Updated: 2018-06-29

The giant Mazu Statue[Photo/JIN Magazine]

We were up early to catch the 9.25am train to Yujiapu from downtown our small bag packed for a weekend break in Binhai. The forecast is for bright sun and temperatures of 38 deg C, perfect for a couple of days of sun, sea and sand in the rapidly developing tourist area.

Bestown old seafood city

The gate of Bestown[Photo/JIN Magazine]

Our first stop was Bestown (北塘古镇), where a whole antique settlement is being constructed on the location of Beitang, a once famous source for imperial seafood. The imitation Qing dynasty period buildings are dominated by a large fort overlooking the river mouth. A homage to several structures that once protected the river as a defense against pirates and later, against western aggression. The original Taku forts, as they are known, were dismantled as part of the peace agreement following the Boxer Rebellion in 1901. The double walled fortress has large guns that point out over Eco city. On the opposite side, it overlooks the town's narrow streets and tiled roofs. It makes an attractive scene, used as the setting for several Chinese TV dramas.

Bestown 2[Photo/JIN Magazine]

We first visited Bestown 4 years ago. Then, the fort was not open and the town was still being constructed. Today, the fort is more complete, but the shops, restaurants and housing are still a work in progress. From the ramparts and battlements, the views of the sea gives a good impression of the strategic importance of the area, but the lack of attention to detail, the modern architectural flourishes and build quality betray it's lack of authenticity.

Aqua Magic Water Park

Aqua Magic Park [Photo/JIN Magazine]

We had planned for a light lunch at Bestown, but the restaurant and bar that used to exist had closed. So, as the sun and temperatures climbed we sped off to Aqua Magic, the water theme park further along the coast. The water park makes a great first impression; a pirate ship being broken in two by a giant octopus. This is maintained by its cleanliness and a design that while being quite large, nowhere is far to walk. The largest feature is the beach, a wide sandy strip that slopes into an enormous pool. The water gradually declines to a depth of 1.9 meters. It's a clean, safe alternative to bathing in the Bohai Sea.

1 2 >

Copyright ©  Tianjin Municipal Government. All rights reserved. Presented by China Daily.