Over the past twelve years I’ve been up and down the coastline of China. I know the country’s beaches. They are usually massive mudflats, industrial spewage sites, land reclamation areas, luxury condo lots, or face-kini clad, garbage strewn, bride laden recreational zones. In all scenarios they are not really places that you want to be.
The Chinese are bad at beaches — real bad.
So I was not expecting much in regards to beaches when I came to Kinmen island for the first time in 2012. While not administered by Beijing it’s basically the same culture.
I walked around a few of the beaches on the sides of the island that faced towards mainland China and I was not surprised to find then chock full of garbage.
No worries. Beaches were not what I came here for.
But then when off walking on the other side of Greater Kinmen — the side that faces away from China — I came upon something truly special: a massive, wide, beautiful, and empty beach. It stretched for miles and miles uninterrupted. There were only a few fishermen raking clams. It was a site that’s becoming so rarer and rarer.
The beach was not only not ruined by people but had all the perfect natural conditions: roughly 300 meters wide or so, depending on the tide, with the soft sand extending far out into more or less clean(ish) blue water.
I go back to this beach whenever I come back to Kinmen. Now that I’m staying here for a while I come with my wife and kids regularly.
There are now some temporary vendor tents, and a nice size crowd comes down just before evening to go for a stroll in the surf after the sun ceases being so hot. It’s a nightly local hangout in the summertime. Kids run around everywhere. There are benches and picnic tables set up where you can sit back, crack open a cold beer, and watch the ships pass by on the rolling waves in the distance.