Gracing the south-west coast of China, Beihai thrives as a seaport of the Gulf of Tonkin. Famous for its pearl industry, the city hosts a massive fountain sculpture depicting the Pearl of the South in its central Beibuwan Square. The southern waterfront area cements its reputation as a water-centric, family-friendly tourist destination.
Silver Beach is where to soak up some sun, rent jet skis, sample multi-cultural Asian street food, and then relax at a nearby park featuring the larger-than-life Beihai Music Fountain. Pearl collectors can shop at the Pearl Market on Sichuan Lu, pick up lower-grade pearls from street stalls on Silver Beach, or visit the gift shop during a stop at Oceanorama exhibition centre and aquarium, featuring thousands of coral, shellfish, sharks and turtles. A stroll along Seafood Island satisfies the appetite for fresh seafood from elegant restaurants, small shacks, tents and waterfront cafes.
Tourists can get around Beihai via taxis and motorbike taxis, as well as buses originating from the main station in Beibuwan Square. Tricycles powered by locals are another way to navigate busy intersections and crowded shopping districts.
Beihai has a mixed heritage with strong Western influence after the signing of the 1876 Sino-British Treaty of Yantai. More than a dozen western-style buildings still define one side of the city, formerly housing consulates, churches, hospitals and maritime customs facilities.