Xi Chong
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This little piece of paradise is truly undiscovered, except by the locals of Shenzhen.  It is East of Shenzhen on a little finger that extends into the water to the west of Hong Kong.  It is so isolated that you can take a bus to the last town on the bus line (road 359; bus 360 from Shenzhen), which is the town of Nan'ao, and, then, either take a motorcycle taxi or hire a car to take you the last 10 miles over winding roads through the mountains to deposit you on this lovely, isolated beach, Xi Chong.  Accommodations consist of little individual cabin rental units, clumped along the beach, which stretches for a mile or so, nestled between mountain peaks.  Since you will not be able to easily book a cabin through a travel agent, we provide some names and numbers, here.  Xi Chong Cacti Beach CenterMr. Zhuang: 13924591668  or 13713983361; Xi Chong Little Wooden Houses, Mr. Song: 13715352392; or Xi Chong Hai Jing Wooden Houses Mr. Liang: 13751169228 (who also owns Nan Men Tou Restaurant).

The beach is really lovely, with palm frond umbrellas planted along it and soft sand.  You can lay in the sun, take a long walk, or go swimming.  There are also two places where streams come out of the mountains and deposit into the sea to make it even more picturesque, and you can be adventurous and follow a stream bed upstream for a while.  You can also take a boat out to a small island just off the shore, if you want even more privacy in this very private beach area.  Coming over the mountain from Nan'ao when we arrived in the area, we also saw a lot of people mountain biking over the winding mountain roads, so you might also consider bringing a bicycle, if you are so inclined.

Up and down the beach, there are also a number of restaurants.  We ate at Nan Men Tou, an outdoor seafood restaurant towards the east end of the beach, not only had good food, but the owner was also an interesting and entertaining guy (if can you understand Cantonese).  They also have cabins, out behind the restaurant, and they gave us the name and phone number of a driver, who we used, not only to go back and forth into the town of Nan'ao at night for entertainment, but also to take us back to Shenzhen with a little stopover in Da Peng (all for 200).  In the town of Nan'ao, there are a number of restaurants, bars, and shops.  We just walked around and found both, and we had a really fun time (Ayu even sang a few tunes for me at a video Karaoke bar).

On the way back to Shenzhen, we stopped and took a tour of Da Peng, a 600-year old walled city that has a role in the history of protecting the southeast China coast.  It will take you a few hours to walk through its small streets, back allies and open plazas, but it is well worth the time.  Many of the buildings are hundreds of years old and show the unique architectural styles of Cantonese buildings from eras past, and some of the buildings are also open for touring and contain artifacts of the town's history.  You can buy souvenirs inside the wall and have lunch in the new town, outside.

We did a blog about the whole area around Nan Ao, on May 7, 2009.  You can read it at blog.incountry-china.com

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