My 5: Yantai, China.

Sandcastle Beach 2 Yantai Shandong province China

1. Beach 2, August 2009. Welcome to the sleepy port city of Yantai in Shandong Province. I’d been travelling around Shandong for several weeks when someone recommended Yantai as a pleasant place to head purely for a spell of beach lazing. “The beach isn’t actually up to much,” he admitted with a wry smile. “And the city centre doesn’t have anything going on”. It was quite the sales pitch, but nevertheless I felt fascinated by this seemingly unloved coastal outpost. Most of the visit was spent here on Beach 2 reading, sleeping, swimming and watching people build sandcastles.

2. Beach Two, August 2009. While Yantai’s golden sands were in no way breathtaking, the place did have a certain charm. I loved how all you had to do was walk for ten to fifteen minutes and you could pretty much leave everyone behind. 

3. Beach Two, August 2009. The ghost beach experience was great. Total peace and quiet, no getting stared at and I could mess around on the unmanned lifeguard stations to my heart’s content.

Beach 2 Yantai Shandong Province China

4. Beach Two, August 2009. I’d been warned about Yantai’s rampant jellyfish population and the rumours had not been overstated! They were seemingly everywhere, staggering about wildly with the tide and washed up dead along the shore. Some locals like this one made quite a sport out of catching them and taking them home. Moments after this shot was taken he proceeded to rip the head off the poor thing before popping its remains into a plastic bag. He seemed very pleased with himself.

5. Beach Two, August 2009. I’ll always look back on those Yantai days with great fondness. There was a sole beach bar that offered barbecue snacks and a nearby street market with all imaginable forms of dishes, not to mention some unimaginable ones too.

For more on my time in Yantai, check out my short story The Jellyfish Factor

You can also have a look at my other 5s from around Shandong Province.

Like these? Then why not leaf through my zillion articles from across China.

And I’ve written a short story series called Challenged In China.

Leighton Literature travel reports short stories travel blogger


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Freelance travel writer, voice over and English teacher from London. Former music and film journalist, interviewer of the stars. Passionate about travel, film, music, football, Indian food.

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