Welcome to Běihǎi
Běihǎi (北海; literally ‘North Sea’) – called baakhoi in the local baíhuà dialect – is famed among Chinese tourists for its Silver Beach, dubbed ‘number one beach on earth’ in tourism brochures (it ain't). A far more charming and unique selling point, however, is the lovely and crumbling Old Quarter, a delightful vignette of colonnaded streets and colonial-era architecture. It's lovely in the right light, and with a fine cafe and hotel, the old town is the place to settle down for a day or two to ease into Běihǎi's lazy seaside rhythms. The volcanic island of Wéizhōu is a further draw, just 70 minutes away by boat.