While Binhai Road cannot be compared to the famous Las Vegas Strip (although, also known as Binhai Strip, there are casinos), by night, it is equally as dazzling thanks to the incredible amount of colorful lights and majestic water fountains, which are also lit in all colors.
By day, however, Binhai Strip has something that completely trumps the Las Vegas Strip: on one side is the sea, with a lower-level, tree-lined walkway. Sailboats dot the seascape along Binhai Road, and the squawking of seagulls and other sea birds can be heard.
What really makes Binhai Road such a unique destination in China is the city of Yantai. Yantai is set on the northern coast of Shandong Province near the entrance to the Bay of Bohai, the innermost gulf of the Yellow Sea and into which the Hai He River, which flows through Beijing on its way to the sea, empties. The city is a burgeoning regional economic powerhouse. For example, in 2007, it held the enviable position of having the highest annual growth rate (a whopping 20.1%) among Chinese cities.
Like similar coastal cities in China that have begun to expand rapidly, Yantai has attracted a large number of foreign investors. Part of this economic development is a growing expat community who creates the demand for a wide array of first-rate sightseeing and entertainment venues. Therefore, Yintai has developed in response to these influences, benefiting not only the expat community, but also the native residents. Visitors from both within the country and abroad now come here to enjoy the bounty and beauty of Yantai.
By day, visitors can take in the sights along Binhai Road which include the East Emplacement, Swedish Consulate, and International Exhibition Hall. Or, one can just drive along the strip and enjoy the landside view with its modern architectures interspersed with vibrant greenery, or the seaside view with its typical seaside resort vistas.
There are also some 10 beaches strewn along the length of Binhai Road (certain stretches of Binhai Road do not lend themselves to commercial development and thus retain a pristine natural beauty) where one can laze in the sun or take a dip in the cool waters. And of course, an unhurriedly stroll along the walkway is perhaps the most popular way to take in the views, stopping here and there to enjoy the ever-changing sheens of the sea.
By night, one can cruise Binhai Road and enjoy a completely different experience, one where the road comes to life as Binhai Strip. For those who long for a bit of risk-taking and adrenaline, there is of course Huanghai Sea Casino where one can also simply enjoy an evening of good food, drink, and entertainment aside from testing their chances. An evening promenade along the shoreline, where the night lights of Binhai Strip are softly reflected in the sea, is as romantic as it gets.
Tips: Observe common-sense safety rules for swimming in the sea. Do not swim on a full stomach (or an empty one for that matter), do not swim if you are on medication that might impair your ability to respond quickly, stay out of the water when it is too cold, never swim alone, never swim out too far on a dare, and more. In addition, be aware that there can be dangerous debris near the loose seabeds and floors which can cause entanglement and abrasions, thus increasing the risk of a serious mishap.
In general, when conditions are deemed dangerous, a red flag will be posted, but one should always trust one's sense of self-preservation even when no warning flag is present.
From Yintai, take bus nos. 3 or 17. Better yet, rent a car!