It’s No Secret… The Spring Fling Left Us Wanting More, writes Jodie Frain…
Waves gently crashing against the shore, soft sand between my toes and a cold Long Island Ice Tea in hand, the weekend experience was one that was relaxing yet thrilling, mesmerising yet humbling, and novel yet somehow homely.
Arriving at paradise – that was Shalanzai beach in Xichong – was a very fine moment indeed. Faced with beautiful panoramic views of the sea, islands and mountains, the sun was shining down between a few very fine showers – but this just made the whole experience more fun, the wetter the better at the beach I say! People were laughing and chatting in their groups of friends, children and adults alike were swimming and playfully enjoying the sea waves, and there was an inviting buzz about the place right from the start.
The Secret Spot Café at Xichong beach was at the heart of the Spring Fling event. This was the foundations of greatness, the fortress that provided space for dancing, emitted sounds and vibrations from some of the best local music artists, and supplied the required hangover breakfasts the following day. The café sits just above the sand, connected by a charming set of rickety steps. Beers and cocktails galore, this place had all your favourites – Bloody Mary, Mojito, Cuba Libre etc.
Planned and executed by Adrian Blackstock of VaChina, and the rest of the G-Spot Jam organisers, the Spring Fling was arranged to celebrate Adrian’s birthday in style. Those involved utilised their network of local talent, venues and vendors to provide an entertaining and enlightening musical experience, as always. Similarly, my group of friends and I had decided to celebrate two of the girls’ birthdays at the event, by surprising them with a huge cake and bottles of bubbly. What could be better than listening to great music, eating cake and drinking bubbly by the beach for your birthday?
Warm temperatures that weekend allowed for people to catch a few hours’ sleep in tents they had brought, however the girls and I had booked in to The Secret Spot Hotel, just a short walk from the café. A fascinating moment that many of us at the beach shared that day was when a stunning double rainbow appeared in the sky, entirely visible from one side to the other – a complete, undisturbed 180 degree semi-circle. What was more salient than the rainbow itself was the number of people that rushed over to the shore to smile and take photographs. It was incredible to witness people appreciating such wonderful natural beauty.
The live music kicked off at 3pm, with a multitude of genres throughout the day and night, from hip hop to house, and reggae to rock. Gradually the numbers of people that were in the café space increased, as everyone wanted to get close to the music artists and appreciate their work. People were dancing, singing, hugging and laughing, drinks in hand and smiles on their faces. The atmosphere was electric.
A couple of my friends discovered that a Jet Ski ride for 20 minutes cost just RMB 100. Despite knowing the environmental damage they cause, I had never experienced a Jet Ski ride before and so I felt this justified having a go. I must say, it was certainly was a thrill driving that mean machine! As an adrenaline junkie it was an added bonus to what was primarily defined as a music festival.
Artists played on until 3am Sunday, and people continued to dance and gather on the beach in between watching and dancing in the café. Spending time with friends – old and new – in such a vibrant and dynamic atmosphere, made the Spring Fling an unforgettable weekend. So if you want to discover the secret of the idyllic spot, be on the lookout for more events as the summer starts heating up – or simply go to relax at the beach!
For more information on the Secret Spot Café or bookings at the Secret Spot Hotel, contact the Owner Bebe on WeChat: bebe868 or call: 13554741859.
Secret Spot Cafe Address: 深圳市龙岗区大鹏新区南澳镇西涌鹤薮村3号收费站沙兰仔沙滩秘点 秘点 (Secret Spot Café, Shalanzai Beach, Gate 3, Xichong Village, Nan’ao Town, Longgang District, Shenzhen)
Secret Spot Hotel Address: 深圳龙岗大鹏新区南澳西涌鹤薮村二区80号秘点冲浪客栈
Address: No. 80 2nd Zone of Hesou Village, Xiyong, Shenzhen, China [ 大鹏新区南澳街道西涌鹤薮村二区80号(深圳西冲鹤薮村2区80号)]
Telephone: +86 1382 361 9335
The Secret Spot Spring Fling, Shenzhen was hosted on May the 13th 2017 at a secret beach location. Our Jodie Frain was there to capture a few moments.
[July 2016] John Acton, sat on Morecambe beach, in Lancashire, the U.K. and told his father of his favourite beaches in China, so far. One stood out from the many others. Editor Jodie Frain had previously supplied the images. Time for another review…
The best beach in Shenzhen is often noted as being XiChong (西冲 or 西涌) by almost everyone I speak talk about beaches with. Whether they are foreign or local, from somewhere in northern China or from Timbuktu (a friend from Mali, even told me of XiChong). Here, the Secret Spot (西涌秘点冲浪客栈), is well, kind of tucked away and heavily hidden from Joe Public. It is, erm, secret. Kind of. Forget the beaches of Dameisha and Xiaomeisha. Those beaches are over-crowded, and polluted by a plethora of discarded crisp packets and sub-standard restaurant wrappings. If you respect beaches, avoid those two beaches, where respect has taken a day or two off work.
Even on a bad day, XiChong is still sparsely populated. It is reasonably clean and much less tourist-invaded. This beach is recommended for surfing, swimming and exploring, be that hiking (British English: rambling) or enjoying your camera skills. Expect beach barbecues and ambience. Finding the beach doesn’t involve amphibious craft, you can just grab a taxi (80-100RMB to XiChong [西冲]) from Dameisha (where many buses head towards). Or you can hike from DongChong (via 10 kilometres of rocky terrain and exciting steep drops). Good days at this beach are still pretty quiet. Other means of accessing XiChing involve, bus E11 from Shenzhen North Station to Nan’Ao Terminus [南澳总站] then bus M232 to Xi Chong village [酉涌沙岗村站]. It is advisable to take a long novel, a cushion and travel sickness pills for sweeping bends and a bumpy ride.
This section of Shenzhen’s Longgang district, known to so few city residents, hugs the Dapeng Peninsula (大鹏半岛). The South China Sea [南中国海 Nán Zhōngguó Hǎi] stares back at you. The vast Dapeng Bay [大鹏湾] and Dàyà Wān [大亚湾] lie west and east, respectively. The magazine, Chinese National Geography [中国国家地理], has selected the beach as one of the most beautiful in the entire Middle Kingdom. If it good enough for Zhōngguó Guójiā Dìlǐ, it is good enough for HubHao. Pirates hid amongst the nooks, crannies and islands throughout the region. Whaling stations, imposed by Japanese occupation, have long gone. Humpback Whales and dolphins can be seen, if you are lucky. The 869 metre-high Qiniangshan (七娘山) towers over the northern region. Shenzhen’s second tallest peak often gives a mystical feel in low cloud cover.
The Secret Spot is home to a hotel, a surf sack bar and restaurant. It is home to numerous live gigs, catamaran trips, relaxing breaks and magic. Shenzhen Party called it a ShenGem. Surfboards stood around the place make it feel like a different planet. Planet Hawaii. But, in Guangdong. If you enjoy the rippling sounds of the breaking tides and breezes that only the sea can make, I recommend you visit XiChong beach. Secret Spot and XiChong beach belong together. They have a “Bring Me Sunshine” bounce that the city living of Dongguan and beyond cannot capture. The smells of the sea. The age of sailing dreams. This place is more than magic, it is a real escape. Not quite paradise, but not far off it. You know, a place to really relax and unwind.