Though the word ‘natural’ comes from the word ‘nature’, but actually nature is the most unnatural thing under the sun. It is too eccentric to break our stereotyped idea about the color of grass! Sueda is a kind of grass, whose growth cycle starts in April when it is colored light red, while the color turns to crimson red in time of maturity during September. Near Panjin, a city in Liaoning province of north-eastern China, there is a large wetland formed on the delta of river Liaohe, where sueda grows along the shores miles after miles and with the arrival of Autumn, the marshland get transformed into a sea of red as far as the eye can see. As we planned our trip to China in Autumn, therefore this Panjin Red Beach was our obvious choice. Words cannot describe what we saw; what we felt as well! Let our photographs do the job of story-telling. I am here to help you with some information that may help you plan for the same.
Best Time to Visit
Mid September to Mid October is the best time to cherish the beauty of this natural red carpet. Try to avoid the national holiday week (1-7 October) as the place is over-crowded by local people.
Apart from that red wonder, this wetland is famous for a large congregation of migratory birds, specially the endangered crowned crane. For the birds’ enthusiasts, March is the best time to visit Panjin beach, there will be no red at that time.
How to Reach Panjin Red Beach
First, I am discussing how one can arrive at Panjin city.
By train: There are two railway stations: Panjin Railway Station (inside the city) and Panjin North Railway Station (22km away from the city). Panjin is well connected with Beijing by train. It will take 7-8 hrs by normal speed train or 3-4 hrs by high speed train.
By flight: There is no airport in Panjin. The city is situated 155km away from Shenyang International airport.
By bus: Long distance buses connecting different cities of north-eastern China and Beijing are available in Panjin.
Red Beach area is around 35km from Panjin city and it takes more or less 1hour to reach there. You can hire taxi or car from railway station or your hotel in Panjin. If you have your return train or bus on the same day, then I will recommend you to hire the taxi/car for the entire day, as it may take time to arrange the return car from the Red beach area. Taxi-drivers usually try to rip off the foreign travelers. They may demand 500-600RMB for the entire day. Bargain hard.
How to Visit Panjin Red Beach
To get an idea about the scenic area of Panjin Red Beach please go through the following picture:
There are two gates along with ticket counters and parking areas on the both side of the scenic area and you can enter either from them. The gates are connected by a road. On one side of the road, you can see the red beach, while rice field is there on the other side.
You can walk or cycle along the road or take shuttle train service. The shuttle service is free of cost. There is a charge for hiring bicycle on the basis of hours. You will see the rate chart is attached over the ticketing window.
The starting area of the shuttle train is 1km away from the entry gate. If your car has a tourist permit then you can arrive there by car and park. Otherwise you have to park your car/taxi outside the entry gate and walk thereafter. Though the rule is not so hard and fast, as our taxi did not have the permit but our driver was too smart to manage the staffs at the gate, therefore we did not have to walk that 1km.
There are five stations for the shuttle train and each station is adjacent to a viewing platform. The five viewing platforms are: 1. Lover’s Bridge, 2. Lover’s Covered Bridge, 3. Stroll Road, 4. Small Island, 5. Plank Road.
Maximum amount of red sueda grass can be seen near Lover’s Bridge and Lover’s Covered Bridge. Stroll Road is a long un-branched bridge over the red. You can find mainly green grass alongside the bridge connecting to Small Island, resulting a little bit disappointment, but if you walk to the end, you will be rewarded by the spectacular sight of green grass emerging from the red carpet of sueda. This beautiful red and green combination may also be found on Plank Road.
You can find the names of 2-3 extra viewing areas mentioned on the route-map attached inside the train, but the train usually skips to stop there, as now-a-days there is less or no red at those points. The red patch is continuous from Stroll Road area to Plank Road area; therefore, if you have sufficient time, you may walk that part to enjoy the beautiful scenery. You can find the distances between consecutive viewing areas from the route-map inside the train and plan your visit accordingly.
There are watchtowers inside the rice field adjacent to the train stations. If you climb on the top, you can have the marvelous view of yellow paddy field nearby and the red patch of grass on the opposite side of the road.
Things to Keep in Mind
- The opening hours of Panjin Red Beach is 8.30-17.00.
- You may find blood red color of the grass from the photographs in internet, but remember that the red color of the grass usually varies from magenta to blood red depending on the light condition. Since, the sky remains mostly clouded during this period, therefore it’s rare to see the blood red color under a clear sky and bright sunlight.
- Don’t forget to bring umbrella or raincoat as occasional raining is common in September-October.
- The temperature varies from 5-20 degree centigrade during this period, but due to heavy wind, the real feel becomes around 4-5 degree less than the actual one. Therefore carry heavy winter garments for your protection from cold.
- Minimum 2 hours is required to visit the area, but one can spend an entire day there. Remember that there are public toilets and shops near the train stations. If you are planning for a whole day trip, then it is better to bring your own food, as the shops usually sell limited items like biscuits, chips, cold drinks, water etc.
Wander with Reshmi & Saikat