On April 13, Shenzhen's Yantian District government held a press conference where they announced a solution to Dameisha Beach's perpetual overcrowding. Their bright idea? Requiring visitors to book their spots up to a week in advance, and imposing limits on the amount of reservations allowed each day.
It may seem draconian, but at least beachgoers won't have to pay to get in, as was suggested in a previous plan.
The new system is set to start on May 1 and continue through October. To register, visitors will first have to follow 畅游盐田 ('Enjoy Yantian') on WeChat, at ID: enjoyYT (read our full guide to booking here).
Then they'll need to choose a time and date to enter the beach, which is open from 7am-midnight daily. The system will show how many other people have arranged to come at that time; if the number is over 50,000, users will have to choose another entry time. Pre-booking will be allowed up to a week in advance. Once the number of reservations for one day has reached 80,000, the system will automatically stop taking bookings.
Hopefully, the system will prevent crowds like this
You can book using either a Chinese ID number or a phone number. If you choose to RSVP with your phone, you may opt to receive a text with a QR code that can then be scanned at the entrance of Dameisha.
A reservation is good for one entry only, meaning that if you leave the park at any point, you'll have to RSVP all over again to get back inside.
There are some exceptions to the RSVP rule (active military, seniors 65 and above, kids under 1.4m, etc.), but otherwise it's pretty strict. If you show up at Dameisha without having booked, for example, you'll be given an on-the-spot tutorial to make a reservation before you can get inside. Space allowing, of course.
The system will also ban you from making bookings for six whole months if you're late for your reservation three times. RSVPs can be canceled up to two hours before the planned time of entry.
Dameisha after the 2014 Dragon Boat Festival
If all this sounds like way too many hoops to jump through for an afternoon of sun and surf, may we suggest one of the many other beaches the PRD has to offer? Or failing that, the closest swimming pool.
UPDATE (April 27, 2017 at 4.42pm CST): Now that the booking system is officially live, we've updated some details in this article to ensure all information is as up-to-date as possible.