Swimming in China?

JonMLJonML Member
edited December 2012 in Locations & Networking
I'm going to be traveling for work in China January 3-12. Flying into Shanghai, down to Guangzhou, out of Beijing. Two questions about that:

First, how difficult is it to find pools to work out in? I don't want to ask my hosts about it if it would be a difficulty for them, but if it's relatively easy, I'd love to be able to get a few swims in. My work trip will take me to a number of schools. Is it common for schools to have a pool in China? Alternatively, are there municipal pools?

Second, what are open water conditions like in Guangzhou this time of year, in terms of temperature and water quality? I'd love to be able to say I had swum in the South China Sea, but I know that Guangzhou is pretty industrial.




  • heartheart San Francisco, CACharter Member
    I swam in the YMCA in Hong Kong. The pool was incredibly crowded... and finding pools in the mainland was challenging, not only because there are very few, but because sanitation was a huge problem. I was particularly disappointed to find out that the Water Cube in Beijing was not open to swim in, and served solely as a tourist attraction.
  • JonMLJonML Member
    edited December 2012
    We'll also be in Zhuhai. Anyone have any experience with swimming there? When I asked a couple of local grad students from the area about it, they seemed dubious. But that's a common reaction to open water swimming here in Michigan as well, so I'm not sure how much credence to give that.
  • jonnySjonnyS Shanghai, ChinaMember
    edited September 2014
    Ill Bump this a little...
    I live and work in Shanghai, and have yet to find much to swim in outdoors (when I say that, I have found open water, but none I would swim in). I am lucky I have a great 25m pool to swim in, that by local standards is not busy (local standards), I would love to know any open water events from 5km to 20km that are within a 3 hour flight. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
  • IronMikeIronMike Northern VirginiaCharter Member
    @jonnyS, I'd like to advertise a thread I started called "Suggest a swim for me". That thread also might get some hits, and frankly, I'd love if it became the "go-to" place for swim suggestions.

    We're all just carbon, water, starlight, oxygen and dreams

  • Water quality in China is very questionable everywhere I've been & personally would not recommend swimming open water without some serious local knowledge. Pollution levels - including human waste & chemical pollution are pretty rampant.

    Zhuhai might be a possibility -I've taken the ferry there to / from Hong Kong & i have seen beach goers swimming there. The beaches look pretty good...But have not swum there myself.

    I myself swim all the time - in 25 meter hotel pools. Some of them admit outside swimmers, some do not - check with the pool listings on the international swim database.

    The Kerry Pudong in Shanghai has a very nice 20-25m pool & a great gym and I've used both as a guest...if you book a massage you get full use of the facility.

    The Ritz Carlton in GZ has a nice outdoor pool - 25m. Not sure about outsider use.

    Beijing - most of the high end hotels have decent pools -it's been a while since I was there so lacking on specifics.

    Chinese public pools are very iffy - anarchic swimming patterns (or lack thereof) & water quality can be low. Writing this from the airport in Changzhou, about 2.5 hours drive from Shanghai, where I swam 2k-3k per day for the past few days, hotel pool, of course!

    Good luck - suggest just emailing some hotels near where you're staying and seeing if they'll accommodate your swimming jones!

  • One other comment -GZ is on the Pearl River delta, not the South China Sea - Zhuhai is on the sea.
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