Let’s Hit the Seaside // All The Chinese Beach Vocabulary You Need

Hitting the Beach in Chinese | Learn The Fundamentals

Good news guys – summer is here!

We all know what that means for you lucky Beihai students… time to hit the beach!

Or if you’re elsewhere in China, don’t worry, China’s coastline is around 18,000 kilometers long!

Luckily there’s plenty of beautiful beaches to choose from.

Before you do, make sure you’re up to scratch with all the essential Chinese beach vocabulary you need/

That way you can get a tan and impress all your Chinese friends with native-sounding conversational skills.

In this article you’ll find all that need-to-know beach vocabulary, from sunset, sand and sea, to shark, snorkel and seafood!

Chinese Beach Vocabulary Where is the Beach?

Chinese Beach Vocabulary Common Nouns

Chinese Beach Vocabulary – Swimwear and Swimming Gear

Chinese Beach Vocabulary Sun Protection

Chinese Beach Vocabulary Ocean Animals

Chinese Beach Vocabulary Beach Bar Food and Drinks

Chinese Beach Vocabulary Ocean Chengyu

Chinese Beach Vocabulary FAQs

Under The Sea in Chinese!

Chinese Beach Vocabulary – Where is the Beach?

You wake up to a new day in China and realize the sun is shining, it’s a beautiful day and it’s a great opportunity to hit the beach!

So you pack your bag, whack on your shades, text your local friends and off you go.

But first, you’ll need to figure out how to get there!

How do you ask ‘Where is the beach?’ in Chinese?


hǎitān zài nǎlǐ?

How do you say ‘The beach is over there.’ in Chinese?


hǎitān zài nà biān.

If you need a refresher in asking for directions in Chinese, check out our Ultimate Guide to Chinese Directions

Chinese Beach Vocabulary – Common Nouns

How to say beach in Chinese

Once you’ve made it to the golden sands and turquoise oceans in one piece, it’s time to explore and enjoy the beach!

How well do you think you could describe things you’d find at the beach in Chinese?

Below you’ll find some commonly used nouns you need to add to your Chinese beach vocabulary.

Let’s take a look

Beach沙滩shā tān
Sand沙, 沙子shā, shā zi
Towel毛巾máo jīn
Beach Chair躺椅tǎng yǐ
Beach Umbrella太阳伞tài yáng sǎn
Beach Ball沙滩球shā tān qiú
Boat小船xiǎo chuán
Paddle Boat划艇huá tǐng
Jet Ski水上摩托车shuǐ shàng mó tuō chē
Buoy浮标fú biāo
Lifeguard救生员 jiù shēng yuán
Chinese beach vocabulary – common nouns

Think you can remember all those?

Try the exercise below and see if you can match the Chinese characters to the correct beach vocabulary.

Check the answers here 👇


沙滩球 means beach ball. Remember, 沙滩 means beach and 球 means ball, so this one is pretty literal!


躺椅 means beach chair. Again we can remember this by looking at the meaning of the characters, 躺 means to lie down or recline, 椅 means chair.


And finally 太阳伞 means beach umbrella. This one is a little less literal as 太阳 means sunlight and 伞 means umbrella (just like in the word 雨伞!)

One of the best ways to practice vocabulary is to take those new words and put them into sentences.

Have a go at using the vocabulary from the table to translate these sentences into Chinese.

How do you say ‘Oops, I didn’t bring a towel!’ in Chinese?

哎呀, 我没带毛巾!

Āiyā, wǒ méi dài máojīn!

How do you say ‘Look, there’s a jet ski over there.’ in Chinese?


Kàn, nà biān yǒu shuǐ shàng mó tuō chē.

How do you say ‘There’s sand in my shoes!’ in Chinese?


Wǒ de xiézi jìn shā le!

(Note: the Chinese is a little different to English, as Chinese speakers most commonly use 进 in this context, 进 means to come in or to get into. So in the context of sandy shoes, avoid the 在。。。里面 structure!)

Chinese Beach Vocabulary – Swimwear and Swimming Gear

On a hot summer’s day, there’s no better activity than going for a swim in the sea.

Once you know there’s a 救生员 jiù shēng yuán (lifeguard) on duty, you can stick on your swimwear and dive on in.

Maybe you could even come up with your own synchronized swimming routine like the gold-medal winning Chinese team at the FINA World Aquatics Championships!

Try giving this routine a crack next time you’re swimming with some friends!

Did you know?

China has a wide range of diving locations, including a fascinating section of the Great Wall of China that is underwater.

Even if you don’t think your swimming is up to world championship level, it’s still definitely worth learning all the related Chinese vocabulary, so that you’re all set for your trip.

We’ve also included words for commonly used equipment if you fancy going diving in China.

After you’ve learned the following vocabulary, you’ll be more prepared to plan a diving trip, purchase or rent all the gear and then of course tell other Chinese speakers about your experiences!

VocabularyChinese CharacterPinyin
Bikini比基尼bǐ jī ní
Bathing Suit游泳衣yóu yǒng yī
Swimming Trunks游泳裤yóu yǒng kù
Sunglasses太阳镜tài yáng jìng
Flip-flops人字拖rén zì tuō
To Change Clothes换衣服huàn yī fu
Scuba Set潜水装置qiánshuǐ zhuāngzhì
Mask潜水面罩qián shuǐ miàn zhào
Flippers脚蹼jiǎo pǔ
Snorkel呼吸管hūxī guǎn
Life Vest救生衣jiù shēng yī
Chinese beach vocabulary related to swimwear

Chinese Beach Vocabulary – Sun Protection

Remember, sunscreen is a must! Especially for those of you going for a swim.

Make sure to lather on that factor 50 – or if you’re in China, you can even get your hands on some SPF 100.

On a similar note, it’s also very common in China on sunny days to see people carrying umbrellas to protect themselves from the sun.

Down below is all the vocab you’ll need to chat about sun safety (and burns!) with your Chinese pals:

To get a tan晒黑shài hēi
Tanned晒黑的shài hēi de
Sunscreen防晒油fáng shài yóu
Sunburn晒伤shài shāng
Skin皮肤pí fū
Sun Hat遮阳帽zhē yáng mào
Beach Umbrella太阳伞tài yáng sǎn
Check out the life of a Chinese student at our LTL Taipei school – where you’ll definitely need to bring your 防晒油 fáng shài yóu (sunscreen!)

Chinese Beach Vocabulary – Ocean Animals

Do you want to try 潜水?

China is rich in diving options teeming with sea creatures.

For those of you who want to channel your inner Little Mermaid and go diving under the sea with Sebastian and Flounder, we’d definitely recommending checking out Sanya, aka China’s Hawaii.

After you’re fully submerged in the water, you might be lucky enough to spot some ocean wildlife!

Fun Fact

Around the waters of Hong Kong, you might be able to spot pink dolphins! Though these dolphins are officially known as Chinese white dolphins, they are pink in color and are very rare.
Pink dolphins around Hong Kong

Do you know how to say dolphin in Chinese? How about jellyfish, shark and seal?

It’s definitely worth learning how to say seagull at least, so at least you can complain like a native when they steal your ice cream!

Check out the table below to learn how to say all of these in Chinese.

Crab螃蟹páng xiè
Starfish海星hǎi xīng
Sea urchin海胆hǎi dǎn
Lobster龙虾lóng xiā
Octopus章鱼zhāng yú
Eel鳗鱼mán yú
Manta Ray魔鬼鱼mó guǐ yú
Dolphin海豚hǎi tún
Shark鲨鱼shā yú
Whale鲸鱼jīng yú
Tuna金枪鱼jīn qiāng yú
Piranha食人鱼shí rén yú
Seal海豹hǎi bào
Sea Lion海狮hǎi shī
Seagull海鸥hǎi ōu
Pelican鹈鹕tí hú
Sea Turtle海龟hǎi guī
Sea animal Chinese vocabulary

When you take a closer look at the characters, you’ll find a lot of these animals have very interesting names.

For instance, the characters for jellyfish, 水母 shuǐmǔ, translate directly into ‘water mother’.

So now, why don’t you test yourself! Take our translation quiz to ‘sea’ how well you know your Chinese ocean animals…

Which animal in Chinese literally translates to ‘dragon shrimp’?


In Chinese, lobster is 龙虾 lóng xiā

龙 lóng means dragon

and 虾 xiā means shrimp

Which animal in Chinese literally translates to ‘sea pig’?


This might be a bit of a surprise, but in Chinese, dolphin is 海豚 hǎi tún

海 hǎi means sea

豚 tún is an old way of saying pig (note: nowadays, 猪 zhū is most commonly used for pig)

Which animal in Chinese literally translates to ‘food person fish’?


This one is one of our favorites – it’s very literal! In Chinese, piranha is 食人鱼 shí rén yú

食 shí means food

人 rén means person

鱼 yú means fish

Don’t become a ‘food person’ guys, stay away from those 食人鱼!

BONUS | For a full list of animal vocabulary check out our extensive article on over 170 animals in Chinese.

Chinese Beach Vocabulary – Beach Bar Food and Drinks

Don’t forget to hydrate! After a hot, sunny day on the beach, it’s definitely time for a refreshing drink and a snack, or three…

You might even fancy a swigging a mojito or red wine to enjoy that ocean view (we won’t tell anyone).

Now, we know a few of you might be wanting something a little stronger with your beachside snacks, so check out our drinks menu cheat sheet below for all that alcohol-related vocab.

Don’t worry designated drivers, we also included soft drinks on there too:

When it’s time for a hearty lunch or dinner (or even just a quick snack), it definitely helps to be able to read those beach bar menus.

Ordering food can be a little intimidating for beginners, so it definitely helps to memorize some of your favorite foods – and especially foods you can’t eat!

Here we’ve compiled a list of foods and fruits you’re likely to be enjoying beside the seaside.

Calamari鱿鱼圈yóuyú quān
Cheeseburger芝士汉堡zhīshì hànbǎo
Chicken burger鸡肉汉堡jīròu hànbǎo
Ice cream冰淇淋bīngqílín
Cheesecake干酪蛋糕gānlào dàngāo
Brownie布朗尼bùlǎng ní
Coconut椰子yē zi
Dragonfruit火龙果huǒ lóng guǒ
Watermelon西瓜xī guā
Mango芒果máng guǒ
Cantaloupe哈密瓜hā mì guā
Papaya番木瓜gān mù guā
Pineapple菠萝bō luó
Passion Fruit百香果bǎi xiāng guǒ
Strawberry草莓cǎo méi
Banana香蕉xiāng jiāo
Durian榴莲liú lián
Common beach bar foods in Chinese

At the end of a long beach day in China, a lot of us might just prefer to take the easy way out on the way home and grab a quick McDonald’s or KFC.

There’s also a huge range of local snacks you could take with you to the beach, from White Rabbit Candy to rice cracker biscuits.

Even better, we found a video of some kids taste testing a whole bunch of them, so you don’t have to!

Check out what these kids thought of local Chinese snacks!

Chinese Beach Vocabulary – Ocean Chengyu

And last but not least – time for a Chinese chengyu!

That chengyu is 人山人海 rén shān rén hǎi.

If we break it down literally, this chengyu means people (人) mountain (山) people (人) sea (海).

Can you guess what it really means?

人山人海, or ‘people mountain people sea’ actually means extremely crowded!

A better way to describe those crowds!

In other words, it means a place is so crowded that it feels as though there are mountains of people or an ocean of people.

This is something we can definitely relate to in Spring Festival travel season…

Hopefully you won’t have to use 人山人海 to describe your beach vacation this year, but if you do, at least you’ll sound like a pro when you’re complaining!

Do you know another beach-related chengyu, common phrase or slang term in Chinese? Let us know in the comments below!

Chinese Beach Vocabulary – FAQs

How do you say beach in Chinese?

In Chinese, beach is 沙滩 shā tān

How do you say ocean in Chinese?

In Chinese, ocean is 海 hǎi

Can I go swimming at Chinese beaches?

You can indeed!

With a coastline of around 18,000km, there are plenty of beaches to choose from.

Though we’d definitely recommend you check out Sanya, aka China’s Hawaii.

Are there any dolphins in Chinese oceans?


One of the most famous sea creatures around China is the Hong Kong pink dolphin.

They’re a rare sight, but all the more special for it.

Can I really study Chinese near the beach?


Our LTL Beihai school is located in the south of China where you can enjoy warm weather year-round and take your textbook down to the beach to study after class (beach cocktail optional!)

How can I remember all this new vocabulary?

In our experience, using a spaced-repetition flashcard app like Anki is a fast, effective (and painless) way of memorizing new words.

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