The Dead Sea of China is a giant indoor and outdoor water park geared mainly for the busy summer season, as the most of the pools are not heated. The exception is the smaller indoor dead sea pool, where you can lie back and float effortlessly any time of the year.
This resort about 200 kilometres to the northwest of Chongqing in a city called Suining遂宁. The central location between Chengdu and Chongqing make it an especially good choice for a stopover when traveling between the two cities. When the weather hots up, and higher visitor numbers make for a livelier atmosphere, it’s well worth staying in the resort hotel, as you get the best value for both money and entertainment.
As with many other waterpark themed resorts, like the Global Centre in Chengdu, or the hot springs in Luzhou, the Dead Sea is a hotel, entertainments and waterpark complex.
It is possible to visit as part of a day trip, but I always find it more relaxing to stay overnight in the hotel, and choose a good value deal that offers entry to the waterpark in the price.
I myself visited the Dead Sea Resort for my birthday a few years back in the month of April. After driving a few kilometres from the motorway exit, you know the resort is nearby from all the roadside stalls selling swimsuits, inflatable rings and countless other waterpark paraphernalia.
We parked outside the hotel, and walked into the grand entrance that makes slightly reminisce of Ancient Egypt in a strange way. There were almost no tourists around that day, and we wandered the cosily decorated corridors alone.
The resort has a huge indoor section, and even larger outdoor part. When you change and walk into the indoor pool area, the dead sea pool is located in the far corner to your right. It’s perfectly large enough, but in the busy summer holiday period, I dare say you will have to vie fiercely to claim a spot inside.
I’m sure readers will want to know whether you can actually float in this pool, and the answer is a definite yes. As I stepped into the pool, I took a head rest, lay backwards, and spent a least an hour here and there floating around, eyes shut without fear of being dunked.
In the opposite corner and up some steps is a fun mud spa where you can cover yourself in nutrient rich mud, then socialise a while with others while caked up like a lost tribesman. At the end, the staff will offer tubs of mud for sale around 168 Yuan, I believe. We picked one up, and it goes so far that we still haven’t used it all up to this day!
The most eye-catching part of the complex is the giant unheated swimming pool with artificial beach and performance stage at the deepest end. Unfortunately, the pool temperature is uncomfortably low in April, even with the semi water proof jackets you put on shoreside. A dipped toe was the furthest I ventured into the this pool, and nobody else was using it either that day.
In summer months, I can vouch that the pool is great fun, and I’ll download some photographs and show that it gets so popular you can’t even see the water through all the people and swimming rings.
Outdoors, there’s a beautifully landscaped park area with facilities for kids to play around, beyond which there’s another giant and amazing pool area waiting for the summer guests.
The hotel room is very cosy, and they have small balconies that either overlook the attractive indoor courtyard areas, or out towards the city and surrounding countryside, depending on which side you room is on.
Our deal included a very decent lunch and breakfast the next day. The best place to search for such rates are on the Wechat Chat function in China. You will probably need a Chinese mobile number and bankcard to access the options fully, and also need to understand Chinese to know what you are buying. If in any doubt, ask a local to help you. They can always make the reservation for you and send you a screenshot of the booking page.
Whether it be a purposeful visit, or a stopover, you would definitely enjoy a stay here, especially in the hotter months when you can use the large pools, but preferably outside the main holiday season where you’re less likely to be crowded out.