To do indoor sports in Beijing can be a costly affair. Swimming is especially expensive, even though there are several swimming pools around. Swimming is popular here (though people prefer water slides and similar), but this is not Paris, where one entry usually costs 3 EUR, or Slovenia, where i payed between 4 and 5 EUR. Here one entry tickets cost minimum 10-15 EUR. Of course this depends on district and complex where you live. Some complexes have swimming pools included, mine has not. I live in the Kempinski area, so i was looking only for swimming pools in the near proximity.
Some pools in Beijing (looking at the Cube) also demand an ID, or basically a license that you passed swimming test. Usually that costs another RMB 50-100, but it is one time only expense. The pools i will describe don’t need that.
In general its relatively difficult to find Olympic size swimming pools (50m). Most hotels and accommodation have only 25m sized pools, some hotels even don’t have that size. Upon finding out the price i immediately deleted hotels from my list – Kempinski, Westin – much too expensive.
For me the best alternatives in the last year and half have been:
– Sino-Japanese Youth Center, swimming pool (21st century hotel swimming pool), 40 Liangmaqiao Lu, 亮马桥路40号.
The only Olympic sized (50m) swimming pool in my vicinity. Relatively modern and well maintained. It was an Olympics training center and some say that it boasts some of the best facilities in the city. Included is also fitness with views of the pool. People come here to swim laps and thats good. And usually it was not extremely crowded. One time entry is expensive – RMB 98 (EUR 13.5), year pass is RMB 4100 RMB (EUR 561). Another option is to buy 20 entrances (can be shared among more people) – 20 entrances for RMB 1500. Its open between 10 am and 9 pm. Communication in English is minimal.
– Tera Wellness, No. 19, Dongfang Rd. East (v DRC)
Wellness club has only a 25m swimming pool, but fitness is included, so are several activities. One cannot buy only access to swimming pool. There is no one time entry ticket, one year membership (i suspect for laowai – foreigners) costs whopping RMB 9900 (EUR 1355!!!!). I suspect they have different pricing for Chinese, but at least one can negotiate the entry (and reduced it even to 50% of first quote) – if you are going here, negotiate it! Everything is on higher level in the club, everything that you need is to bring a swimming trunks and that’s it. There is a towel in the locker, slippers are provided (i prefer to use my own). Some English is spoken (a coach or two speak English, of course, to negotiate the price for you, they will call somebody with some English knowledge). Its open between 7am and 10pm.
At first i was swimming in the first, larger swimming pool. However, as ism now permanently in Beijing i decided to splash out for a nearer Tera Wellness (and price difference i paid was quite small for a full year),