Hainan Island is the southernmost province in China and is often referred to as the “Oriental Hawaii” by tourists due to its unique location and weather conditions. Indeed, the combination of lush flora, warm weather, and sea waters attracts travelers here all year round. The entire island of Hainan is covered in mountains, lush forests and plantations and is bathed on four sides by the warm waters of the South China Sea.
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Video: Hainan Island
History, Geography and Climate
For a long time, the islanders had no idea about its amazing history, but an era of careful and accurate mapping has allowed scientists to compare the coastline of Hainan and the Laizhou Peninsula. The results were astonishing: it turned out that once these lands were one, but the active tectonic movement of the plates in the region led to their split, and the island began to gradually drift away from the mainland.
Nanshanxi Buddhism Center Haikou Street View of the luxurious Mandarin Oriental Sanya Hotel 5* Dadunhai Cove
For centuries, it has been swept by waves of constant earthquakes and volcanic activity, which completely subsided 8,000 years ago. Calm Hainan with its amazing climate over time began to attract the attention of people from other areas, and now this island is home to about 8 million people on its territory.
Physical Map of the Island
Hainan is not accidentally compared to Hawaii, because the weather here is truly heavenly. Even in January, when we’re used to wrap up in warm coats and scarves, islanders bask in the sun at 25 ° C. Of course, in such weather conditions and the water in the South China Sea almost does not cool down, being at 26 ° C throughout the year. Thus, the climate itself would be enough to make tourists from all over the world flock here, but Hainan offers many surprises in terms of entertainment and recreational opportunities.
Sunset on the South China Sea
Recreation and recovery: Hainan resorts
Vacation time is the only time of the year when people think of their body’s main resource – health. When going on a trip, many tourists plan their itinerary so as to make sure to visit healthful places that can replenish their vitality for the entire coming year. Of course, we are accustomed to Western medicine in the form of pills or procedures with drugs. But pharmaceutical influence on the organism doesn’t cover all variety of existing methods, especially if we are talking about Oriental medicine.
Acupuncture is one of the popular areas of traditional Chinese medicine
Hainan Island is one of the most popular centers of alternative medicine in the whole of Asia. It organically combines comfortable hotel complexes at the seaside and all kinds of treatment facilities. A particular advantage of recovery procedures on the island is the materials the doctors work with. The fact that the flora of the island is so diverse that the locals for centuries perfected their skill to extract the most useful substances from each plant. Thanks to this painstaking experimental work Hainan was able to become famous throughout the world for its phytotherapeutic practices.
Hainan Island Night Market Hotel Massage Fish Peeling
The range of diseases treated by medics in Hainan Island is extremely wide. Hundreds of thousands of people come here annually striving to cure their diseases. The most popular treatment destinations are considered the following:
- Diseases of the joints, in the fight against which are used compresses of herbal infusions, acupuncture and bamboo sticks. These procedures restore blood circulation in problem areas and can completely eliminate the pain syndrome during 10 sessions.
- Fighting nicotine addiction with inhalations and chest warming.
- Quick and effective weight loss through spot massage, which helps to break up and reduce subcutaneous fat deposits.
- Elimination of painful symptoms during menopause. After a complete examination, specialists develop an individual program combining herbal compresses, acupuncture and bathing in thermal springs, which helps to normalize the work of the female body.
- Decrease in the aftereffects of a recent stroke, which is achieved by stimulating nerve endings with special needles.
Special attention should be paid to water procedures. The fact is that the former volcanic activity on the island of Hainan provided the locals with numerous springs of enriched waters, bathing in which gives incredible results.
Hot Springs in Hainan Island
Most often tourists go to the Xinglong Valley, where there are many thermal streams. Here at the same time you can find both radon and potassium-sodium thermae, the water in which ranges from +45 ° C to +65 ° C. The small town is surrounded by tea and coffee plantations, whose products can be easily purchased in the local markets. Despite the compact size of the settlement, travelers can stay in comfortable villas and hotels, the level of service which is not inferior to European hotels.
Yalong Bay Tropical Paradise Forest Park
Another popular place for thermal water treatment is Nantuan. The appeal of the springs lies in the fact that they are designed as numerous small hot pools. After receiving prior consultation from a specialist, patients spend hours soaking in the thermae, relaxing and saturating their bodies with health.
Old Men for a Conversation
Of course, there are many places on Earth known for their health resorts, but what makes Hainan Island so special? First of all, incredibly low prices for treatments and related services, vacations in this area is very affordable for tourists. Secondly, and most importantly – amazing health of the inhabitants of the island. The fact that this place is home to a huge number of long-livers who have crossed their 100th birthday, continuing to be in good health. And this is perhaps the most important indicator of the effectiveness of local treatments.
Beach recreation and entertainment in resort towns
Hainan attracts not only those wishing to improve their health, but also those who prefer a beach holiday. To understand the geography of the island, it is convenient to divide it into three zones according to the bays along which they are located.
Dadunhai Bay is one of the most popular places for recreation. There are hotels of all kinds here, and the snow-white beaches lure those wishing to take a dip in the azure waters of the sea from afar. There are stores, cafes, and markets along the coastline where you can buy anything you want. This place is a favorite among young people, because it’s easy to find bars and discos of different styles and formats.
Yalunwan Bay is geared toward the wealthy, so most hotels have 5-star status. On leaving the hotel, you immediately find yourself on a private beach with white sand and clear water. The cleanliness of this area immediately led to the emergence of diving clubs. Here regularly organize exciting dives to the bottom, where you can observe the fantastic life of exotic sea creatures.
Sanyawan Bay View of Phoenix Island in Sanya
Sanyavan Bay is the most economical beach vacation option. This is due to not the most convenient infrastructure, because in order to approach the sea, tourists are forced each time to cross the road. But saving money on the hotel gives travelers the opportunity to visit more sights and unique places on the island of Hainan.
Cultural and natural attractions
The center of tourist life on the island is the city of Sanya. It features a convenient transportation connection that allows you to visit every corner of Hainan. After a drive of only 20 minutes along the coastline you can find an amazing park with a curious name – “The Edge of the World”. In our understanding a park area should be covered with lawns and trees, but in China there are very different ideas about it. “The edge of the world” is a huge beach, on which are chaotically scattered giant boulders, left as a memory of the past volcanic activity on the island. Almost every boulder has a name, and some of them are so popular that they are depicted on local banknotes. And the name of the park itself duplicates the inscription on one of the stones. It states that this place is the most extreme point of the land part of the whole of China.
Park “The edge of the world” Statue of the Goddess Guanyin
After traveling another 10 km in the same direction one reaches Mount Nanshan, at the foot of which is the largest center of Buddhism on the continent. On a vast area of 50 square kilometers there is a unique park, the landscape of which is made according to all the laws of the Eastern tradition. Near the coast line was poured artificial island, on which built a huge temple for the worship of the Goddess of Mercy. The real highlight of the island is the golden statue of Guanyin, inlaid with precious stones and pearls. The height of the sculpture with a pedestal is 108 meters, which allows you to rank the stone image of the goddess in the top five highest statues in the world.
Li and Miao Village
Also 35 kilometers from Sanya is a huge temple complex, which constantly attracts Taoist monks – representatives of one of the most revered beliefs in China. According to legend, this is the place where the southern dragon, who rules a quarter of the world, resides. A visit to this area does not require any involvement in religion, but allows you to get acquainted with such unusual rituals of a completely different culture.
Villagers at work
For those interested in the cultural characteristics and folklore of the Chinese, the village of the Li and Miao peoples is a must-see. The inhabitants of this village are descendants of the aborigines of the island, they attract tourists by demonstrating the life of their ancestors. Here you can see the buildings made by ancient techniques of mixing grass and clay, dancing, weddings and other daily and festive rituals. It is worth finding out about the schedule of events in advance to get to the brightest of them.
Lovers of exotic flora and fauna will be interested in visiting the botanical gardens and zoos of Hainan. Near Sanya is a nature reserve, where you can see thousands of species of butterflies. In one part, visitors are introduced to the classic museum collection, but the greatest interest is its “live” component. Next to the building is a rainforest with a ravine in which many of the rarest species flutter about.
The Flying World Park is always open to bird lovers. There are more than 200 species of birds, which are not only in the cages, but also take part in various shows and entertainment programs.
How to get to Hainan Island
There are two international airports, which daily receive dozens of planes from various corners of the world. For residents of the Russian Federation, there are several ways to fly, each of which has its own advantages.
It is convenient to fly to Hainan airport in Haikou where Hainan Airlines operates direct flights from Moscow. Usually such a flight takes about 10 hours; its main advantage is that you can get a visa right at the airport. You should have your passport (received at least 6 months before departure), one 3.5×4.5 cm color photo, an invitation from an individual or a legal entity, and $65 for the visa itself. Thus, choosing a direct flight, you will not have to visit the Chinese embassy and, moreover, you can renew the visa two more times for a total of 30 days just by going to the airport.
In addition, many flights are hosted by Sanya City. The recently renovated local air gate building is equipped with all the technological advances of modern science, and the new terminal has increased the flow of tourists several times.
There are two easy ways to get from the airports to the resort towns of Hainan Island. For passengers whose plane has landed in Haikou, some airlines provide a free shuttle service. If your ticket does not include an extra service, you can take a bus or cab to your hotel, which is parked right outside the gate. The same opportunities are available at Sanya Airport, but because of the close proximity to the resort towns the trip usually takes about 15-20 minutes and costs about $2.
Moving around the island itself during the holidays is also not any difficulty. Buses between the cities constantly shuttle tourists to the most popular destinations, and for those who wish to visit remote corners of Hainan, always available cab services. The easiest way to get around the towns is on foot or by using the services of so-called bicycle rickshaws, which will take you to the right place for a reasonable fee.
Hainan (海南 ; Pinyin Hǎinán, Russian for “south of the sea”) is a province on the island of the same name in southern China. The capital and largest city is Haikou. Other important cities are Sanya, Dongfang, Danzhou, and Qionghai.
Population 8.18 million (28th place among the provinces; data of 2004).
Hainan is a huge tropical island located in southern China. The island covers an area of 33,920 sq. km. Hainan is at the same latitude as Hawaii and therefore is often referred to as “Hawaii East”. The island is washed by the waters of the South China Sea, the average annual air temperature is + 24 ° C, water temperature – + 26 ° C. It is sunny and clear for more than 300 days a year.
Central and southern parts of the island are covered with dense forests, plantations of mangos, bananas, pineapples, coffee, tea and coconuts. Industry is concentrated in the northern part of the island, around the capital city of Haikou (Sea Gate). The origins of Haikou date back to the Tang dynasty. In the past twenty years, Haikou has been transformed from a provincial town to a modern, beautiful city with a population of 1.5 million people, an extensive recreational industry and a wide network of hotels of various levels. Many people say that Haikou is becoming more and more like Hong Kong.
The most famous landmark is the Ma An volcano 15 km from Haikou, which has a saddle shape. Along the diameter of the crater is an observation deck from which you can look into the neck, which is a frozen lava, overgrown with dense scrub and rare tropical trees. There is a park around it, and down in the palm grove there is a restaurant with folklore performances in the evenings.
Hainan Island is famous for its abundance of endemic species of flora and fauna, many of which are under UNESCO protection. The main crops are the coconut palm and the rubber-bearing Hevea and the legendary anchovy tree, whose milky sap is used as an antidote for snake bites. The botanical gardens, at an altitude of 1200 meters above sea level, preserve the island’s unique virgin nature. Tea and coffee plantations adorn the slopes of the mountains in the central part and delight the eye with their lush greenery.
In the southern part is the pearl of the island – the year-round resort of Sanya. Three bays (Sanya Bay; Yalong Bay ; Yalong Bay ; Dadonghai – Great Eastern Sea) around the resort of Sanya contain most of the hotels and resorts on the island.
Weather and Climate
Hainan is the second largest (after Taiwan) and the only island in China with a tropical climate. The air on Hainan Island is extremely clean and has a healthy climate.
Hainan was first included in the centralized Chinese state during the Han dynasty, c. Before the Tang dynasty, the Chinese presence was limited at best to a military camp in the north of the island. The province received its present name under the Mongol Yuan dynasty. In 1370 the island lost its autonomy and became part of Guangdong. Chinese colonization of Hainan intensified in the 16th and 17th centuries. Under the influx of natives from the continent Hainan natives were pushed to the south coast. In 1906, at the suggestion of Sun Yat-sen, the island was re-designated as a separate administrative unit. It remained loyal to the Kuomintang government longer than other provinces. Deng Xiaoping created the largest free economic zone on the island.
On the main mountain of Dongshan Island, nature itself has gathered a collection of huge stones of the most bizarre shapes. Each has its own name and is described in a special catalog.
The largest coconut palm plantations are located in the Wenchang area. It is believed that the milk of the nuts prolongs life. It is not without reason that the largest number of Chinese long-livers live in this area.
In the bay of Yalunwan is a museum of tropical seashells and butterfly garden, the beauty of which is fascinating.
At 40 km from the city, near Nanshan Mountain (“Southern Mountain”), an area of 50 square kilometers, the Nanshan International Tourism Zone opened in 1999, there are a collection of Buddhist cultural monuments and ethnographic attractions. In one of the temples there is a statue of the goddess Guanyin (140 kg.) made of pure gold and registered in the Guinness Book of Records as the biggest in Asia. The statue fascinates with the elegance of the fine jewelry work.
Near the city of Haikou, there is a grave and monument of a local native, a principle official of the 16th century, Hai Jui.