Hainan is the largest ocean island and the smallest land province in China. Although scenery in Hainan...
Hainan is the largest ocean island and the smallest land province in China. Although scenery in Hainan lacks the grandness of the Great Wall and the mystery of the Terror-Cotta Warriors, its natural beauty has gained a good reputation among the visitors and has been widely known around the world. Hainan is located at south end of China, and occupies an area of 35,000 square kilometers (13,510 square miles). Its administrative regions are Hainan Island, Xisha archipelago, Zhongsha archipelago and Nansha archipelago. Its neighboring countries are Philippines towards the east, Malaysia and Brunei towards the south, Indonesia (Natuna Islands) towards the southwest, and Vietnam towards the west.
The surrounding sea area totals 2,000,000 square kilometers (772,000 square miles). Due to the mild climate and favorable environment, Hainan is regarded as a long life island. The young often travel to Hainan seeking a return to nature and the old would rather live there to enjoy their lives. Hainan now has a population of 7.11 million, among which about one million are ethnic minorities.
Hainan is a multinational region, and there the ethnic villages of Li and Miao are very typical. The hospitable villagers will treat you to traditional food as well as wonderful singing and dancing performances. So the Li and Miao Villages are well worth a visit in Hainan. Nowadays, Hainan cuisine is very popular all over the world, especially the fresh and delicious seafood. Furthermore, Hainan is famous for their beautiful handicrafts, like shell carvings.
The capital of Hainan is Haikou City. Located in northern part of the island, it is the political, economic, cultural and transportation center of the whole province. In Hainan, the cities Haikou and Sanya are where most tourists congregate.
Hainan Island was called the Pearl Cliffs and the Fine Jade Land. The latter two gave rise to the province's abbreviation, Qiong, referring to the greenery cover on the island.
Hainan first enters written Chinese history in 110 BC, when the Han Dynasty established a military garrison there. Settlement by mainlanders was slow however and from early on the island was considered to be fit only for exiles. It was in this period that the Li people arrived from Guangxi Province and displaced the island's aboriginal Austronesian-speaking peoples.
In Eastern Wu of the Three Kingdoms Period, Hainan was the Zhuya Commandery.
Under the Song Dynasty, Hainan came under the control of Guangxi Province, and for the first time large numbers of Han Chinese arrived, settling mostly in the north. Under the Yuan Dynasty (AD 1206-1368) it became an independent province, but was placed under Guangdong Province during the Ming Dynasty in 1370. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, large numbers of Han from Fujian and Guangdong began migrating to Hainan, pushing the Li into the highlands in the southern half of the island. In the eighteenth century, the Li rebelled against the government, which responded by bringing in mercenaries from the Miao people regions of Guizhou Province. Many of the Miao settled on the island and their descendants live in the western highlands to this day.
In 1906, the Chinese Republican leader Sun Yat-sen proposed that Hainan become a separate province.
Hainan was historically part of Guangdong Province and Guangxi Province, being as such, it was the Ch'iung-yai or Qiongya Circuit (瓊崖道) in 1912 (the establishment of the Republic of China). In 1921, it was planned to become a Special Administrative Region; in 1944, it became Hainan Special Administrative Region with 16 counties containing the South China Sea Islands.
November and March
Asian Dragon Bay (Yalong Wan), Baisha, Tongzha, Qiongzhong, Seven Finger Mountain, Wuzhi Mountain, Wanquan River, Dongjiao Coconut Forest, Monkey Island, Guantang Hot Springs, Xinglong Tropical Garden, Dongshan Ridge, Copper Drum Mountain, Wenchang Confucius Temple, Sanya Bay, Xinglong Hot Springs, Hailing Pearl Cultivation Farm, Tropical Ocean World, Wugong Temple, Tomb of Hai Rui, Qiongtai Academy, Holiday Beach, Shimei Bay, Dongzhai Harbor Mangrove Natural Reserve Area, Nanli Lake, Tianya Haijiao, Wuzhizhou Island, Dadonghai, Nanshan Temple
Asian Dragon Bay (Yalong Wan): Yalong Bay boasts unparalleled beauty. The 7.5-kilometer (4.7- mile) long, crescent-shaped bay with an area of 18.6 square kilometers (about 7.2 square miles) is one of the famous scenic spots in Hainan Province. Yalong Bay boasts the five essential elements of modern tourism: sea, sands, sunshine, lush green plants and fresh air. In 1992, the Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization once marked that this bay embraces the unique and unparalleled natural settings, sands, crystal sea water, endless seashore, unspoiled hills and pristine vegetation, making it a paradise for holiday travelers.
Baisha: Baisha is a small village situated about 60km north and a thirty minute bus ride from Tongzha. Although Baisha contains few sites of interest, the trip out here takes in some stunning scenery, surrounded by mountains and forest and there are some nice walks in the countryside near the town too.
The small villages en route have a more authentic and traditional atmosphere than the ones closer to Tongzha itself.
The former headquarters of Hainan�s Communist party are also situated along this route. The city itself is pretty charmless, but it is worth heading out into the countryside for some great walks around the Bawang Ling mountain range where Hainan�s few remaining Black gibbons roam the jungle.
Tongzha: This is a lovely place to spend a couple of days just wandering and exploring. The city itself is small and the streets and markets can be covered on foot in under 30 minutes. Tongzha�s charming public square is a great place to see some of the more unusual minority groups going about their everyday life and a day trip to the nearby mountains and countryside will really let you get to the heart of things here.
Qiongzhong: Qiongzhong (Yinggen) is situated between Tongzha and Wuzhi Mountain. Along the way, try and get your driver to stop at the numerous viewing platforms to take in (and a photo of), the spectacular 984 ft. Baihua Waterfall, which is said to be possessed by Li goddesses. There is a lively and fun market in Qiongzhong itself, a great place to pick up some of the local specialties. This small town, although pretty scruffy oozes with atmosphere and is extremely lively and noisy.
Seven Finger Mountain: Seven Finger Mountain is dedicated to seven Li immortals who were conquered by Wuzhi�s five gods. The views from the mountain are pretty impressive and this is a lovely walk, taking in some nice scenery and really getting to grips with nature! However, although this is a shorter climb than Wuzhi Shan, it is a much steeper one and hikers should go prepared! The mountain itself is covered in dense foliage, including pine trees and begonia.
Wuzhi Mountain: Wuzhi Mountain (Wuzhi Shan) is the highest mountain in Hainan, towering 1867m above Tongzha in the center of the island. Various Li myths abound concerning the name for the mountain (Five Finger Mountain) and its formation. One legend has it that the five mountain peaks are the fossilized fingers of a dead Li clan chief. Another tale is that the five peaks are dedicated to the five most powerful Li gods. Numerous historical poems have also been written about the mountain, the most famous of all by the Hainan writer, Qiujun.
Wanquan River: The Ten-Thousand-Spring River is 162 km long, and the 3rd longest river in Hainan Island. At its upper reach, characterized by the ups and downs of the fluctuating mountain ridges and steep and narrow valleys and cliffs, the water flows rapidly through forests and winds around mountains. At the lower reach, the river widens to form a flat, smooth, rippling lake surface.
Dongjiao Coconut Forest: Dongjiao Coconut Forest area (Dongjiao Yelin) is a famous place to enjoy seafood on the east coast of Hainan Island, made even more special by the characteristic coconut trees that fill the area. Dongjiao Township is on Qinglan Harbour near Wenchang City.
Local peasants offer up their seafood delicacies and coconuts with pride, claiming that coconut juice has rejeuvenating properties. The locals are very adept at harvesting the coconuts and are able to climb the towering coconut trees with their bare hands.
Monkey Island: Monkey Island (Nanwan Hudao) is a narrow peninsula with no land access, where a nature reserve for monkeys has been established. The peninsula is located 5km south of Lingshui County Town. Twenty one groups of Guangxi monkeys inhabit the area, numbering as many as 1,000 in all. Beyond the monkeys as the dominant species, the peninsula is also home to 400 species of tropical plants and 100 species of animals. The nature reserve is under state protection for research purposes, but is also open to tourists.
Guantang Hot Springs: Guantang Hot Springs (Guantang Wenquan) is 8km northeast of Qionghai City. The hot springs are quite good here with especially hot waters (70-90 degrees celsius). The area is steamy and green year round.
Xinglong Tropical Garden: The Xinglong Tropical Garden (Xinglong Redai Huayuan) is located in the Xinglong Overseas Chinese Farm (Xinglong Huaqiao Cun) on the eastern outskirts of Wanning City, which is where Chinese from Vietnam, Indonesia and other regional nations have resettled in Hainan. The area is famous for its beauty with streams and tropical gardens.
Dongshan Ridge: Dongshan Ridge, although not very high at 184 meters, has been called �the best mountain in Hainan� (the Chinese love to say that something is �number one� ). With beautiful landscapes and local specialties, Dongshan is one of the best attractions on Hainan�s eastern coast.
One of Dongshan Ridge�s more interesting sights is the �Flying Stone� (Feilai Shi). This stone is more than ten meters high and wide, and weighs over a hundred tons.
Copper Drum Mountain: Located in Wenchang City�s Longlou District, with land to the east and the sea to the west, this is the most eastern point in all of Hainan. This mountain is quite spectacular with many unique and bizarre landscapes as well as interesting legends, and has become known locally as the �Best mountain in eastern Hainan�.
Wenchang Confucius Temple: The Wenchang Confucius Temple is one of the best preserved examples of ancient architecture in Hainan. The temple was first built during the 11th century, after repeated renovation and expansion since the Ming Dynasty. The temple is also one of the biggest and most impressive examples of ancient architecture in Hainan.
Sanya Bay: In addition to Asian Dragon Bay and Dadonghai, Sanya Bay is also an ideal place for vacation and leisure in Sanya. Lying to the west of Sanya city center, it stretches for 20 li (6.2 miles) from Sanya Harbor. The bay is surrounded by beautiful tropical scenery with a boundless sea view. The crystal clear blue sea stretches to the edge of the sky, while the waves lap the soft white sand.
Across the sea, you will see two adjacent islands: Western Hawksbill Island and Eastern Hawksbill Island (commonly know as Western Island and Eastern Island). The Eastern Island is a garrison island with strict safety measures while the Western Island is open to the public. If you are interested in angling, you can reach the Western Island by motorboat as it has the biggest and best angling club of Sanya.
Xinglong Hot Springs: The Xinglong Hot Springs (Xinglong Wencun) are located in the Xinglong Overseas Chinese Village on the eastern outskirts of Wanning City. The springs are home to over a dozen springs, from which flow hot mineral water (average temperature of 60 degrees year round). The water here is said to have curative effects for those with skin diseases, arthritis and other illnesses.
Hailing Pearl Cultivation Farm: Although repeatedly affected by severe typhoons coming off the South China Sea, the pearl cultivation industry still flourishes in Xincun, south of Lingshui County, simply because of the excellent quality of the salt water pearls produced here. The Hailing Pearl Cultivation Farm (Hailing Zhenzhu Yangzhichang) is one of Hainan�s most famous pearl production centers.
Tropical Ocean World: Haikou Tropical Ocean World, located in Binhai Xi Lu (west road of Binhai), is the first big tropical and oceanic theme park in China. Covering an area of 89 acres (33 acres sea area and 8 acres sand beach area), it is a paradise where you can not only see the tropical rain forest's marvelous spectacles but also the wonders of ocean life. You can also view the most advanced movies and enjoy high-tech entertainment facilities, along with the sunshine and the surf of the sea.
Wugong Temple: Wugong Temples, are approximately 5 kilometers (about 3.1 miles) from the centre of Haikou City, and were originally constructed during the reign of Emperor Wanli in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). It was renovated on several occasions during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Now, it is a place known for its sense of peace, tranquility and beauty.
Tomb of Hai Rui: Tomb of Hai Rui is situated in the western outskirts of Haikou City, 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) from the civic center. It represents people's esteem towards Hai Rui, an upright and uncorrupted official. It was originally built in 1589 during the Ming Dynasty (1368 -1644), and some of the constructions in the tomb garden remain intact. With an area of over 4,000 square meters (4784 square yards), the layout was designed according to the level of the official titles at that time.
Qiongtai Academy: Qiongtai Academy is located on Wenzhuang Road, in the Qiongshan District of Haikou City. It was initially built in 1705 in memory of Qiu Jun, a famous scholar from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). The academy was named Qiongtai because Qiu Jun was called 'Mr. Qiongtai'. At one time, the academy was the supreme institution of Qiongshan. It is now the site of the Qiongshan Teachers' Training School.
Holiday Beach: Holiday Beach is a major recreational resort in the west of Haikou City, in Hainan Province. The beach, some six kms (about 3.7 miles) long, enjoys a wonderful climate with sparkling waters, waving coconut trees, and plenty of sunshine and blue skies.
Shimei Bay: Shimei Bay is a place with tropical sunlight, wide open sea and mysterious and alluring primitive scenes. The bay contains a beach where six kilometers of long white sand is smooth and soft to walk on and the seawater is so clear you can see the bottom. A short distance away by sea is an island, Jiajing Island, covered with lush and vibrant plants.
Dongzhai Harbor Mangrove Natural Reserve Area: Known for the largest and the first mangrove natural reserve area in China, Dongzhai Harbor is located in the northeast of Haikou City with an area of 3337.6 hectares (about 8247 acres). It is a typical tropical jungle, and the mangrove tree family can be seen everywhere in the area. Mangrove is a kind of tropical tree that grows in swamps and sends roots down from its branches. When the tide is high, the mangroves are submerged by the water, and leave only the green crowns for people to wonder at their marvelous nature.
Nanli Lake: The Nanli Lake is a famous scenic site in Haikou City, Hainan Province, located in Ding'an County, about 40 kilometers (24.85 miles) far away from Haikou. It covers 46 square kilometers (11,367 acres) and the area of the lake is 12.3 square kilometers (3,039 acres). It is a large man-made lake. In 1958, the people of Ding'an built the Nanfu Reservoir here. As a result, the water gathered in the valley became today's Nanli Lake and the mountains became the islands in the lake.
Tianya Haijiao: Tianya Haijiao, a romantic and beautiful scenic spot, lies to the west of Sanya City, Hainan Province. It receives many visitors from home and abroad every year since its open in 1988. It also attracts thousands of young lovers from every corner of the world to hold their wedding ceremonies here.
Tianya Haijiao means 'the furthermost part of the sky and the sea' in Chinese, suggesting an unattainable place. In the past, Chinese people believed that the sky was square and the earth was round.
Wuzhizhou Island: Wuzhizhou Island, in Haitang Bay, has an area of some 1.48 square kilometers (365.7 acres). With an irregular butterfly-like shape and a total coastline of 5.7 km (3.54 miles), the island is about 30 km (18.6 miles) north-east of Sanya City.
Wuzhizhou Island was known as Guqizhou Island in ancient times and the earliest records date from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), when a temple was built to commemorate the originator of Chinese characters, Cang Jie. Following the Qing Government's fall from power, the villagers rebuilt the temple to honor the Goddess Matsu, who bestowed good fortune on the local fishermen.
Dadonghai: One of the most popular tropical seaside holiday areas in Hainan Province is located 3 kilometers (about 1.9 miles) southeast of downtown Sanya, between Mt. Tuziwei and Mt. Luhuitou. Dadonghai has a crescent-shaped beach 2.3 kilometers long (about 1.4 miles) and clear blue sea, sunshine, white sand and green trees creating a beautiful location in the Torrid Zone.
Nanshan Temple: Situated 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Sanya City, Hainan Province, the Nanshan (South Mountain) Temple ranks as one of the attractions in the Nanshan Culture Tourism Zone. Occupying an area of 400 mu (66 acres), it is the biggest Buddhist preaching site established since the founding of the People's Republic of China.
Haikou Meilan Airport, 25 kilometers (16 miles) away from the center of Haikou, provides a convenient connection between Haikou and other cities at home and abroad. It has more than 200 air lines flying between major cities inside China such as Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Shijiazhuang, Wuhan, Dalian, Xiamen, Xian, Chengdu, Harbin, Qingdao and Nanjing, etc., as well as direct flights to Hong Kong, Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and so forth.
A rail passenger service was established on December 5, 2004 that runs between Haikou and Guangzhou. The train travels on the boat and is the first Chinese rail connection that spans the sea. The crossing takes approximately 55 minutes. The entire one way journey takes about 12 hours. Tickets price vary from RM138 to CNY400.
Haikou is the highway hub of the Hainan Island. National highways at the east, middle line and west as well as the expressway circle the island and are of great convenience to transport.
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