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Top Ten Reasons to Visit Hainan





Haven't ever been to China's tropical island province of Hainan? Haven't even heard of it? Well that is about to change! Hainan is the perfect place for your next big trip. Not quite sure? Here are ten reasons you've just got to Visit Hainan!


R&R in Hainan


Beachside Pool Villa at Kempinski Haitang Bay


You've been working hard and you need a break! You deserve the kind of break you can get in Hainan – 5 star! There are now 5 star hotels in many Hainan cities, but some of the most luxurious are located in Haitang Bay.



At the Kempinski Haitang Bay, for example, you can enjoy a leisurely gondola ride, get a Balinese Massage at the hotel spa, and eat a traditional European breakfast at Love to Eat, their exclusive breakfast restaurant.


Your own Hainan Adventure




If you are an adrenaline junkie, if you love excitement and adventures, Hainan has some great activities you've got to cross off your bucket list. Ride the ziplines at Yanoda Tropical Rainforest as well as Yalong Bay Tropical Paradise Park.




Go whitewater rafting at Wuzhishan. Ride a motorcycle through Hainan's rural villages. Parasail at Boundary Island, Wuzhizhou Island, and Yalong Bay. Walk on coals with the locals during the traditional Junpo Festival.




Scuba dive at Dazhou Island. Take a helicopter tour of Hainan's coastline. Make friends with the monkeys at Nanwan Monkey Island. Embrace the adventure that life offers you!


Minority Cultures of Hainan




Hainan has several different minority groups, including the Li, Miao, Hui, and even the Dan fishing people, who traditionally live and work on their boats. Each of these groups has their own language, history, traditional clothing, cuisine, festivals, and customs. Learn to play the nose flute or weave fabric by hand from the Li minority people.




Marvel at the elegant silver jewelry or taste home brewed Shanlan rice wine in a Miao minority village.




See the beautiful mosques of the traditionally Muslim Hui people in Sanya.



Take a tour of a Dan minority house boat, and enjoy a dinner of extremely fresh seafood while you are aboard!


Hainan Has How Many Mountains?


Jianfengling, Hainan


Did you know that there are 81 mountain peaks of at least 1,000 meters in elevation in Hainan? The highest is Wuzhishan, also called Five Finger Mountain, where the tallest peak is 1,867 meters high. Climbing all 81 peaks would be quite the challenge, so here are a few of the really interesting climbs.




Dongshan, or East Mountain, is located in Wanning. This is where one of Hainan's four most popular dishes originates – Dongshan Goat! Yum. Anyway, this is an easy climb – kids and grandmas welcome! It's only 184 meters to the top, but if even that sounds daunting you might want to try exercising a little more. Ha, just kidding, there's a gondola you can ride to the top! Don't forget to check out all the little temples along the path, some of them date back to the Tang Dynasty.




Ready for something a little more challenging? Qixianling, or Seven Fairy Mountain, located in Baoting, is a very respectable 1,126 meters tall. The path winds through lush rainforest, and alongside runs a cool refreshing stream. When you get too hot just splash for a few moments in the crystal clear water and you will feel refreshed! Watch out for the last 200 meters to the peak though, you'll have to pull yourself straight up several stretches of sheer rock using chains that have been embedded in the stone. Exhuasted? Soak your sore muscles in one of the area's many hot springs after your climb. Ahhhh, that's better.




Some of the most spectacular waterfalls in Hainan can be seen on Diaoluo Mountain, near Lingshui. The mountain's Fengguoshan Falls consists of four seperate major falls and countless smaller falls, as well as several large clear pools of water. The most magnificent fall is over 60 meters wide and has a maximum drop of more than 150 meters. This is also a great area to see an abundance of wildlife, including deer, peackocks, butterflies, and 250 different species of flowers. Remember, take only photos, leave only footprints!


Try Something New and Different in Hainan


Jianfengling's Heaven Lake


One of the greatest things about travelling is experiencing something new, seeing places you've never been. Even if you have lived or travelled in China before, even if you've been to Hainan before, there is always something new on this large island to experience.




Push your limits! You are making epic memories and will have stories for years about chatting with a stranger on the newly opened Hainan West Line High Speed Rail Line, or when you camped in a meadow above Heaven Lake in the tropical rainforests of Jianfengling.



Personally, I've lived on Hainan for more than ten years and am still having new and unexpected adventures here. Every day!




Hainan Cuisine




Foodies, you are in for a treat! Hainan cuisine generally focuses on freshness and quality, allowing the natural flavors of the best ingredients to shine, without obscuring them with heavy sauces or overwhelming them with too much spice. Dipping sauces in Hainan do have a special ingredient though, calamansi! That's a small citrus fruit that is squeezed into a dish along with a dash of soy sauce, vinegar, and chopped garlic. The citrus addition to the dipping sauce is the perfect pair for Hainan's light fresh flavors!


Here are a few great Hainan eats you've just got to try:


Hainan Street BBQ





Late at night the streets of Hainan come alive with streetside BBQ stalls setting up right on the sidewalks. There's plenty to choose from, sticks of mouthwatering mutton or beef or chicken, grilled fish, shrimp, oysters, and more. Even vegetarians can have a feast here, with your choice of tofu, mushrooms, greens, eggplant, and even steamed bread, everything is fair game for the BBQ! Just point at what you want, grab a cold coke or beer, and enjoy!






Hainan is a tropical island! That means you definitely have to try the seafood here, and there is plenty to choose from. For the very freshest seafood experience, try going down to a local fish market, where you can choose freshly caught live seafood, and have it cooked for you immediately! The fresh sea flavors don't need much improvement, so try a simple style, with a bit of garlic or sqeezed calamansi juice. Perfection!


Fried Ice



Fried ice, or chao bing 炒冰, has long been a staple of Hainan snack culture. It's made from your choice of fresh fruit, which is then blended with condensed milk and then “stir-fried” until it is frozen into a sort of fresh fruit sorbet. This is the best way to sample all the flavors of Hainan's tropical fruit, and freeze your brain at the same time! Ahhhh...


Enjoy some Hainan Sunshine




Winters in most of China are brutal – freezing cold temps, snow and ice, and let's not forget about the near-constant airpocolypse! When even breathing the air is killing you, you've got to find someplace better!




Luckily for you, Hainan isn't far and not only do we have tropical island sunshine, but the air here is actually CLEAN! Take off that grimy face mask and take a deep breath, you've arrived in paradise.




Beaches of Hainan


You can't come to a tropical island and not spend at least a few lazy days soaking up the rays on the beach! Not sure which ones are the best though? Here are a few great ones:


Haitang Bay Beach



This is an ultra luxurious beach with perfect sand and immaculate 5 star hotel staff to cater to your every need. Peace and quiet will be yours on this luxury beach! Bonus: Close by the largest duty free mall in the world!



Dazhou Island Beach



This is a small island off the coast of Wanning. The whole island is a nature reserve, so there are no hotels, restaurants, or other infrastructure here. Only perfect beaches, crystal clear water, and an abundance of wildlife. Please take good care of this treasure when you visit!




Sun and Moon Bay (Riyue Wan) Beach



This beach is a laid back surfer's paradise! Hang out at the surf club with a cold imported beer, rent a surfboard and hit the waves, ride the camel, camp on the beach, and take hikes through the village, to the waterfall, and up to the ghost hotel! The water is clean and the tourists are few, making this the perfect place to relax.




Hainan Wildlife




Hainan is teeming with hundreds of species of wild plants and animals, and aflutter with thousands of butterflies and birds. Winter is the best time to see many of the birds, as they migrate south to enjoy Hainan's balmy temperatures. Quite a few of the local wildlife species are only found in Hainan, making the whole island province an important wildlife refuge.




Hainan Gibbons, or Hainan black crested gibbons, are the rarest apes in the world! There are only 24 Hainan Gibbons. All of them live in the Bawangling National Nature Reserve, here in Hainan.



Seeing a Hainan Gibbon swinging through the treetops is pretty rare, but Bawangling is the perfect place for an amazing nature hike, through the thick vegetation, next to thundering waterfalls, up to the peak where you will have amazing views of unbroken greenery stretching for miles.



If you are looking for a place where you and your kids will be sure to see plenty of interesting animals, check out the Hainan Tropical Wildlife Park and Botanical Garden, located a short drive outside of Haikou. Here you will see a large variety of well kept healthy zoo animals, including elephants, zebras, crocodiles, bears, lions, and more.


Volunteer Opportunities in Hainan


Combining your trip with a volunteer opportunity is a wonderful way to really get involved and make a difference while you immerse yourself in a new destination. Hainan offers a variety of volunteer opportunities. Let's take a look at a couple of great ones.



Continuing the wildlife theme, you can volunteer with Sea Turtles 911 to rescue, rehabilitate, and release endangered Hainan sea turtles, including the critically endangered Hawksbill Sea Turtle and the endangered Green Sea Turtle.



Want to stay on dry land? Head down to Sanya to volunteer with The Bright Connection, where you will be working with Autistic children, Cerebral Palsy children, Mentally Delayed children, Deaf and non-verbal children.



This is one of a very few programs in the whole of China offering programs to assist these vulnerable children and their families. A large number of the children at The Bright Connection are orphaned due to their disability, and would likely receive no special care if it were not for the work of The Bright Connection volunteers.



There are endless reasons for travelling, and every place has its own special charms. We look forward to your visit to Hainan, and hope you enjoy discovering your own favorite Hainan adventure!


by Nicki Johnson

Visit Hainan

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