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China-10-Hainan

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© Lonely Planet Publications
620

lonelyplanet.com

History

Feeding directly off China’s booming economy, the country’s smallest province now sees
about 80% of its income washed ashore by tourism. But it’s not just middle-class Chinese
wearing Hawaiian-style shirt and shorts combos who are coming. London travel agencies are
now offering Hǎinán packages alongside those to the Costa del Sol, and a growing number
of independent travellers are finding that a side trip to China’s best beaches is a wonderful
way to punctuate a trip to this vast country.

0
0

H‡INÁN
GU‡NGD±NG

Hǎinán is in many ways more like Indochina than the polluted skies, freezing winters
and two billion elbows that are often hard to escape on the mainland. And as a traveller,
it’s hard not to appreciate that this is one of the few places where you can engage with
Chinese unashamedly kicking back and having a good time.

CHINA

Gulf of

H†i'ƒn

Tonkin

Qiongzhou

Qiongshan

Lín'gƒo

224

Yangpu
Development
Zone

Chéngmài
225

Shilu
Reservoir

Bƒs©o
(DŸngfƒng)

„ Enjoy delicious, cheap seafood and wonder-

W©zh¨shƒn

„ Explore the minority villages around

Wǔzhǐshān (p634)
„ POPULATION: 8.2 MILLION

Yalong Bay

Nandu

Qióngh†i
224

r

Rive
Wanquan

QióngzhŸng

Niululing
Reservoir

Báihuƒ Shƒn
Maoyang

r

gh

Sh©imàn

an

Ch

W©zh¨ Shƒn
(1867m)
Wànníng

W©zh¨shƒn

L›dŸng

Nansheng

Ocean Bay
Golf Club

Sun & Moon Bay
(Rì Yuè Wƒn)

224

Nantian
Hot-spring
Resort

Ji©su¡

Nánshƒn
Fójiaò
Wénhuà
Yuàn

X¸nglóng

Shimei Bay
Jijiang Dƒo

Y¸ngg‰h†i

Sƒnyà's Number
1 Market

Sh

Hóngmáozhèn

Jianfengling
Nature
Reserve

Shimei Bay

Huángzhú

ƒn

g

n
©l¨

Rive
ua

Gancheng

„ Soak up the sun, sand and cocktails in one of

Wénchƒng
DŸngjiƒo Y‰lín
Q¸nglán

Lím

Datian
Nature
Reserve

223

„ndìng

Túnchƒng

Báishƒ

Xi†odŸngfƒng

ful people-watching at Sānyà’s Number 1
Market (p632)

kick and dance their way around Haikou
Park (p624)

Songtao
Reservoir

Chƒngjiƒng

Haikou Park

„ Watch the Chinese having fun as they run,

Strait

H‡IK¤U

HIGHLIGHTS

Yalong Bay’s (p630) plush resorts

SEA

Xúwén

Dƒnzho¥

serted beaches of Shimei Bay (p628)

SOUTH

Y¸nglì

Of course, it’s not all falling coconuts and tanning oil, and the more adventurous will
find their trip much enhanced by a little exploration into the central highlands, which have
moderate temperatures, thick canopies of forest, and Li and Miao villages. Prices are generally higher in Hǎinán, but avoid the winter rush for some very attractive discounts...
H Ǎ INÁN
H Ǎ INÁN
lonelyplanet.com HǍINÁN •• History
© Lonely Planet Publications
It’s taken more than 2000 years, but the Chinese have finally started to see Hǎinán Dao
( Hainan Island) as more than a ‘gate of hell’, a place to which recalcitrant officials were
banished to a fate marginally better than death. Indeed, the rehabilitation of Hǎinán’s repu-
tation has been so fast and so complete that a visit to ‘China’s Hawaii’ has become a status
symbol in itself.
Feeding directly off China’s booming economy, the country’s smallest province now sees
about 80% of its income washed ashore by tourism. But it’s not just middle-class Chinese
wearing Hawaiian-style shirt and shorts combos who are coming. London travel agencies are
now offering Hǎinán packages alongside those to the Costa del Sol, and a growing number
of independent travellers are finding that a side trip to China’s best beaches is a wonderful
way to punctuate a trip to this vast country.
Hǎinán is in many ways more like Indochina than the polluted skies, freezing winters
and two billion elbows that are often hard to escape on the mainland. And as a traveller,
it’s hard not to appreciate that this is one of the few places where you can engage with
Chinese unashamedly kicking back and having a good time.
Of course, it’s not all falling coconuts and tanning oil, and the more adventurous will
find their trip much enhanced by a little exploration into the central highlands, which have
moderate temperatures, thick canopies of forest, and Li and Miao villages. Prices are gener-
ally higher in Hǎinán, but avoid the winter rush for some very attractive discounts on hotel
accommodation.
Hǎinán 海南
History
Until the economic boom of the last 20 years,
Hǎinán had been a backwater of the Chinese
empire since the first Han settlements ap-
peared on the coast almost 2000 years ago.
Largely ignored by a series of dynasties,
Hǎinán was known as the ‘tail of the dragon’,
a place at the furthest reaches of the empire
that was best used as a repository for occa-
sional high-profile exiles.
But while the island has played only the
most peripheral part in Chinese history, it has
been home to the ethnic Li for more than two
millennia. Looked down upon by the Han,
the Li lived a relatively primitive, subsistence
existence and generally minded their own
business. As long as the Han remained con-
fined to their small communities on the coast
it was a strategy that seemed to work. Indeed,
groups of Li living as hunter-gatherers were
found in the mountainous interior of Hǎinán
as recently as the 1930s.
This lack of exploration comes as little
surprise when you consider that Hǎinán was
known mainly as a place of exile for most of
the last 1000 years. When Li Deyu, a prime
minister of the Tang dynasty, was exiled to
Hǎinán he dubbed it ‘the gate of hell’. So bad
was the island’s reputation that only 18 tour-
ists are purported to have come to Hǎinán
of their own volition during the entire Song,
Yuan and Ming dynasties (almost 700 years)!
That’s about the rate per minute during winter
nowadays.
POPULATION: 8.2 MILLION
HIGHLIGHTS
Ride a wave on the long and virtually de-
serted beaches of Shimei Bay ( p628 )
Enjoy delicious, cheap seafood and wonder-
ful people-watching at Sānyà’s Number 1
Market ( p632 )
Soak up the sun, sand and cocktails in one of
Yalong Bay’s ( p630 ) plush resorts
Watch the Chinese having fun as they run,
kick and dance their way around Haikou
Park ( p624 )
Explore the minority villages around
Wǔzhǐshān ( p634 )
Haikou Park
Yalong Bay
1 Market
Sƒnyà's Number
Shimei Bay
W©zh¨shƒn
S O U T H
C H I N A
S E A
Shimei Bay
(Rì Yuè Wƒn)
Sun & Moon Bay
Tonkin
Gulf of
S E A
C H I N A
S O U T H
Bay
Yalong
Qiongzhou Strait
River
Changhua
River
Wanquan
River
Nandu
G U ‡ N G D ± N G
Sh©imàn
Nansheng
Maoyang
DŸngjiƒo Y‰lín
Ji©su¡
Hóngmáozhèn
Báishƒ
Xi†odŸngfƒng
Q¸nglán
H†i'ƒn
Xúwén
Y¸nglì
Gancheng
Y¸ngg‰h†i
Sƒnyà
H†iji†o
Tiƒnyá
L›dŸng
W©zh¨shƒn
X¸nc¥n
Língshu¨
Wànníng
X¸nglóng
QióngzhŸng
Bƒs©o
(DŸngfƒng)
Dƒnzho¥
Chƒngjiƒng
H‡IK¤U
„ndìng
Chéngmài
Qióngh†i
Túnchƒng
Huángzhú
Wénchƒng
Qiongshan
Lín'gƒo
Zone
Development
Yangpu
Reserve
Nature
Datian
Reserve
Nature
Jianfengling
(1867m)
W©zh¨ Shƒn
Báihuƒ Shƒn
Shƒn
Lím©l¨ng
Reservoir
Shilu
Reservoir
Niululing
Reservoir
Songtao
Jijiang Dƒo
Wuzhizhou Dao
Island
Monkey
Yuàn
Wénhuà
Resort
Hot-spring
Nantian
Fójiaò
Nánshƒn
Golf Club
Ocean Bay
223
224
225
224
224
H‡INÁN
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0 30 miles
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