A standout from other provinces, the Province of Hainan is the largest ocean island while at the same time the smallest land province in China.
Though Hainan’s scenery is bereft of anything as grand as the Great Wall or as mysterious as the Terror-Cotta Warriors, it has gained an overwhelmingly positive response from visitors. Its natural beauty has become widely known around the world that people have come to call it “the Oriental Hawaii.”
Occupying an area of 35,000 square kilometers (13,510 square miles) Hainan is to be found at the south end of China. Its administrative regions are Hainan Island, Xisha archipelago, Zhongsha archipelago and Nansha archipelago.
Due to its 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.
When to go
Hainan is an ideal place to hide out from the cold winter in some countries. In January and February, the average temperature is 16C – 24C. This rises to around 25C – 29C in July and August.
The rainy season is from May to October. The best time to visit Hainan is between November and March of the next year. Those who are fond of swimming will find the province an excellent swimming and bathing place all year around and since it is far from the crowded cities, it is an ideal choice for relaxation and entertainment.
What to see
The most popular place for tourists in Hainan is Sanya, which is in turn famous famous for its tropical beach landscapes. Tianya Haijiao and Dadonghai are two well-known beaches. These places are ideal for lying on the soft beach under beautiful sunshine or walking through a coconut plantation under a clear blue sky.
Historical places such as the Hairui Tomb (Hairui [1514 – 1587] was a compassionate and popular officer during the Ming Dynasty) and the Wugong Temples in Haikou are also worth a visit.
Places of Interest
The Wugong Temples are located at the southeast part of Haikuo City. Wugong Temples is a complex of five traditional temples and halls. The buildings were built during the reign of Emperor Wanli of the Ming Dynasty to commemorate the five well-known officials of the Tang and Song dynasties.
The temple complex as seen today is a result of extensive restoration and extension work done through different dynasties. The extensions included gardens, ponds and pavilions.
The five temples forming the whole complex are the Wugong Temple, Songgong Temple, Guanjia Temple, Xuepu Temple, Wugong Jingshe and the Qiong Garden.
Inside the Wugong Temple is a stone tablet carved with unique Chinese calligraphy inscriptions of Emperor Huizong from the Song Dynasty.
Songgong Temple was built to commemorate Su Shi and his brother Su Zhe. Tablets of stones with inscriptions of his poems and essays were found here.
Today, the temple complex is a quiet place for couples and families to escape the city crowds.
Tainya Haijiao (literally ‘edge of the sky, rim of the sea’)
Twenty kilometers from the city is a somber-looking beach with clear water, coconut palms and grotesque rocks.
It was rumored that during the Tang and Song dynasties, disgraced officials were exiled to this piece of land. Upon seeing the vastness of the sky and the sea, people sent to this place believed they had reached the edge of the sky and the rim of the sea.
In recent years, this place has become a popular tourist spot where tourists arrive in waves each year. Other attractions here is the “Heavenly Pillar,” a pillar-shaped rock rising seven meters high. A Qing official inscribed four huge characters in the rock saying “Nan Tian Yi Zhu” meaning “Pillar of the Southern Heavens”. It was said in a myth that the pillar came from the Heavens to support the sky. To this day, locals look upon the rock with great reverence.
Asian Dragon Bay (Yalong Wan)
Found East of the city, this is considered the best beach in Sanya. It stretches for seven kilometers and the view of the beach is excellent and makes for wonderful promenading. It has become a popular tourist place all year round.
Standard hotel service can be easily found in the resort area. The Center Square in the resort provides parking, restaurants, shops, exhibitions and a recreation area. A museum with a large collection of seashells is also worth visiting. Fancy shell souvenirs sold here are popular gifts for family and friends back home.
Another place that should not be missed is the Butterfly Valley where a variety of butterfly species are preserved and propagated.