A Beautiful Tropical Island Tucked Away in China

Located in the South China Sea, Hainan Island is China’s largest ocean island. (Image: wikimedia / CC0 1.0)
Located in the South China Sea, Hainan Island is China’s largest ocean island. (Image: wikimedia / CC0 1.0)

Looking for a new Asian getaway destination during the summer? Look no further! Check out one of the largest islands in China — Hainan. Here are some of the things to know about the “Hawaii of China.” 

Located in the South China Sea, Hainan Island is China’s largest ocean island. Since Hainan is the only tropical province in the country, it is the perfect destination for tourists and locals to beat the cold. Aside from white sandy beaches, this oval-shaped island is packed with other tropical features.

It is blessed with hills and tablelands that end in narrow coastlines filled with harbors and bays. Rivers and streams stretch into the open sea like veins. Since the island is often equated with Hawaii, the Chinese government believes it has the potential to compete with other summer destinations in the world.

Various hotels and attractions dot Hainan, and since Hainan is categorized as a Special Economic Zone (SEZ), business owners gain perks for investing and building properties on the island. With gifted geography and climate, Hainan is only a few steps away from global recognition. In fact, the Chinese government has developed a plan to put Hainan Province in the forefront of the international tourism scene by 2020.

Hainan Island is blessed with hills and tablelands that end in narrow coastlines filled with harbors and bays. (Image: publicdomainpicturers.net / CC0 1.0)

Hainan Island is blessed with hills and tablelands that end in narrow coastlines filled with harbors and bays. (Image: publicdomainpicturers.net / CC0 1.0)

What makes Hainan famous?

Sanya is one of Hainan’s top beach holiday destinations. It is the main source of attraction for beachgoers with white sand, pristine water, and blue skies. For those looking for long fun days on the beach and wild parties at night, Dadonghai is the place to crash. Yalong Bay, with its far more relaxed and static feel, is the area for those wanting to relax, unwind, and play watersports.

But the beauty of Sanya is more than its beaches. Surrounding this city are rainforests worthy of exploration. Filled with the island’s most precious wildlife wonders and activities for both pro hikers and hikers-at-heart, travelers will see a different face of Sanya when they experience the rainforest. Of course, there are tons of hotels and restaurants to cater for every type of customer, ranging from budget-friendly offerings to over-the-top luxury.

Rich in stories and culture

Long before locals and foreigners crowded Hainan, the Li, Miao, and Hui ethnic group had settled here. They contributed to the island’s culture, architecture, music, arts, and lore. Various night performances showcasing the arts of these ethnic groups offer a window to their rich history. Travelers can also get a first-hand experience of the ethnic groups’ celebratory traditions by joining in the Sanyuesan Festival on the third day of the 3rd Lunar month of the Chinese calendar.

A 19th-century map of Hainan Island. (Image: wikimedia / CC0 1.0)

A 19th-century map of Hainan Island. (Image: wikimedia / CC0 1.0)

What people like about Hainan is that it retains the “island” spirit despite modernization. Unlike other parts of China, Hainan Island offers a respite from the hustle and bustle of the mainland with its laid-back yet energetic atmosphere. Trees thrive in the island’s capital, Haikou. And of course, Sanya, the talk of the town, is the key destination for people looking for lazing on the beach. No one knows what the effect of rapid development might bring to Hainan. But as of now, this is a destination that is worthy of being called the “Hawaii of Asia.”

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