Say Hello to Hainan

Say Hello to Hainan
By admin


It may not be well known on the international tourist map, but nor were Hawaii or Thailand once upon a time. Vicki Validakis comes up with five good reasons for your clients to visit China's very own slice of tropical bliss – the island of Hainan

PARADISE MINUS THE CROWDS
While Hainan is popular with the Chinese, the rest of the world is still catching on, which means your clients can enjoy its many pristine beaches without having to face hordes of tourists. With year-round warm weather, the island's hub of Sanya is the best place to experience the glorious coastline. Lying at the southernmost tip of its territory, it's home to more than 20 beaches.
There are all the usual leisure and relaxation options in Sanya, like shopping at the local markets and sipping on cocktails by the beach, as well activities like snorkelling, diving, parasailing and boating.
Many hotels can be found on Hainan – the Sheraton, the Mandarin Oriental and Le Meridien are just a few options. But there are also mid-range and budget accommodation options for those keeping a close eye on the purse strings.

BEACH MEETS RAINFOREST
While Sanya offers beautiful beaches to the south, just a short trip north they can discover lush green peaks. The Wuzhishan Mountains cover an area of 860 square kilometres and are considered to be the symbol of Hainan Island, with their exquisite hiking trails and wildlife including monkeys, butterflies and wild boar.
Visitors can try activities like hiking, kayaking and mountain bike riding. And after such pursuits, they can ease into the beautiful hot springs near Sanya and let the water work its magic. Those up for something different at the hot springs can try the Turkish Fish Treatment, which involves lying in a large pool and having a whole body exfoliation – as fish nibble away at your dead skin cells.

CAPTIVATING CULTURE
Steeped in 3000 years of history, Hainan offers visitors a rich and rewarding cultural experience. The indigenous Li people who reside here are known for their phenomenal weaving skills, religious practices and many amazing traditional festivals. Visiting the Li-Miao village located 30km from Sanya is a must for any visitor, as it offers a great chance to observe the Li people's traditional way of life. Some visitors may like to pick up a souvenir of a hand-crafted silk weaving or perhaps even participate in a traditional wedding. Also close to Sanya is the Nanshan Buddhist Cultural Zone, with its beautiful temples and landscapes.

THE FRESHEST OF DINING 
With heavily laden fishermen arriving at the port every day, tourists can expect a fresh and delectable array of seafood to be on offer when visiting Hainan. Whether sampling a local vendor's offerings or eating at one of the many restaurants, diners can enjoy oysters, crab, abalone, prawns and fresh fish – all served up with a distinct Chinese twist and incorporating the authentic flavours and spices of Hainan.
For a memorable eating experience, head to the Chunyuan Seafood Stall in Sanya where you first purchase the seafood, then choose where and how you want it cooked from over 40 private stalls. Dining in Hainan remains inexpensive and Sanya has an array of traditional Chinese restaurants, serving up local specialties like Wenchang chicken and Jiaji duck.

CHEEKY MONKEYS
Another highlight of a visit to Hainan is Nanwan Monkey Island. The only ocean-facing natural monkey reserve in China, it's home to over 1500 of the creatures who dwell in an expansive area of shrubbery, free from the confines of traditional zoos. The island is accessed by a 2140 metre long over-sea ropeway that offers beautiful views of the ocean and fishing boats. 

Email the Travel Weekly team at traveldesk@travelweekly.com.au

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