Mention China and the first cities that come to mind would probably be the bustling cosmopolitan cities of Beijing, Shanghai and more. But if you’re looking to explore a different side of China, then Hainan is the perfect place to kick-start your adventure. Located at the southernmost point of China, Hainan is an island province that boasts idyllic beaches, turquoise waters, and majestic views all around. Not convinced yet? Here’s a 5D4N itinerary that will tempt you into visiting Hainan for the first time!
Welcome to Hainan! After your 4 hour long flight, recharge yourself with a quick tea fix at Guo Xin Shu Fan (国新书范)! Here, you’ll be transported to a world filled with all the teas you could ever imagine! If you’re a tea lover, you will definitely be drowning in happiness here. Immerse yourself in Haikou’s rich tea culture, and explore the entire building of Guo Xin Shu Fan. The first floor houses a library, the second an art gallery, and the third a traditional teahouse. Go wild and sip on all kinds of teas. Don’t forget to bring some home to remember Hainan by!
Image credit: Kaurjmeb
After that, time travel back in time at Qilou Old Street. Imagine yourself as one of the locals as you stroll through this culture-rich street. Did you know that this street dates back to a whopping 2000 years ago? Talk about living to a ripe old age. Here, you will find that buildings have been preserved throughout the years, and the architecture is greatly inspired by a mix of European and Asian influences. It’s truly a sight to behold. If you’re adventurous enough, we suggest walking through the little alleys and making spontaneous turns was you wander around. Remember to take some Insta-worthy shots here along grungy alleyways, or along the baroque styled doors and windows!
For dinner, indulge in the famous Hainanese Chicken Rice and see how it compares to the ones in Singapore! Other must-try dishes are the Wenchang Chicken (which inspired the Hainanese Chicken Rice), Jiaji Duck, and Dongshan Mutton, which can all be found along Qilou food street.
Image credit: Jake Canning
Wake up bright and early to visit thousand-year-old caverns at 72 Caves, and Rong Tang village – an entire village handcrafted out of volcanic rocks located right at the entrance of 72 Caves! Take bus 1 from the Evergreen Park Bus Station (万绿园) to Volcano Park Stop (火山口). After alighting, you can either take a 2.5km hike or flag down a cab to Rong Tang Village.
You will know you’re there when you see a group of grandmothers gathered in front of a village. It is customary to prepare 2 yuan (~SGD$0.42) for the grandmothers. Go through the village to get to 72 Caves. We recommend wearing hiking shoes and bringing along sunscreen and plenty of water. This will be the perfect opportunity to disconnect from city life and really immerse yourself in the beauty nature has to offer.
After the walk, cool down with fresh coconuts by the sea at Dongjiao Coconut Plantation. If you’re up for more activities, you can rent a bicycle and ride through the plantations. Otherwise, you can also opt to stroll along endless silver sands, and pick some seashells. If you’re hungry, fret not! You can find the freshest seafood here. Pick your favourite catch straight from fishing boats, and ask the restaurants to cook them for you! Get an authentic glimpse of the rural Hainan village life through all these activities at the charming Dongjiao Coconut Plantation.
Image credit: Anna Frodesiak
Start your morning with a hot bowl of the local’s favourite Hainan Breakfast noodles topped with meat sauce, roasted peanuts, and bamboo strips at Qiong Cai Wang Cuisine Restaurant. You can’t say you’ve been to Hainan if you haven’t tried out their local breakfast staple!
After that, take a 4-hour coach ride to the beautiful city of Sanya. Enjoy rustic views of Hainan’s countryside, and snap some amazing photos for keepsake. We recommend downloading film camera apps to give your photos an extra “olden day” vibe.
Head to Sanya Bay, one of the three major beaches on the island for a good dose of tropical sunshine, sand, and sea as you admire the sparkling aquamarine waters before your eyes. Quieter and less commercialized as compared to Yalong and Haitang Bay, it’s the perfect place to escape bustling crowds and just soak in the beauty of Sanya’s scenery. A paved road known as the Coconut Dream Corridor runs along the beach, where you can take a leisurely stroll during sunset and watch as the sky is lit ablaze with a myriad of colours.
End your day with a trip to either Sanya First Market or Jiafeng Food Street to indulge in scrumptious local street food. Succulent barbecued seafood can also be found here, along with ice cream, seafood porridge, meat skewers, and more! You will definitely be spoilt for choice. Sneak in some retail therapy too, if you want to!
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Just 30km northeast of Sanya, in Haitang Bay lays Wuzhizhou Island. Take a 10-minute boat ride from Wuzhizhou Wharf, and spend a day here exploring the island! It boasts various interesting spots such as the Lover’s Bridge, Sunrise Rock, and the Life Well. The island offers various water sports activities including parasailing, jet skiing and even scuba-diving as well!
If you’re not much of an adrenaline junkie, opt for a tanning session at the beach, go for a swim, or frolick along the shores of White Beach. There’s a reason why it’s been coined China’s very own Maldives. Hotels are available on the island if you want to stay the night! Wake up before dawn the next morning to catch the breathtaking sunrise at Sunrise Rock. We promise it will be worth the trip to Wuzhizhou Island.
Image credit: (top) Hostage820 (bottom left) David Schroeter (bottom right) llee_wu
Head back to Sanya Island, and relish in Sanya’s culture at Nanshan Temple, located in the Nanshan Culture Tourism Zone. Amidst the impressive architecture, you will find throngs of people coming to worship the statues of Guan Yin Ma and Buddha. Feel free to join in, and soak up the atmosphere too! Once you’re done, explore the other parks such as Blessing and Longevity Park, and the Hainan Custom Culture Park.
If you’re hungry, feast on some of the best vegetarian food while watching orchestral and kung fu performances. Entrance fee to the Nanshan Culture Tourism Zone is 150 yuan (~SGD31.33) for adults and 78 yuan (~SGD16.29) for children. If you want to deepen your understanding and appreciation of Buddhism, or experience how the Li and Miao ethnic minorities lead their lives, then be sure to visit the Nanshan Culture Tourism Zone!
That brings us to the end of this exciting Hainan itinerary! While these are only 2 cities out of the many in Hainan, we are sure that you will be awed by everything Hainan has to offer.