The Tropical Island
Hainan is China 's smallest province in terms of land area of 33,900 square kilometres and a sea area of 2,1 million square kilometres; it is the largest province when factoring in the area covered in the South China Sea. Hainan Island is the main land body of the province and the second largest island of China , following Taiwan . Hainan enjoys a tropical location, situated across the Qiongzhou strait from mainland China 's Leizhou Peninsula to the north and across the North Sea from Vietnam to the west.Hainan is said to be one of the purest Islands that has not been polluted like many others and abounds in tropical specials and many tourist attractions. The island is believed to be part of China´s Leizhou Peninsula 500,000 years ago. The human activity here has a long history tracing back 6,000 years. Hainan is a multi-ethnic province, with 37 different ethnic groups living on the island. Of these, the Han people are the most populous, followed by the Li, Miao, and Hui minorities. The Li and Miao have the longest history in Hainan. On Hainan Island, people of different nationalities live in harmony. Their cultural life is varied and colourful and features lots of simple customs. Like people in other parts of China, they enjoy the Spring Festival, the Lantern Festival and the Dragon Boat Festival. Hainan is attractive to many tourists not only for its beautiful natural scenery, but also for its excellent food. Food in Hainan , especially the sea food, is featured by its freshness, richness and reasonably low prices.
If you take the ferry to Hainan from mainland China , you will arrive in the city of Haikou . Haikou , which means seaport in Chinese, is the capital of Hainan Province and the centre of the Haifu metropolitan area, consisting of Haikou , Fucheng, and Qiongshan. Haikou is the domicile of the provincial government and the Haifu area is the cultural and historic centre. Although not as well known to foreign tourists, the Haifu area has plenty to offer, including attractions such as Holiday Beach , Volcano Crater National Park , Mangrove Swamps and numerous historic sites.
The eastern part of Hainan includes the cities of Wenchang, Qionghai with Boao, where annually the International Asia Forum takes place, and Wanning, as well as the counties of Dingan and Lingshui. The eastern seashore is a hotspot for every tourist to Hainan because of its beautiful scenery. Close your eyes and picture crystal clear blue waters, pure white sand beaches, the warm sunshine with coconut trees along the beach and you are halfway to this tropical paradise. And don't forget to visit Xinglong Hot Springs and Tropical Gardens, as well as Nanwan's Macaques Island.
While most tourists travel to Hainan for its wonderful beaches, the mountainous central part is in many ways the most fascinating area of the island and the most rewarding destination for the more adventurous tourist. The picturesque central mountains are home to the Li and Miao minorities, the original settlers of the island, and the cultures on which modern Hainan's style is founded. Each village has its own customs and local festivals offer visitors the opportunity to glimpse the ancient ways of the mountains, such as bamboo rice and Shanlan rice wine. The central portion of Hainan includes the counties of Tunchang, Baisha, Qiongzhong, and Baoting, and the city of Tongza (Wuzhishan City). If you want to see what Hainan was like centuries ago, a trip to the mountains is a must.
The Western Island is for tourists looking for adventure: from exploring the tropical forests to mountain climbing, biking, hiking, camping, fishing and many other outdoor excursions, the Western Island allows you to get away from the crowds and explore on your own. The west coast of Hainan is comprised of the counties of Chengmai, Lingao, Changjiang, Baisha and Ledong, and the city of Danzhou. In the past years only few visitors travelled to the western part of the island because of difficulties in transportation. But with the opening of the Western Expressway more tourists are visiting this area of Hainan. Many of the tropical forests have been completely preserved, making them wonderful places for sightseeing and enjoying the natural beauty of the island as it was centuries ago.
The southern part of Hainan, with the City of Sanya as its focal point, is the scenic highlight of the island. Overlooking the ocean, it is often referred to as "The Hawaii of Asia". And rightly so: With crystal clear waters and white sandy beaches, Sanya truly is a tropical paradise. Sanya boasts azure waters, gentle trade winds, beautiful beaches, brilliant sunshine and is rich in natural tropical scenery and historic sites. Sanya's tourist attractions include Yalong Bay National Holiday Resort, Dadonghai Tourist Zone, The End of the Earth, Luhuitou Park , Nanshan Buddhist Monestary and Park, Wuzhizhou Island , the Ancient City of Yazhou, Shuinan Village , West Island , the Loubidong Caverns and Muslim tombs built in the Tang & Song Dynasties. Sanya is also one of the island's main transportation hubs. Phoenix International Airport , located just outside the city, is the second largest in the province, offering numerous flights to domestic and foreign destinations.
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