From a place of exile to a sun-and-beach paradise, Hainan has it all. 流放地蜕变度假天堂,拥抱海南的阳光海滩.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

From a place of exile to a sun-and-beach paradise, Hainan has it all. 流放地蜕变度假天堂,拥抱海南的阳光海滩.

My Reading Room
My Reading Room

Hainan Island, China’s southernmost and smallest province off the coast of the mainland and across the Gulf of Tonkin from Vietnam, has been a place of exile for disgraced officials of Imperial China for thousands of years.

But just as Australia is now famous for its glittering beaches, so has Hainan shed its penal colony image and emerged as the beach destination for the Chinese middle class. Especially in vogue is the island’s southeastern coast – the Chinese Riviera –stretching from Haitang Bay, the newest beach under development in popular seaside resort town Sanya, to the quieter Perfume Bay in Lingshui Li Autonomous County, home to the indigenous Li tribes.

The entire area is very spread out, and cabs to and from various luxury hotel resorts to destinations will cost ¥100 to ¥200. Best ask the concierge to help you charter a private car for the day.


Visit the wet markets at Diyi Shichang (First Market), where residents go get all their live seafood, swimming and wriggling, from clams and cockles. Get a signature Sanya snack of baoluo noodles at one of the food stalls, an appetising spicy, sour rice noodle dish found only on Hainan. Thick, round spaghetti-shaped rice noodles are served in a surf and turf broth of sea whelks and pork bones, topped with peanuts, chilli paste, cilantro and tangy pickled cabbage. For something sweet, don’t forget to try the local qingbuliang – a deliciously cooling southern Chinese dessert soup of sweetened mung beans and coconut milk. The Hainanese version features nutritious quail eggs as well.

For a more substantial meal, purchase the fresh catch of the day and bring it to Meijie Chuanwei Seafood Jiagong, the area’s best seafood restaurant. They specialise in bold, spicy Sichuan flavours, but can cook your seafood in a variety of styles – steamed with ginger and scallion the Cantonese way, stir-fried with fermented black beans, or Shanghai style, red-cooked in sweet soy sauce.

Locals, expats and visitors alike all flock to Haiya Restaurant for authentic Hainanese cuisine. Hainan chicken rice was developed in Singapore by Hainanese immigrants, but its forerunner Wenchang chicken is served here. So are the other three of the island’s four famous dishes – Jiaji duck (only fed with tofu), Dongshan lamb, and Hele crab. Honestly, these Hainan classics are on the subtle (ie bland) side, so try some dishes featuring the indigenous herbs and mountain vegetables that make up the traditional diet of the local Li and Miao tribes. Winged beans (called sijiaodou or ‘four-angled beans’ locally) are a popular Hainan offering. They pack a delightful crunch when stir-fried with minced pork and pickled Chinese olive greens. Order a plate of coconut rice – grains steamed in an aromatic coconut shell – before they’re sold out.

Diyi Shichang: 155 Xinjian Street

Meijie Chuanwei Seafood Jiagong: 119 Xinmin Street; (86) 150 9191 5285

Haiya Restaurant: 138 Xinfeng Street, (86) 898 8827 6962,,


For an active water adventure, the area north of Sanya is blessed with mild surf breaks that even neophytes find accessible. While Daidonghai offers surfing as well, the touristy beach is generally overcrowded, and you’re likely to be in constant fear of crashing into swimmers. Head up to the quieter Riyuewan (Sun Moon Bay), 120km north of Sanya. It’s around an 80-minute drive along the Eastern Expressway from Haitang Bay – a commitment, but surfers will be rewarded. The ideal time is October to March, when the northeast swells deliver the best waves of the year. Waves do reach overhead occasionally, but are more than often comfortably waist-high. Riyue Bay Surf Club provides surf lessons as well as surfboard rentals with a good selection of shortboards, longboards and soft tops. The Surf Restaurant and Bar also has the best selection of imported beers on the island.

Riyue Bay Surf Club:; (86) 898-62254626;


Haitang Bay’s CDF Mall (China Duty Free Mall) boasts being the largest duty-free shopping complex in Asia, as well as strikingly modern architecture. Undulating eaves jut out dramatically from a forest of palms. Its design is inspired by the haitang, the fluorescent pink blooms of the begonia (Chinese flowering apple) – the symbol of Sanya. This three-storey luxury mall complex delivers 70,000 sqm of duty-free and duty-paid shopping amid its airy atriums, with all your high-end brand names, from Chanel to Rolex. Prices are astronomical, but when you need a respite from the sand and surf, there are few better ways to get your Sanya shopping on.

If you venture into touristy Dadonghai, you’ll notice a lot of signs in the Cyrillic alphabet. Here, you’ll find the Summer Mall, where Russians come blow their ruble on Gucci, Montblanc, Prada and Tissot.

CDF Mall: 118 Haitang Road North, Haitang Bay

Summer Mall: 1 Haiyun Road, Dadonghai;


The Nantian Hot Springs are surrounded by dancing palms and coconut trees. Approximately 67 pools bubble up through the bedrock with an average water temperature of 135 degrees. Engineered to provide a range of different experiences, pools are perfumed with coconut, ginseng or lavender. There are also traditional Chinese medicine-infused herbal soaks, refreshing waterfalls, cold-water dips and exfoliating ‘fish therapy’ pools full of tiny fish that nibble industriously at any exposed skin (please keep swimwear on). Entrance is ¥198, including lockers and towels, but do bring your own flip-flops for walking between pools. Additional spa and massage services are also available. Nantian stays open until midnight, so if your idea of a relaxing hot spring experience involves a certain degree of solitude, we recommend coming in later during the evening.

Nantian Hot Springs: Haitangwan Town; (86) 898 8881 9886


Raffles Hainan has the finest beach in the whole of China, a gentle sandy crescent stretching out infinitely across the crystalline Clearwater Bay. Named Best Resort on Condé Nast Traveler magazine’s Gold List 2016, the exquisitely appointed hotel and its landscaped tropical gardens are a veritable oasis of luxury. Other five-star properties on the island may suffer the unfortunate onslaught of tuhao tourists during peak seasons, but Raffles Hainan’s 200 well designed rooms, 99 spacious suites, 32 private villas and the sprawling, manicured grounds make for the perfect tropical sanctuary. Attention to detail is also a godsend for hotels in China where customer service may lamentably not take precedence. The spa is a tranquil haven featuring the ethereal essential oils and plant extracts of Aromatherapy Associates. Two world-class golf courses with are right by the resort, as well as one of the largest marinas on the island for yachting.

Raffles Hainan: Clearwater Bay Avenue, Yingzhou Town, Lingshui County; (86) 898 8338 9888;


Yanoda (‘one two three’ in the Hainan dialect) Rainforest Cultural Tourism Zone is 45sqkm of verdant jungle rated a 5A-scenic spot in China, which means there will be daily legions of Chinese tourists. Ask your hotel to set you up with a car to get you there at 8am sharp when the park opens to avoid the crowds. Packing a picnic to skip the lunch lines at the restaurants will also keep you sane. Entrance is ¥170 per person, and a bus (an optional ¥40) takes visitors to the starting point with a splendid view of Chitian Reservoir. From then on, it’s a 40-minute hike up the forest valley on wooden paths. For adrenaline junkies, there’s light abseiling (¥100), a zip line (¥70), plus plank roads alongside cliffs, ropeways and suspension bridges across running rivers and cascading waterfalls. Some of the botanical sights – intertwining vines and majestic 1,000-year-old trees growing naturally around rocks – are breathtaking to behold. Remember to prearrange transportation back from the park, as few taxis pass by.

Yanoda: Hainan Yanoda Rainforest Cultural Zone; (86) 8388 3333;


A sprawling 40,000sqm park, Nanshan Buddhist Cultural Zone is dotted with splendid shrines and pavilions, including a neat Nepalese style temple. The world’s tallest statue of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara – popularly known as the ‘Goddess of Mercy’ or Guanyin in Chinese – stands there serenely by the scintillating South China Sea. Taller than the Statue of Liberty at 354 feet, this sedate symbol of Hainan Island is truly monumental against the the azure ocean as a backdrop. Take a buggy out to the vicinity of the statue – a remarkable spot for photo opportunities of the expansive coastline – as it’ll be quite a staggering walk under the searing sun. Go early during the day (westward on the G98 highway) and allot three hours to cover most of the sites. And be sure to have a delicious Buddhist vegetarian lunch featuring the island’s indigenous mountain herbs and wild mushrooms. Take advantage of the free guides (you only pay ¥150 for entry).

Nanshan Buddhist Cultural Zone: Nanshancun, Yacheng Town; (86) 898 8883 7888;


History buffs would love the Yazhou Ancient Town. Once the political hub of Hainan, this quiet 1,000-year-old town at the periphery of the Chinese Empire was where exiled mandarins from the mainland established their new households. The original city walls and the edifices are eerily arresting in their crumbling glory. Hire a professional guide (¥600 per day) from Caddie of Sunny Sanya if you want a more in-depth cultural tour. They’ll take care of transportation, and even arrange lunch with a local family.

Yazhou: Yacheng Town Sunny Sanya: (86) 1380 7535 200; caddie@; (86) 1380 7535 200;

My Reading Room
Opening page: Sanya’s lush greenery. Opposite page: looking out to the marina. This page:
Raffles Hainan 首页:三亚的茂密绿林。对页:遥望码头。本页:海南雅居乐莱佛士酒店
Opening page: Sanya’s lush greenery. Opposite page: looking out to the marina. This page: Raffles Hainan 首页:三亚的茂密绿林。对页:遥望码头。本页:海南雅居乐莱佛士酒店

海南是中国最南方,面积最小的省份,位于中国大陆南方海岸对开, 隔北部湾与越南相望。海南的地埋位置偏远,让它在古代成为中原 朝廷流放官员的地方之一。

这个地区幅员辽阔,从各家度假酒店到各个景点,打的的话可能需 要100到200人民币。最好能够请酒店的礼宾部为您包车,就可以在整天 轻松出游。


第一市场是当地居民采购新鲜海产的首选,各种鲜活海产,包括蛤哩,鸟 蛤等鲜贝类应有尽有。在这里一定要尝试的还有三亚的特色小吃抱罗粉, 这种酸辣米粉小吃用上了寛圆的米粉条,搭配用海螺和猪骨熬制的汤头, 佐以花生,辣椒酱,香菜和酸菜,令人回味无穷。嗜甜的朋友就要试试地 道的清补凉,这道南方特色的凉甜汤以甜绿豆和椰奶制作,海南的清补凉 还会加入营养丰富的鹌鹑蛋。

如果需要填饱肚子的话,可以在市场买好新鲜海产,然后带到当地 最好的海鲜餐厅梅姐川味海鲜加工店。顾名思义,他们最有名的是辣劲 的四川口味,但粤式的姜葱蒸,豉椒炒或者沪式红烧也是他们拿手的烹 调手法。

当地人,侨民和旅客都喜欢到海亚菜厅品尝地道的海南菜闻名世界 的海南鸡饭其实是移民到新加坡的海南人发明的;在这里吃到的是海南 鸡的原型 - 文昌鸡除了文昌鸡以外,您也可以在这里吃到海南四大名菜 的其余三款:只喂豆腐的加积鸭,东山羊和和乐蟹老实说,海南菜一般 都偏清淡,所以如果想要更丰富的口味,也可以试试用地道香草和山菜 制作的黎族和苗族菜色。四角豆在本地很受欢迎。以肉末和榄菜干煸, 可以带出它的爽脆口感。最后不得不尝的当然还有把糯米放进椰子里蒸 熟,香味四溢的椰子饭。


梅姐川味海鲜加工店:新民街124号; (86) 150 9191 5285

海亚餐厅:新民街138号; (86) 898 8827 6962,


三亚北面一带的浪头高度适中,是新手老手都会喜欢的冲浪好地点。大东 海的海滩也可以冲浪,不过那边游客很多,您也不想撞到他们吧。您可以 选择去比较远一点,但是人比较少的日月湾。从三亚沿海南东线高速往北 走120公里,80分钟的车程是有点远,但是绝对值得。最好的时间是10月 到3月,东北风将会为您送上一整年里最好的浪头。浪头的高度有时会过 头,但通常都只会到腰。日月湾冲浪俱乐部提供冲浪教学课程和长板, 短板,软板等多种冲浪板出租。俱乐部附设的冲浪餐吧提供多种进口啤 酒,让您享受无尽夏日。

日月湾冲浪俱乐部; (86) 898-62254626;


三亚国际免税城位于海棠湾,独特的现代建筑设计概念来自三亚的象征 海棠花。波浪形的屋顶在一片棕榈树林中尤其瞩目。商场楼高三层,面 积七万平方米,是全亚洲最大的免税商场。您在这里可以找到香奈儿,劳 力士等海外著名品牌,以免税或完税的方式销售。价格当然还是惊天动地 的,但是如果您已经看腻了海浪沙滩,这里就是您在三亚购物的好去处。

在挤满游客的大东海有很多西里尔字母的招牌 - 在这里的三亚夏日 百货,您可以看到俄国人在古驰,万宝龙,普拉达和天梭专卖店里狂花 他们带来的卢布。

三亚国际免税城:海棠湾海棠北路 118号; (86) 400 699 6956

三亚夏日百货:大东海海韵路1号; (86) 898 8822 3333;


被椰林树影包围的南田温泉度假区拥有67个不同的岩石涌泉,泉源平均水 温为135度。客人可以体验各种特色温泉,包括椰子,人参,薰衣草等,还 有中草药浸泡,瀑布淋浴,冷水池和让小鱼儿食掉脚上死皮的「鱼疗」等 (请记得穿上泳装)。入场费198元人民币,包括租用寄物柜和毛巾,但需 要自备拖鞋。度假区还提供水疗及按摩服务。营业时间到午夜12点,如果 希望能够宁静地享受这里的温泉,我们建议您可以晚一点来。

南田温泉度假区:海棠湾镇; (86) 898 8881 9886


海南雅居乐莱佛士酒店毗连全中国最顶级的海滩清水湾;半月形海滩上的细 滑幼沙闪烁动人酒店于2016年被康泰纳仕悦游杂志金榜评选为最佳度假酒 店;它精心的设计和细致的绿园让它成为一个奢华的度假绿洲。海南岛上的 其他五星级度假酒店在旺季可能会受到土豪们的进占,但莱佛士酒店拥有 200间精心设计的房间,99间宽敞套房,32间私人别墅,加上广阔的花园 绿地,可以说是名副其实的热带乐园。部份中国酒店对顾客服务没有很重 视。在这方面,莱佛士酒店的杰出表现,证明酒店对每一个细节都非常讲 究酒店的水疗中心惬意宁静,并由Aromatherapy Associates提供让人身心 舒泰的精油与植物精华。酒店旁有两个世界级高尔夫球场,还有海南岛上 其中一个规模最大的游艇码头。

海南雅居乐莱佛士酒店:陵水黎族自治县英州镇清水湾大道; (86) 898 8338 9888;


呀诺达雨林文化旅游区(「呀诺达「是海南方言」一二三」的意思)拥有 45平方公里的翠绿丛林,为国家5A级景区,游客络绎不绝。我们建议您 与酒店安排包车,早上8点正准时到达园区正门,避开稍后涌进的人潮。 预先准备在园内野餐,也可以避免在餐厅与人群正面交锋。入场费170元 人民币,可以乘坐观光车(40元)到步道起点欣赏赤田水库景观,然后 用40分钟沿铺木步道穿过丛林山谷上山。好动的游客可以挑战踏瀑(100 元),高空滑索(70元),并探索悬崖栈道,和穿过河流和瀑布上方的索 道和吊桥。生态蓬勃的蔓藤和依石而立的千年古树也同样值得观赏。园区 正门出租车不多,建议提早安排回程交通。

呀诺达雨林文化旅游区:(86) 898 8388 3333;;


南山文化旅游区面积达四万平方米,寺庙楼阁棋布,当中更有一家寺院 更以尼泊尔风格建造。全球最高的观音像背对着南中国海耸立于此。巍 然的观音像高354英尺,比自由女神像更高,以蔚蓝碧海为背景,是海南 的象征之一我们建议您租一辆越野车前往观音像一带—— 辽阔的海岸线是 拍照的好地方,但是在炽热的阳光下,步行游览会很吃力。一大早出发, 沿G98高速公路往西走,预留大约三个小时参观所有景点。午餐可以在园 区享用利用海南当地出产的山菜和野菌制作的素菜宴。区内有免费导游, 入场费150元人民币。

南山文化旅游区:崖城镇南山村; (86) 898 8883 7888;;


喜欢历史文化的朋友一定要到崖州古城参观。这个宁静的千年古城曾经是 海南的政治中心,位于中国疆土的边陲,是不少被流放于此的官员建立新 家园的地方。古城原有的围墙与建筑物弥漫着往昔的氛围。如果有兴趣深 入探索这个古城的文化,可以找Sunny Sanya的Caddie,为您安排专业导 游,交通,还可以在古城内的民家午餐(一天600元人民币)。

崖州古城:崖城镇 Sunny Sanya:(86) 1380 7535 200;; caddie@sunnysanya. com;

Opposite page: Yanoda Rainforest Cultural Tourism Zone. This page: surfing at Riyuewan
Opposite page: Yanoda Rainforest Cultural Tourism Zone. This page: surfing at Riyuewan 对页:呀诺达热带雨林景区。本页:在日月湾冲浪