Personal Note: A friend used to work for a big international hotel on the island but quit his job! If I have a chance, I will visit the island…it is become one of the hot tourist destinations in mainland China. Peace, steve, usa, November 20 firstname.lastname@example.org https://getting2knowyou-china.com
Visit Sanya, HAINAN ISLAND, is a tropical paradise
Bright sunshine, gorgeous beaches, luxury resorts and more. Whether it’s a romantic getaway, a family holiday or a business trip, Sanya is the perfect tropical paradise.
Beyond its status as China’s tropical paradise, Sanya is also host to a fascinating indigenous culture and dramatic landscapes.
With four major bays, miles of pearly white sand and clear waters, Sanya is rightly celebrated as China’s beach holiday hotspot. But once you step away from the shore, you’ll soon realise there’s much more to the southern coast of Hainan Island than sun, sea and surf.
From folk customs to fantastic food, the rich culture of Hainan has been shaped largely by its various inhabitants, such as the Li and Miao people. The Li in particular are some of the island’s earliest settlers, dating back to the Neolithic period, and their fascinating culture is preserved at attractions like the Binglanggu•Hainan Li & Miao Cultural Heritage Park.
Half an hour inland is Binglanggu (which translates to betel nut valley), a dense, lush corridor of forest traditionally home to Li and Miao villages. Here you can see their boat-shaped houses clinging to the steep-sided valley.
In their daily life on the island, Li people dress much like everybody else, but at the Binglanggu•Hainan Li & Miao Cultural Heritage Park in the valley, their unique sartorial style is on show for all to see. Hainan is considered one of the cradles of China’s textiles industry, and the Li people are its undisputed master weavers. The ancient techniques on display at these exhibitions include the processing of tree bark into stiff, non-woven fabric (still preserved in one or two remote Li villages), and the spinning of helm and ‘dragon quilts’.
Dragon quilts are vital cultural artefacts for Li clans, handed down through generations and used for various cultural rituals. The finest dragon quilts were a tribute to the emperor as far back as the Han dynasty (206 BC–220 AD). Emblazoned with intricate designs of clouds, dragons, phoenixes and other esoteric symbols, they are still being made today – the world’s largest, woven in 2006, is on display at Binglanggu•Hainan Li & Miao Cultural Heritage Park, together with faded examples from former dynasties. As a whole, the various Li textile techniques have been given the status of UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage.
A veritable catwalk of costumes is on display at ‘Areca Ancient Rhyme’, a spectacular, open-air stage show that traverses the history and myths of both the Li and Miao people, with all performers recruited from villages in and around the valley. Sip a dragon fruit juice as you enjoy traditional bamboo-pole dancing, nose flutes, spinning tops, and other vibrant aspects of Hainan’s unique cultural tapestry.
The rainforest landscape of Sanya has helped shape the customs and culture of the island’s people. This includes the abundance of fibrous plants like wild hemp and cotton for weaving, to the bamboo used in the Li’s famous dance. Nowhere is this landscape more picturesque and accessible than at the Yanoda Rainforest, a 45 square kilometre natural attraction within a larger protected forest habitat. Whether you’re searching for rare jungle orchids and ancient banyan trees on forest hiking trails, or flying through the jungle canopy on one of Asia’s longest zip-line courses, there’s something to thrill everyone. But if you really want to scale new heights, take a few brave steps out over the Waailu Glass Viewing Platform. This remarkable structure extends 131 metres out over the landscape, offering sensational views of the rainforest far below as it cascades down to the coast.
To cap off your rainforest odyssey, a fresh Hainan coconut juice is the perfect pick-me-up. For many visitors, the abundance of tropical fruit grown in Hainan is an attraction in itself. The No.1 Agricultural Products Market in downtown Sanya is a feast for fruit fans, hawking everything from alien-like rambutan with wriggly spines to enormous jackfruit, the largest tree-borne fruit in the world (some can weigh up to 45kg). The market is also a delicious spot to sample Hainan’s array of local street food, like Wenchang chicken, a dish of marinated and boiled meat made with local free-range birds that munch on banyan seeds and are prized for their white flesh. Hele crab, fresh from the boat, can be bought at market prices and cooked at any of the surrounding restaurants, steamed with ginger, garlic and vinegar. Or you can grab an express bowl of Hainan rice noodles, an alleyway favourite cut through with the sour tang of pickled bamboo shoots.
Of course, you could just stay put on your beach towel, order a tropical juice and read another few chapters of your book, enjoying the best of Sanya’s famous beach life. But that would be to miss out on the fascinating cultural riches of this special corner of China, stretching back through the dynasties to antiquity, and the single biggest treasure of all – its people.