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Haikou is a fairly large tropical coastal city. Haikou has a different vibe to many cities on the
Chinese mainland. The tropical climate is probably a major influence on the laid-back

Unlike Sanya, Hainan Island's tourist destination of choice, the provincial capital of Haikou
remains something of a well-kept secret. Pleasant broad palm-lined streets, French colonial
architecture, Tang and Song Dynasty monuments and memorials all make for an attractive
backdrop to the everyday hustle and bustle of life in this port, with Han mainland immigrants
mixing it up with Li and Miao ethnicities.

The local Hainanese man has a reputation for being somewhat lazy and can be seen sleeping
in the street during the afternoon and then playing cards with friends until the small hours of the
night. Silk pajamas can be seen worn during the day and add to the atmosphere. You will not
be hassled to buy anything which makes a refreshing change to more touristy cities.

Many streets in Haikou are quite different during the day compared to the evening. Local favorites are BBQ stalls which serve cheap local beer till
late. You will soon notice the abundance of coconut trees within Haikou. Most streets are lined with them. Its greener than most Chinese cities and
has decent air quality.

Haikou's off-the-beaten-path allure is heightened by the fact that it's an excellent point of departure for explorations of the rest of Hainan. Head east
toward Wenchang or southeast to Qionghai and continue down East Hainan's South China Sea beach-laced coastline toward Sanya. Travel south
into the heart of the island and the highland peaks of Wuzhi Shan and Qizhi Shan. Try the less-traveled western route toward Dongfang and curling
around toward the Jianfeng Ling Forest Reserve.

Outside the city center, there are a few pleasant day trips providing a break from the intense
heat in the city during the summer months. Holiday Beach is clean with good facilities and the
Red Forest Reserve in Qiongshan county, makes another pleasant day trip from Haikou. All in
all however, there isn’t really much to keep travelers here for more than a couple of days and,
once you have gathered your thoughts, baggage and got yourself accustomed to the relaxed
atmosphere prevalent here, you’ll be ready to move on.


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