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Situated in the South China Sea near Vietnam, Hainan Island, hailed as "China's Hawaii," is being groomed by the government to become Asia's premier tourist destination by 2020. Already boasting China's best beaches, this tropical island has a long way to go to surpass Thailand, Malaysia, or Bali as the number one draw for sun-seeking vacationers, but the beaches at Sanya, on the southern tip of the island, already draw big crowds eager to party in China's "wild west." Dadong Beach, Sanya Bay, and Yalong Beach are popular resort spots, but Perfume Bay to the north is less crowded and provides plenty of snorkeling, swimming, scuba diving and ...

Situated in the South China Sea near Vietnam, Hainan Island, hailed as "China's Hawaii," is being groomed by the government to become Asia's premier tourist destination by 2020. Already boasting China's best beaches, this tropical island has a long way to go to surpass Thailand, Malaysia, or Bali as the number one draw for sun-seeking vacationers, but the beaches at Sanya, on the southern tip of the island, already draw big crowds eager to party in China's "wild west." Dadong Beach, Sanya Bay, and Yalong Beach are popular resort spots, but Perfume Bay to the north is less crowded and provides plenty of snorkeling, swimming, scuba diving and parasailing. From Sanya, it is easy to reach Nanwan Monkey Island, a refuge for thousands of Macaque monkeys, as well as Betel Nut Ethnic Memorial Park, where the Li and Miao minorities display their culture. Haikou, Hainan's capital to the north, is now connected by high-speed rail to Sanya, and boasts an interesting "Old Street." The 5-star Mission Hills Resort near Hailkou features Asia's largest spa and ten championship golf courses. Hainan's other lures include jungle and mountain hiking, coconut plantations, abalone farms, and ethnic minority villages such as those at Gusong and Wenchang.

J.D. Brown
About the Expert

J.D. Brown is a contributor to Frommer's China and Frommer's Beijing, coauthor of Frommer's China: The 50 Most Memorable Trips, Berlitz Shanghai, Berlitz Singapore, and other books.

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J.D. Brown for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Hainan Island is located in the South China Sea about an hours flight from Hong Kong
  • Language: Hainanese
  • Currency: Yuan
  • Research: Hainan | Hainan
  • Weather: Rainfall

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Avoid the stifling summer heat and monsoons. Late spring, late autumn, and winter are less humid.