Saturday, April 13, 2013

Travel destinations: The East Coast, Hainan Province, China

The East Coast of Hainan Province is a wonderful place to spend a week or two when you are travelling through China and are in need of some relaxing time. Picture palm lined beaches, bays that stretch as far as the eye can see, and beautiful headlands and you are at the East Coast. Although the towns are not as exciting as the beaches, they are still wonderful places to visit.

About 60km south of Wencheng, Qionghai is the famous place where the first Chinese communist cell was formed back in 1924. Carry on south for about 50km is Wanning and then another 23km to Xinglong. This is the home to more than 20,000 Chinese-Vietnamese and Chinese from overseas (especially from Indonesia or Malaysia) who established the Xinglong Overseas Chinese Farm (Xinglong Huaqiao Cun) where they have now settled. You will find these Chinese dressing up in Southeast Asia costumes and show visitors a range of different tropical agricultural techniques, including coffee – Xinglong coffee is famous throughout China as well as being the transsexual capital of China.

Shimei Bay (Shimei Wan) is the first place you should start when arriving in Hainan’s East Coast. This is a beautiful stretch of coast that still remains unscarred by commercialization that you get in the Sanya area. This beautiful beach is lined with palm trees and is mostly deserted so most of the time you have this gorgeous beach all to yourself.

Shimei town is largely undeveloped but this will not always be the case, so enjoy it while you can. Shimei Bay is also a great place to surf; you can see some local and expat surfers catching the waves but the chances are that you will only see fishermen. However, as surfing becomes more popular in China, Shimei Bay is set to become the best place to go.

Lingshui and Monkey Island are other great places on the East Coast. Lingshui itself is the oldest settlement on Hainan but visitors really come here to visit Monkey Island, the home of a number of Guangxi monkeys. There is a government wildlife research centre here to observe them and this is a great place to relax and enjoy yourself.

The monkeys here are very tame and will want you to feed them snacks of peanuts which you can buy. Just remember to keep your cameras and your valuables safe at all times – these monkeys think that they are photographers!

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