Hainan Island is the Hawaii of China, a large tropical island in the South China Sea lying
just off the coast of Vietnam, only 1 hour southeast of Guangzhou by air. In 1988, Hainan
Island became China's 31st province.
Hainan is a beautiful island with quality hotels, restaurants featuring local cuisine, and
shops, but not much other development. The pace here is slow and relaxed compared to the
mainland. The capital city of Haikou features a bustling market, with a fine choice of new
hotels and restaurants, Karaoke bars, and nightclubs. You will have little trouble finding
an attractive palm-lined beach to enjoy the sunny climate and warm waters of the South
China Sea. The sea is safe for swimming, and there are good areas for scuba diving and
snorkeling at several locations around the island. Daily charters are available to test
your fishing skills. On the southern end of the island, an excellent new golf course was
recently built. One of the most interesting daytime activities is to hike into the forest
areas to visit hillside villages of the Li and Miao ethnic groups, which comprise about
15% of the island's population.