We’ve seen more of China this year than I ever really expected to see. Although the rest of the world is still in lockdown and trying to stop the spread of COVID, China has remained quite safe since March. They’ve closed boarders, done mass testing, required people to wear masks in public places, done massive contact tracing and kept the public very aware of any pop ups of the virus. It’s kept us safe and has allowed us to travel this Christmas.
We waited until the beginning of December to really make our travel plans, and even then, the plans remained tentative. We initially wanted to go to Hainan for 10 days, and then spend 2-3 up north in Harbin, where there is a large ice festival every year. To our dismay, a few new cases showed up in cities close to Harbin, so to play it safe, we cancelled that portion of our trip.
In fact, we nearly wound up needing to cancel our time in Hainan as well, but all ended well and no positive cases were ever actually in the province, so on December 20th we head southward to the beautiful sub tropic island of Hainan!
Hainan island is China’s southernmost province. It’s been called “the Hawaii of China” and tourists flock here to enjoy the beaches of Sanya. But there is more to the island than just sand and ocean. There is a rainforest here and large geoparks. Because this island was once volcanic, there are hot springs to enjoy as well as plenty of geological diversity. It’s a great place to see with a tonne of stuff to do.
It seems that the island is very popular with Russian tourists, because there is Russian on most signs and menus. This year, the island is quite empty, and most of the tourists are teachers like me, who just wanted to get out of the big city and enjoy some fresh air.
There are many places on the island you can stay. Yalong Bay is on the pricier side, and Clear Water Bay is great if you’re looking to be cut off from the world. Dave and I decided on Dadonghai Beach. We are right by the ocean, which is very nice, and there are plenty of restaurants, shops and ways to get around in this area of Sanya. There are some nice hotels, but with reasonable price tags. We are paying about $80 a night to stay at a hotel 5 minutes away from the beach. Our gorgeous balcony and comfy bed are worth paying a bit extra for, although there were certainly plenty of options cheaper than Sanya South China Hotel.
One thing we’ve found about Hainan so far is that not many bloggers have written about all the things there are to do here (and how to do them). We’re figuring stuff out as we go, and are very glad we already have some basic Chinese and know how to order Didis (Chinese Uber) and use public transport.
Check back soon! I’ve already got lots of write about!