Stay in a floating Tanka hotel for a peek into a life on the sea

By Li Xiang / HICN / Updated: 18:12,17-March-2023

Hainan’s first floating hotel opened in Lingshui’s Xincun Harbor at the beginning of 2023, following the release of regulations on the leisure fishery management in 2022 — turning the concept of a “shared fishing village” into reality.

A floating Tanka village lies in the shallows of Xincun Harbor, located southeast of Xincun Town in Lingshui. (Photo: Sha Xiaofeng / Hinews) 

Built on the old fishing rafts of the Tanka people, who traditionally live on boats and make their living by fishing at sea in southern China, the newly opened hotel gives guests a chance to stay in rooms with roofs shaped like upside-down fishing boats, lulled gently to sleep by the gentle rocking motion and swishing sounds of the waves.

(Photo: Nicki Johnson)

(Photo: Sha Xiaofeng / Hinews)

(Photo: Nicki Johnson)

The interior of one of the floating hotel rooms. (Photo: Sha Xiaofeng / Hinews)

While at the floating hotel, guests have the opportunity to learn more about the traditional Tanka culture in the floating museum, which holds sea-faring treasures such as wooden tools used to mend fishing boats, rice spoons made of whelk shells, traditional Tanka clothing, and more. They can also learn to sing Tanka songs (or saltwater songs) from an intangible cultural heritage teacher.

A visit to the floating Tanka museum. (Photo: Hainan Daily)

There are also plenty of other options for fun, such as going beach combing or fishing, or simply spending the afternoon reading in the hotel’s floating library.

Visitors collecting the catch of the day. (Photo: Sha Xiaofeng / Hinews) 

Making the memories of a lifetime at the floating Tanka hotel. (Photo: Sha Xiaofeng / Hinews)

Rowing a transparent canoe on the ocean. (Photo: Sha Xiaofeng / Hinews)

(Photo: Nicki Johnson)

According to Guo Yuguang, head of the local fishing raft association and overseer of the Xincun floating hotel, the number of guest rooms increased from four to 24 in February. The hotel quickly started attracting guests, and these days it is booked to capacity nearly every day. Interested in staying there? You’ll need to make a reservation online at least three days in advance!

As for where the sewage goes, Guo said that two sewage treatment facilities have been set up, while local villagers also collect marine garbage from time to time.

The popularity of the floating hotel has brought local people more job opportunities and increased their income. However, Guo, part of the new Tanka generation, said that his biggest wish is to pass down and revitalize the traditional Tanka culture, which has always been the first priority in the development of the shared fishing village.

“Going forward, we will build a floating classroom and wedding hall in the hotel’s central area, and put our traditional wedding ceremonies and style of education on display,” said Guo.

Aerial view of the floating Tanka hotel



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