Hainan, a dream destination for poetic journeys

By Chen Shumin / HICN / Updated: 20:54,25-September-2021

Over 1,900 kilometers of coastline have endowed Hainan with a rich landscape and cultural resources, making it an excellent destination for a romantic, poetic journey.

An aerial view of Fuli Bay in Lingshui. FENG SHUO

The beautiful harbors offer visitors spectacular views of the sea. There are mainly 68 bays around Hainan, the most famous being Yalong Bay, Haitang Bay, Shimei Bay, Bo’ao Bay, Yueliang Bay and Qingshui Bay.

In addition, Hainan has 22 major capes in its coastal areas. The northernmost one is Mulan Cape in Wenchang, said to have the second fastest water flow in the world. Easternmost Tonggujiao Cape in the same city ushers in the first rays of the sun on the island at dawn.

Tonggujiao Cape in Wenchang. GAO LIN/HAINAN DAILY

Mangroves flourish in Hainan due to its climate and coast. There are 4700 hectares of mangrove wetland area, accounting for about 20 percent of China’s mangrove wetlands, making it a rare national germplasm pool of biological resources.

The mangrove wetlands are mainly located in Dongzhaigang in Haikou, Bamen Bay in Wenchang, Qingmei Port in Sanya, Sigeng Beili Bay in Dongfang, and Xinying Bay and Yangpu Port in Danzhou.

The Qingmei Port Mangrove Nature Reserve in Sanya. WU WEI

The Dongzhaigang National Nature Reserve in Haikou has the largest area of coastal mudflat forest in China, and is known as the "Maritime Forest Park". The Wenchang Qinglan Mangrove Provincial Nature Reserve (including the Bamen Bay Mangrove National Wetland Park) is the reserve with the largest natural distribution of mangroves in China, while the Tielugang Mangrove Nature Reserve in Sanya has the oldest mangrove forest in China.

Colorful coral reefs, dubbed the ocean’s rainforests, are widely seen in Hainan, including in the coastal areas in Wenchang, Qionghai, Wanning, Sanya, Danzhou and Lingao, sprawling over 140 square kilometers.

Surrounded by the sea, Hainan boasts a profound ocean culture, especially in the coastal cities, such as the coffee culture with Southeast Asian flavor in Xinglong in Wanning, beach culture in Tanmen in Qionghai, and the fishing song culture of the Tanka, an ethnic boat people, in Lingshui.


Tourists on the beach in Tanmen Port in Qionghai. YUAN CHEN

Lighthouses are another characteristic marine culture landscape on the island. Of the currently 25 lighthouses, the Lingaojiao Lighthouse, built in 1894, has the longest history in Hainan. It is one of the world’s top 100 lighthouses and has won plaudits from the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities. 

The Lingaojiao Lighthouse. SONG GUOQIANG

The Mulantou Lighthouse in Wenchang, 72.12 meters high, enjoyed the reputation of being the highest lighthouse in Asia for a long time. The 105-meter Yazhou Silk Road Tower in Sanya, built in 2017, is the highest beacon lighthouse in China today.

The Mulantou Lighthouse in Wenchang. HAN ZIPING

Hainan’s sea views attract large numbers of tourists all year round. The Yalong and Haitang bays in Sanya, Clearwater Bay in Lingshui, and Moon Bay in Wenchang have become popular destinations. Of the six scenic spots in Hainan with a 5A rating, the highest rating for tourism attractions, four are in the coastal zone (Sanya’s Daxiaodongtian, Wuzhizhou Island and Nanshan, and Lingshui’s Boundary Island). Currently, Hainan is constructing a highway around the island to create a new business card for tourism.

Tourists sail on Yalong Bay in Sanya. WU WEI

While developing its natural resources, Hainan is particular about protection of the ecological environment. Several laws and regulations on coastal zone protection and development have been enacted or amended recently to ensure that.

Ecological restoration has been undertaken in Dongzhai Port in Haikou, Xincun and Li'an Lagoon in Lingshui, Tielu Port and the Coral Reef National Nature Reserve in Sanya, and other areas. Ponds have been returned to wetlands and mangroves and corals have been replanted. In 2020, the near-shore seawater quality in Hainan was acknowledged as generally excellent, and marine biodiversity and the ecosystem was stable.

According to Hainan's 14th Five-Year (2021-2025) Plan, the coastline and sea areas would be better protected and economical and intensive use of marine resources would be promoted. Also on the anvil is building a national demonstration area for marine ecological civilization.

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