Haikou (海口 Hǎikǒu) is the provincial capital of Hainan Province in southern China and is at the north end of the Hainan Island. Haikou is a tropical coastal city that, as one of the least developed provincial capitals, has a somewhat laid-back atmosphere.
Its population consists mostly of immigrants from other provinces, and many development projects are in progress.
Many streets in Haikou are quite different during the day than in the evening. You will soon notice the abundance of coconut trees in Haikou. Most streets are lined with them. It is greener than most Chinese cities and has decent air quality.
The downtown does not have many tourist attractions and the water in its only beach area is murky but as a transport hub, it can serve a base for traveling to some cities on the north of Hainan.
- 1 Haikou Meilan International Airport (海口美兰国际机场 HAK IATA), Lingshan Town, Meilan District (美兰区灵山镇), ☏ . The airport has two terminals, including a domestic terminal and an international terminal. A free shuttle bus service conveys passengers between the two terminals.
Flight examples below with one-way economy class prices (Mar 2017). Discounts of up to 50% are not unusual.
- From Beijing (3 hr 50 min) ¥2,700
- From Guangzhou (1 hr 10 min) ¥1,340
Local airlines Hainan Airlines has domestic flights from many Chinese cities and from some international destinations such as Bangkok, Osaka, Sydney, Melbourne and Rome. In addition, Haikou is well-served by other Chinese airlines, particularly China Southern Airlines.
There are also international flights from Hong Kong on Hong Kong Airlines, Taipei on China Airlines, Seoul on Jeju Air Singapore on Scoot Tigerair and Jetstar, Kuala Lumpur on Malaysian Airlines, Penang on Malindo Air, Phnom Penh and Siem Reap on Cambodia Angkor Air and Bandar Seri Begawan on Royal Brunei Airlines.
From the mainland
There is a train link between Haikou and Guangdong province (the trains are loaded onto ferries to cross the strait). So you can get the train from Guangzhou to Haikou. The trains actually start and finish in Sanya, but it takes about an hour by bus to get from downtown to the train station, and the train station in Sanya is also far from that city's downtown area. There are scheduled services from Beijing West, Shanghai South and Guangzhou. These services use only regular-speed trains. The nearest high-speed train station on the mainland is in Zhanjiang, which is about 3 hours by high-speed train from Guangzhou. From the Zhanjiang HSR station, you can take either a train or a bus to Haikou.
From other parts of Hainan
A high-speed railway connects the major towns on the east and west coasts of Hainan. It takes 1½–2 hours from Sanya to Haikou. The trains also serve the airports in both Haikou and Sanya. Other stops on the line include Wenchang, Qionghai, Bo'ao, Wanning, Lingshui, Ledong, Dongfang, Baimajing, Lingao, Fushan and Laocheng.
Haikou has three major railway stations, including the airport station. There are also several minor stations, which are served only by suburban trains.
- 2 Haikou Railway Station (海口站, Haikou Station), Yue Hai Avenue, Xiuying District (秀英区粤海大道) (in Haikou's far western suburbs, close to the border with Chengmai County; accessible via bus nos. 35, 37, 40 and 57). This is the main station for trains from the mainland. It is also connected to Hainan's high-speed railway line.
- 3 Haikou East Railway Station (海口东站, Haikou East Station), Fengxiang Road West, Longhua District (龙华区凤翔西路) (served by local bus routes 11, 21, 35, 38, 49, 53, 56, 59, 74, 86, 86 Express, 89, 98, 208, K1, Night bus 1 and Night bus 3; the station is directly opposite Haikou's main long-distance bus station). Due to its much more central location compared with Haikou Station, this station tends to be more popular with passengers travelling on Hainan's HSR line. However, if travelling from the mainland, you must change trains at Haikou Station.
Buses connect Haikou to many cities on the Chinese mainland, including Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Guilin, and Nanning. Most buses are overnight sleepers. Buses are loaded on to ferries and arrive in Haikou at either New Port or Xiuying Port. Here are a few examples of journey duration and price (Oct 2020):
- From Guangzhou (7 to 9 hours) ¥190-220
- From Guilin (10 hours) ¥318
The city has three main bus stations:
- 4 Haikou Bus Terminal (海口汽车客运总站), 5 Yingbin Avenue, Longhua District (龙华区迎宾大道5号) (across the road from the south side of Haikou East Railway Station), ☏ . Mainly has bus services to destinations in the island's interior, including Ding'an, Tunchang, Qiongzhong, Wuzhishan and Baoting. Also has limited bus services to certain cities in eastern and western Hainan such as Danzhou, Qionghai and Wanning. You can also get a bus to Zhanjiang in Guangdong Province.
- 5 Haikou East Bus Station (海口汽车东站), 148 Haifu Road, Qiongshan District (琼山区海府路148号) (local bus routes 1, 4, 11, 12, 14, 27, 37, 38, 41, 44, 45, 89, 99, k3 and Night Bus 1), ☏ . Has bus services to cities and counties in eastern Hainan, including Wenchang, Qionghai, Lingshui and Wanning.
- 6 Haikou West Bus Station (海口长途汽车西站), 156 Haixiu West Road, Xiuying District (秀英区海秀西路156号) (local bus routes 1, 2, 3, 16, 17, 24, 30, 31, 35, 39, 40, 41, 57, 75, 78, 84, 86, Express Bus 5, Express Bus 6, Express Bus 24 and Night Bus 4), ☏ . Has bus services to destinations in western Hainan, including Chengmai, Lingao, Danzhou, Baisha, Dongfang, Changjiang and Ledong. This is also the main bus station for interprovincial bus services. Hence it is also known as the Interprovincial Bus Terminal (省际总站).
Bus stations can also be found at the airport and the two ferry terminals.
There are frequent daily ferries between Haikou and Xuwen. The journey time and fare varies according to which ferry terminal you choose to depart from. A new ferry terminal opened at Xuwen Port (徐闻港) in October 2020. Ferries from Xuwen Port to Haikou's New Port take around 60 minutes. You can also still catch a ferry from Xuwen's old ferry terminal at Hai'an New Port (海安新港). Ferries from Hai'an New Port to Haikou's Xiuying Port take about 90 minutes. The fare for both ferries is ¥41.50. There are bus connections from Xuwen to other cities, but the options are limited compared to Haikou, especially in the evening.
There are daily Haikou-Beihai ferries, leaving Beihai at 18:00, taking around 12 hours and costing between ¥140-400 per person, depending on number of people sharing a cabin. For those of you traveling in China by bicycle, you can also take your bike on the ferry for an additional ¥20.
Travellers should bear in mind that it's quite common for ferries to be cancelled due to bad weather. This can occur both during the summer (due to storms and typhoons) and during the winter (due to heavy fog). If it happens during a major holiday period such as the Spring Festival, you can expect insane traffic jams and extremely large queues outside the ferry terminals when services finally resume. Hopefully the new ferry terminal in Xuwen will help to alleviate such problems in the future.
- 7 Haikou New Port (海口新海港), Tianxiang Road, Xiuying District (秀英区天翔路) (about 5km north of Haikou Railway Station; bus routes 6 (Express), 28, 28 (Express), 80, 84, 86, Sightseeing Bus 1, and Night Bus 4).
- 8 Xiuying Port (秀英港, Haikou Harbor Passenger Terminal 海口港客运站), 102 Binhai Avenue, Xiuying District (秀英区滨海大道102号) (bus routes 6, 7, 28, 28 (Express), 35a, 35b, 37, 37 (Express), 39, 41, 57, 57 Express, 92, Tourist Bus 1, Sightseeing Bus 1, Night Bus 1, Night Bus 4 and Tourist Bus 6).
There are four main forms of public transportation in Haikou:
- Taxi which is the most expensive option. They are easily hailed everywhere in the city. The meter starts at ¥10, but it is customary to bargain before you get on, and a typical fare for a shorter trip is ¥15. The taxi from the airport is half an hour to the city centre. On arrival you will have a familiar experience in China of a number of drivers shouting taxi at you. These are illegal taxis, and you risk at least paying extra for your journey by taking these. Instead, walk out of the terminal building and you will see a line of licensed taxis. Before departing, insist on using the meter (dabiao) even if they are reluctant to do so. It should cost ¥50-60 to the city centre.
- Buses are very inexpensive, but you need to know the routes. If you choose to get the bus from the airport, show the address of your hotel to the attendant who will show you the bus that will take you closest. There is an airport shuttle that cost ¥15 per person from airport to Home Inn (formerly Civil Aviation Hotel) at Haixiu Avenue in downtown Haikou.
- Motorbike taxis are mostly electric and you can get anywhere within the city for ¥5-10.
- Additionally you may also rent a bicycle or an electric scooter. Haikou is very bike friendly, with wide side ways for both bikes and scooters. The riverside road 滨江路, for instance, is equipped with a beautiful car free biking and running path all along the river. Additionally, Haikou is also a major starting point for long-distance traveling on bicycles around the island of Hainan.
- 1 Former Residence of Qiu Jun (丘浚故居), No. 9 Lane 3, Jinhua Road, Qiongshan District (琼山区金花路三巷9号) (the nearest bus stop is Zhuyun Market (朱云市场), which is served by bus routes 10, 31, 38, 44, 46, 49, 58, 69 and k3). Built in the second year of the Ming Dynasty (1369), Qiu Jun's former residence is the oldest wooden building in Haikou and a rare example of early Ming architecture. Free.
- 2 Qiongtai Academy (琼台书院), 8 Zhongshan Road, Fucheng Town, Qiongshan District (琼山区府城镇中山路8号) (take bus no. 1, 4, 44 or 58 and get off at Qiongtai Normal University (琼台师院)), ☏ . 09:00-17:00. Established in commemoration of Qiu Jun, believed to be the most brilliant scholar in Hainan and a renowned Ming Dynasty academic. Construction began in 1705. The two-storey main building is made of brick and wood and is rich in traditional ethnic characteristics. The well-preserved academy is now the site of Qiongtai Normal University. The academy became celebrated after a well-known Cantonese and Qiong drama was written based on events there. ¥5.
- 3 Qiu Jun's Tomb (丘浚墓), Qiu Jun Road, Chengxi Town, Xiuying District (秀英区城西镇邱浚路) (the nearest bus stops are Liuniushan Market (罗牛山市场) and Haikou Meatworks (海口肉联厂), which are served by bus nos. 17, 22, 26, 36, 64 and 66). Qiu Jun's tomb is much less frequently visited than Hai Rui's tomb, in part because it was neglected for so many years. Restoration work began in the early 2010s and is now almost completed. A museum is under development at the site and should be open by 2021. Free.
- 4 Tomb of Hairui (海瑞墓; hǎiruì mù) (Yabin Village, Xiuying District). Hairui Tomb is a key national cultural protection unit. Hairui, a famous official in the Ming dynasty, was born in Qiongshan and was known as "Hai Qingtian" (incorruptible official). The tomb was built in 1589 and it is said that when people was carrying Hairui's coffin, suddenly the rope broke, and then people decided that this should be the place. Hairui Tomb has an area of 3 ha (7.4 acre). In the middle, there is a high archway on which is written "Yue Dong Zheng Qi". The grave path is paved with granite and there are three memorials on the way. On the sides of the path leading to the tomb, there stands stone statue shaped like sheep, horses, lions, tortoises, and human beings. Hairui Tomb was completely built by granites at three meters and formed like an ancient bell. Evergreen trees are planted around the cemetery. Hairui Cultural Exhibit Hall is also in the cemetery.
- 5 [dead link] Wugong Temple (五公祠; wǔgōng cí), 169 Haifu Road, Qiongshan District (琼山区海府路169号) (10 minutes taxi ride from the city centre; there is a bus stop named after the temple, which is served by multiple bus routes, including routes 1, 4, 11, 12, 14, 27, 37, 38, 41, 44, 45, 99, 106 and k3), ☏ . 08:00-18:00. A Ming dynasty construction dedicated to five officials who were banished to Hainan during the Tang dynasty for criticism of the government. This is a pretty temple in a tropical setting, surrounded by ponds filled with lilies, winding bridges and exotic palm trees. The main building is the Wugong temple housing life like statues of the five officials and known as the first building of Hainan. The Song dynasty poet, Su Dongpo, is also commemorated here. A Song-dynasty stone tablet, with an inscription dated from 1119 AD, held by a stone turtle (bixi) is one of the important historic artifacts. The Haikou City Museum (listed below), which is not in any way associated with the temple, stands directly opposite the temple. Everything is in Chinese only. ¥20.
- 6 Xiuying Battery (秀英古炮台 Xiuying Gupaotai), 5 Shimao Road South, Longhua District (龙华区世贸南路5号). A 19th-century coastal fort near Evergreen Park. You can visit the fort and see the replica cannons, underground chambers, and many banyan trees. The new museum in the middle of the fort presents the history of the fort and Chinese coastal defence in general, but unfortunately for those who can't read Chinese, everything in the museum is in Chinese only. A short summary of the history in English can be found on a plaque opposite one of the cannon emplacements. ¥10 (Oct-Apr), ¥8 (May-Sep).
- 7 Old Qilou Streets (骑楼老街; qílóu lǎojiē, Sotto Porticos Streets), Longhua District (龙华区) (there are many ways to access the area but the official entrance is at the intersection of Changdi Road (长堤路) and Xinhua Road (新华路), just across the road from the Haikou Clock Tower (海口钟楼); there is a bus stop outside the clock tower, which is served by around two dozen bus routes), ☏ . Explore old city streets, markets and shops. This is the largest area in Haikou where old buildings are preserved, giving rise to an authentic atmosphere. It has an eclectic range of shops, e.g., pets (puppies, chicks, cats, rabbits), household drapes, kitchen tools, hardware, roast duck, toys. You can walk into some of the old courtyard style buildings and see the original wood work and details. Visit Dongmen Market (East Gate Market; 东门市场) on Bo'ai Road (博爱路) to see all the exotic foods for sale. The most famous street in the area is Zhongshan Road (中山路), a pedestrian-only road lined with souvenir shops and trendy cafes. Other notable streets include Bo'ai Road (博爱路), Changdi Road (长堤路), Deshengsha Road (得胜沙路), and Xinhua Road (新华路). Free.
- 8 Tianhou Temple (天后宫, Tianhou Palace), 87 Zhongshan Road, Longhua District (龙华区中山路87号) (if you enter Zhongshan Road via Xinhua Road, you should find this temple on your right after walking a short distance), ☏ . 09:00-20:00. Dedicated to Mazu (妈祖), the goddess of the sea who is also known as Tianhou (天后), meaning Queen of Heaven. This is one of the oldest temples in Haikou and has a history of over 700 years. Free.
- 9 Xitian Temple (西天庙), 75 Yixing Street, Longhua District (龙华区义兴街75号). A memorial temple dedicated to honouring the memory of Wang Zuo (王佐), a famous poet from Hainan's Lingao County who lived from 1428 to 1512. The temple was originally founded about half a century after Wang Zuo's death, but was later destroyed and rebuilt. The current structures date from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Free.
- 10 Dongzhai Harbor National Nature Reserve (东寨港国家级自然保护区), Yanfeng Town, Qiongshan City (take a minibus from Wugong Temple to Fusheng in Qiongshan city, a pedicab will take you to the forest park from here). 08:00-18:00. The Red Forest Nature Reserve (Hong Shu Lin) is an unusual and intriguing evergreen forest peculiar to the subtropical coastal area of Hainan. Despite the name, the trees here do not actually have red leaves. When the tide is in, the roots of the trees are surrounded by water, giving the appearance that the trees grow directly from beneath the sea. This aquatic environment is ideal for breeding fish and shrimp and the leaves on the trees here are also said to have medicinal value. This particular type of tree produces seeds which sprout and propagate within their own shell. Tide times vary according to season, but when the tide is in there are some really fun boat trips to be enjoyed, winding in and out of the tree trunks and then on to the tiny island nearby, ripe with pineapple trees. The boat leaves from the entrance of the park when the tide is in. Each trip takes approximately one hour.
- 11 [dead link] Haikou Shishan Crater Cluster National Geological Park (in Shishan and Yongxing Towns southwest of Haikou City, close to Qiongzhou Strait, 15 km from Haikou downtown, take bus 24 from the city centre to XiuYing Xiao Zhan (fare ¥1) and from there take the XiuYing-ShiShan minibus to the Geopark (fare ¥3)). 08:30-17:30. Covers 108 km². China hosts one of the few dormant volcanic clusters from the Holocene period (about 10,000 years ago). The volcanic cluster comprises 40 volcanoes and some 30 caves, however, most visitors only see the most spectacular volcano and crater. The lava rock villages in the volcano area offer a unique countryside scene and a glimpse into countryside life/culture. Notable villages in the area include Rongtang and Meishe. Park ticket ¥60.
- 12 Baishamen Park (白沙门公园), Haidian Sixth Road East, Meilan District (美兰区海甸六路) (bus routes 游1, 19, 21, 36, 44, 71, 83, 203). Located at the northern end of Renmin Avenue (人民大道), in Baishamen Park on Haidian Island in the northern end of the city. Includes a small amusement park. Entrance free, rides ¥10.
- 13 Evergreen Park (万绿园), Binhai Ave (bus routes 3, 6, 7, 17, 18, 37, 39, 42, 43, 54, 57, 72, 76, 83, 92, K2, express bus 6 (快速公交6号线), night bus 2 (夜2路), tourist bus 1 (游1路), tourist bus 2 (游2路), tourist bus 5(游5路), tourist bus 6(游6路), tourist bus 7(游7路)). Beautiful park with green grass, palm trees, and ocean views. Popular with families and runners. The park normally organises special activities for Chinese festivals such as the Spring Festival and the Lantern Festival. Free.
- 14 Fengxiang Wetlands Park (美舍河凤翔湿地公园), Yehai Avenue, Qiongshan District (琼山区椰海大道) (take bus no. 21, 76, 94 or 96 and get off at the Huihua Steel Market (惠华钢材市场)). Not just a park, this is part of an ongoing environmental project aimed at rehabilitating the Meishe River (美舍何). The project has been heavily promoted by the local media and touted by some government officials as a model for other cities in China. Before and after photos appear to show that the river is much cleaner than before. The main highlight of the park is the artificial wetlands, which have been designed to act as a biofilter for pollutants entering the water. A museum is being constructed at the park to educate visitors about the local ecology. Free.
- 15 Golden Bull Ridge Park (金牛岭公园), Haixiu Middle Road, Longhua District (龙华区海秀中路) (bus routes 16, 22, 24, 30, 35, 36, 41 or 94). Features a botanical gardens and a cemetery for PLA soldiers who lost their lives during the campaign to liberate Hainan from Nationalist forces in 1950. The cemetery, like most cemeteries in China, is a hive of activity during the Qingming Festival.
- 16 Haikou People's Park (海口人民公园) (next to East Lake, in between the old centre of Haikou and Haixiu Rd; more than 20 bus routes stop near the park). Established in 1935, this is probably Haikou's oldest modern park. The park contains a memorial built in 1954 to honour those who gave their lives for the Chinese Revolution. Free.
- 17 Hainan Tropical Wildlife Park and Botanical Garden (海南热带野生动植物园), 27km point on Haiyu Central Highway, Dongshan Town, Xiuying District (秀英区东山镇海榆中线27公里) (catch tourist bus no. 2 (游2路) from Evergreen Park; the bus fare is ¥20; or, catch the Fucheng-Dongshan minibus from Hongcheng Lake bus stop), ☏ . 08:00-18:00. ¥128.
- 18 Hongcheng Lake Park (红城湖公园), Hongcheng Lake Road, Qiongshan District (琼山区红城湖路) (several buses stop near the lake, including bus nos. 10 11, 14, 31, 38, 45, 46, 47, 49, 58, 69, 75, 98, 106, k3 and several others). The formerly putrid lake has been thoroughly cleaned up and is now a pleasant place for a stroll. Fishing and swimming are prohibited, however. Free.
- 19 West Coast Linear Park (西海岸带状公园). Beach park between Xixiu Beach and Holiday Beach.
- 20 Feng Xiaogang's Movie Town (冯小刚电影公社, 观澜湖华谊冯小刚电影公社 Mission Hills • Huayi Brothers • Feng Xiaogang Movie Town, Movie Town Haikou), 19 Yangshan Avenue, Longhua District (龙华区羊山大道19号) (at the Mission Hills Tourist Resort, which provides a free shuttle bus service; you may catch these free shuttle buses from various points in the city, including the Haikou East Station and Evergreen Park; regular buses also stop here, including bus nos. K2 and K3), ☏ , ✉ MovieTownTouristCenter@MissionHillsChina.Com. 09:00-22:00. A theme park established by the famous Chinese film director Feng Xiaogang. The two main 'scenic areas' are 1942 Street and Nanyang Street. The former is modelled on a street in Chongqing that appeared in the film Back To 1942, while the latter is designed to look like a typical Chinatown in Southeast Asia. The main thing to do here is wander about the streets and look at the buildings while doing some shopping and dining. There are also several small museums, including a wax museum, a coin museum, a dragon museum, an earthquake and typhoon museum, and a film museum. Other attractions include an aquarium and a 'snow & ice world'. ¥68 (1942 Street), ¥68 (Fanghua Street), ¥88 (Nanyang Street), ¥98 (1942 Street + Fanghua Street), ¥158 (1942 Street + Fanghua Street + Nanyang Street), ¥198 (all-inclusive ticket, including all scenic areas and attractions).
- 21 Haikou City Museum (海口市博物馆), 169 Haifu Road (琼山区海府大道169号) (Located opposite the Wugong Temple), ☏ . 08:00-18:00. A small museum focused on art and local history. The main exhibition halls are on the second floor. Free (provided you don't come here via the Wugong Temple, which charges a fee of ¥20).
- 22 Hainan Province Planning Exhibition Hall (海南省规划展览馆), West Side Annex, Confererence and Exhibition Building, Provincial Government Office Zone, 9 Guoxing Avenue, Qiongshan District (琼山区国兴大道9号省政府办公区会展楼西侧附楼) (the nearest bus stop is the Provincial Government Administration Centre (省政务中心), which is served by bus nos. 48, 52, 60, 67, 68, 99, 106 and 211), ☏ . M-Th Sa 09:00-17:00, F 09:00-12:00. Free.
- 23 Hainan Provincial Museum (海南省博物馆), 68 Guoxing Ave (take Bus Nos. 12, 27, 33, 43, 51, 52, 56, 67, 68,游4, or 游5), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Su 09:00-17:00. This provincial museum is focused on the history and culture of Hainan Island/Province. The museum is on the east side of the city across the street from the provincial government buildings. The museum is housed in a new, gleaming architectural masterpiece structure. There are exhibits about the people and history of the island. Free.
- 24 Hainan State Farms Museum (海南农垦博物馆), Levels 1 & 2, Finance Building, 103 Binhai Ave, ☏ . M-F 09:00-17:00. This museum depicts the history of Hainan State Farms (HSF). Focuses especially on the development of Hainan's rubber industry. Also includes an exhibition on the Down to the Countryside Movement - a movement during the Cultural Revolution in which urban youths were required to relocate to rural areas, including rubber plantations on Hainan Island. The captions for individual objects are generally in Chinese only, but the introductions for each section are in both Chinese and English. Free.
- 25 Teddy Bear Museum Haikou (海口泰迪熊博物馆), Mission Hills Haikou, 39 Yangshan Avenue, Longhua District (龙华区羊山大道39号海口观澜湖新城) (a free shuttle bus service is provided by the Mission Hills Tourist Resort; you may catch these free shuttle buses from various points in the city, including the Haikou East Station and Evergreen Park; regular buses also stop here, including bus nos. K2 and K3), ☏ . 10:00-19:00. This museum is actually a branch of a chain of museums based on Jeju Island in South Korea. The museum is divided into three sections. The first section features models of many of the cities on the Silk Road with teddy bears standing in place of humans. The second section displays some antique teddy bears and the last section is filled with teddy bear artwork. Predictably there is a shop near the exit where you can purchase all manner of teddy bear merchandise. ¥90.
- 26 West Coast Museum of Contemporary Art (西海岸当代艺术馆), Binhai Avenue, Xiuying District (秀英区滨海大道) (inside a pedestrian underpass near the Guanhaitai (观海台) bus stop; take bus nos. 28, 35, 37, or 86). Mainly devoted to oil paintings and calligraphy. Free.
- 27 Baishamen Beach (白沙门海滩) (on the north coast of Haidian Island and on the north side of Baishamen Park).
- 28 Guilinyang Beach (to the east of Haikou).
- 29 Holiday Beach (假日海滩) (follow Binhai Xilu out of the city to the west until after Xixiu Beach and [the beach park], bus no 40 ¥2) or a taxi (around ¥50)). Nice beach with restaurants and cafes. Free entry, ¥30 (off season) or ¥50 (high season) rent for beach chairs and a parasol.
- 30 Xixiu Beach (西秀海滩; xīxiù hǎitān) (follow Bīnhǎi Xīlù out of the city to the west until just after the harbour area). Nice beach with a few restaurants. Watch the locals windsurfing and jogging. Not as much activity as at Holiday Beach, but closer to the city centre. Free.
- Sea Turtles 911. The only non-profit organization promoting sea turtle conservation in China, Sea Turtles 911's primary facility is a floating sea turtle hospital in Lingshui near Nanwan Monkey Island, and programs in Sanya and Haikou. While on Hainan Island visitors are welcome to volunteer with the sea turtles and the organization's educational programs. Recommended donation. Go to www.seaturtles911.org for more information.
Amusement parks and water parks
- 1 Changying Wonderland (长影环球100奇幻乐园), 100 Yehai Avenue, Xiuying District (秀英区椰海大道100号) (bus no. 96, tourist bus no. 6, and Airport Bus no. 3), ☏ . 14:30-20:30 (weekdays), 13:00-21:00 (weekends). Haikou's biggest amusement park. ¥158.
- 2 Splash City (海口狂欢水世界, previously known in English as Wet‘n’Wild Haikou), 63 Yangshan Avenue, Longhua District (龙华区羊山大道63号) (at the Mission Hills Tourist Resort, which provides a free shuttle bus service; you may catch these free shuttle buses from various points in the city, including the Haikou East Station and Evergreen Park; regular buses also stop here, including bus nos. K2 and K3), ☏ . 13:30-21:00, no entry after 19:00. Haikou's only waterpark. Adult tickets: ¥178 (weekdays), ¥198 (weekends); discounts are available for persons aged from 65 to 69 and children between 1.2 and 1. meters in height; children under 1.2 meters and adults over 70 enjoy free admission but must be accompanied by an adult under 70.
- 3 Haikou Bay Performing Arts Center (海口湾演艺中心), 42 Binhai Avenue, Longhua District (龙华区滨海大道42号) (on the west side of Evergreen Park, next door to the Haikou Conference & Exhibition Center; take bus no. 3, 6, 7, 18, 28, 37, 39, 42, 54 57, 72, 92, k2, sightseeing bus 1, or evening bus 1 and get off at the People's Congrees (人大会堂) bus stop). Opened in 2020, this is Haikou's newest performing arts center. It used to be the Haikou City People's Congress. For the latest show schedule (in Chinese only), see the official WeChat account (WeChat ID: 小海艺).
- 4 Hainan Center for the Performing Arts (海南省歌舞剧院), 68 Guoxing Avenue, Qiongshan District (琼山区国兴大道68号) (a short distance west of the Hainan Provincial Museum; take bus no. 12, 27, 33, 43, 51, 52, 56, 67 or 68 and get off at Hainan Plaza (海南广场)), ☏ (call between 8:30 and 22:00).
- 1 Haikou Antique City (海口古玩城), Yishenghe Department Store, 20 Haixiu Road East (海秀东路20号亿圣和百货) (at the corner of Haixiu Road East and Lantian Road; take bus no. 1, 2, 13, 15, 16, 19, 22, 24, 29, 36, 40, 41, 93 or 98 and get off at either the Yishenghe Department Store (亿圣和百货商场) or the No. 9 Middle School (市九中)), ☏ . 09:30-22:30. Haikou Antique City occupies the 3rd to 6th levels of the Yishenghe Department Store. It claims to be the largest and oldest center in Haikou for the sale and purchase of antiques. Contains almost 600 antique stores.
- 2 Hainan Antique City (海南古玩城), Huafa Building, 25 Datong Road, Longhua District (龙华区大同路25号华发大厦) (a short distance from Haikou Antique City, near the west gate of Haikou People's Park), ☏ . Hainan Antique City occupies the first four levels of the Huafa Building on Datong Road. Like its similarly named rival, this is not one shop, but a center containing numerous small independent antique stores.
- DC Computer Town (DC电脑城), 10 Haixiu Road East (海秀东路10号). Haikou's largest and most popular center for buying computers and other electronic devices. Contains shops and stalls representing all major brands.
The tropical weather of Haikou has attracted the Chinese all over the country to move to this island, along with their specialty. While most tourists don't come to Haikou for food, an impressive choice of foods is a hidden gem. The cooking style is a fusion of Cantonese, Hokkienese and certain Southeast Asian elements and seafood is impressive.
Prices have surged as the tourism industry is booming. However, prices are still generally lower than many other Chinese cities if you can avoid being overcharged. Compare to other places such as Sanya, Haikou is less touristy and a way cheaper to taste the local food.
Things to eat
- Chao Bing (炒冰; chǎobīng) Literally 'stir-fried ice' in Chinese, it is a fresh-made sorbet-like dessert. First select your fresh tropical fruits. The fruits are blended. A device that looks like a frying pan is used to freeze the juice in a minute. This process, due to its super chill temperature, yields a very fine ice crystal and make the sorbet so smooth. Perhaps try a combination of Mango and Passion Fruit. Costs just ¥5. Good Chao Bing vendors can be found on San Xi Lu, just off Renmin Dadao, on Haidian Island in the north of Haikou.
- Betel nuts (檳榔 bīnglang) Illegal in some western countries, betel nuts are common in South East Asia and India. Chewed for their effects as a mildly euphoric stimulant, attributed to the presence of relatively high levels of psychoactive alkaloids. Spot the locals who chew betel nuts by their red teeth. Popular with bus drivers. Available on street corners for around ¥1. Shops also sell the dried variety. These are not as potent.
Areas to eat
- Hainan University Night Market It is a busy night food market outside the Hainan University and caters for the wallet of undergraduates, which means food is cheap and reasonably priced. Common items include Chao Bing, Qingbuliang (various beans and jelly in iced coconut soup), BBQ. Operates until 23:00 or 00:00.
- People's Bridge Night Market. On Haidian island connected by a bridge to the mainland, this area is 3 minute away from the Hainan University Night Market. It has a night market for cheap clothing and cheap food. In May 2011, you can have around 6-8 oysters (depending on their size) or 4 scallops for ¥10. Meat skewers start from ¥0.5 (mini sized one). ¥1 for grilled tofu and ¥3 for a grilled corn. Overcharging can often happen if you don't speak Chinese so compare the price first. Operates until 04:00.
- Banqiao Road Local Restaurant Area This large covered outdoor restaurant area is a unique local experience. To begin with have a look around the integrated fresh food market and choose what you want. There is much to pick from; coconut rice to strange seafood to Cobra snakes. It’s all alive when you purchase so you know its fresh and half the fun is just looking at what’s available. Each set of tables has its own kitchen and the food is cooked however you want. Expect to pay ¥30-40 per person.
- The area south of East Haixiu Road has a number of small streets with small local restaurants cooking the food out in the street and with tables both in and out. Expect to pay ¥20-30 per person.
- Local street BBQ food (烧烤 shāokǎo) Popular with locals, these vendors come out in the evening and serve a variety of barbecued food. Choose what you want and take a seat while its cooked. Food is inexpensive and you can also buy cheap local beer. Locals eat, drink and play cards at these places until early morning. Many vendors can be found on Haidian Er East Rd (海甸二东路) on Haidian Island in the north of Haikou. Expect to pay ¥30-40 per person.
- Haida South Gate Snack Food St, 3 West Rd (Sanxi Lu) (outside the south gate of Hainan University (Haida)). Evening. Regarded by locals as the best place to eat street food. There are around 40 stalls to choose from. Foreigner friendly because you can look at the food first and choose what appeals. Inexpensive ¥3-10.
- 1 Haikou Snack Street (海口骑楼小吃街), 2 Datong Road (bus routes 2, 4, 5, 8 10, 15, 22, 28, 28b, 32, 34, 38, 60, 93, 98, 106, Night Bus 夜班 1, Night Bus 夜班 2. The name of the bus stop in Chinese is Tailongcheng 泰龙城, but the English announcement on the bus calls it Haikou Snack Street), ☏ . Haikou Snack Street is a food court set inside a large Qilou-style building. There are food outlets selling a wide variety of dishes from differerent parts of Hainan, as well as from some other parts of China and Asia. The food here is generally cheap and of good quality. The place is very popular and can get very crowded on weekends. To purchase food here, one must first obtain a payment card from the cashier at the front of the building and put some money onto the card. The card can be used at any of the food outlets. After eating, you may return the card to the cashier and get a refund for any unused funds.
- Jiu Mao Jiu (九毛九), Multiple locations, ☏ (head office). One of Hainan's most successful chain restaurants. Jiu Mao Jiu was originally founded in Haikou in 1995 by a businessman from Shanxi Province. It specializes in Shanxi cuisine, particularly noodles. There are around 12 branches in Haikou. Most branches are inside shopping centers. The most centrally located branch is probably the one on the 6th floor of the Friendship Commercial Plaza (友谊商业广场) on Datong Road.
- Coconut Garden (椰乡人美食园 yē xiāngrén měishí yuán), Haifuyiheng Street (海府一横路) (east of Bailong South St), ☏ . Try the local variant of hotpot in a cosy partly outdoor environment close to small river. Several similar restaurants on the same street. ½ kg of sheep meat is ¥30.
- 2 The Manchurian (东北人), Multiple locations. The flagship restaurant is located at 49 Haixiu Avenue (海秀大道49号) near the Longhua Road intersection. See English website for other locations, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. This restaurant chain was established in Haikou in 1993 by a group of migrants from northeastern China. The chain has been fairly successful and has established branches in several other cities, including Sanya, Shenzhen, Zhuhai and Shanghai. The flagship store on Haixiu Avenue is one of the largest dumpling restaurants in Haikou. Besides dumplings, the restaurant also serves various other northeastern dishes. Dumplings are ¥22-¥25 per plate.
- Sea food restaurant at Xixiu Beach, Bīnhǎi Xīlù, Xīxiù Beach (滨海西路西秀海滩) (follow Bīnhǎi Xīlù out of the city to the west until just after the harbour area), ☏ . until 01:30. Large upscale seafood restaurant by the Xīxiù Beach (西秀海滩), which also serves vegetable and meat dishes. Do not expect a menu card, but follow the waitress around and look at the fresh food and living fish etc and point at what you want (price signs at each dish). Main dishes around ¥50.
- 3 Little India (印度泥泊尔菜), Shop 002-3, D Zone, Yusha Capital City, 21 Yusha Road (玉沙路21号玉沙京华城D区002-3号铺), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Operated by a group of people from the Indian subcontinent. Serves a wide variety of Indian and Nepalese dishes.
- 4 Hainan Restaurant (Qiongcaifang 琼菜坊), Multiple locations (The most centrally located branch is on the ground floor of the Overseas Chinese Hotel on Datong Road, close to Haikou People's Park). Haikou-based restaurant chain specializing in Hainanese cuisine. Very popular with the locals.
- 5 Chimac (趣味客), 20 Yusha Road, Longhua District (龙华区玉沙路20) (a short distance north of the intersection with Guomao Road and opposite Yusha Capital City). Western restaurant owned by David Chon, a Korean American businessman who moved to Hainan in 2017. The restaurant offers a variety of Western dishes made from both local and imported ingredients. Alcoholic beverages are also available. Another branch may be found at the Mission Hills Resort.
- 6 Yushang Jianglai Xinjiang Cuisine (御尚疆来新疆菜), 10 Jinlong Road, Longhua District (龙华区金龙路10号) (next door to AA Party; take bus no. 4, 8, 9, 13, 17, 18, 23, 28, 29, 34, 43, 48, 49, 65, 78, 79, 83 or k2 and get off at the Jinlong Road bus stop), ☏ . 10:30-21:30. A large and fairly popular Xinjiang restaurant in the Guomao area. Has a fully-illustrated menu with English translations. Dancers from Xinjiang occasionally perform on the stage on the ground floor.
- 7 Yuan'an Japanese Cuisine (元岸·和食料理), b1/13 Jinmao Middle Road, Longhua District (龙华区金贸中路13号-b1) (near the Hilton Hotel; take bus no. 3, 4, 8, 23, 34, 57, 65, 72, 78 or 79 and get off at Jinmao Middle Road), ☏ . 11:30-14:00, 17:30-23:00. A large Japanese restaurant. The restaurant is housed inside a purpose-built Japanese-style buidling. Some cats live in an enclosed area at the back of the restaurant.
Haikou has a vibrant night life. The city has many clubs and bars, most of which are busy on any night of the week.
There are several clubs on Guomao Road in the business district of Haikou. There is a bar/club area at Haikou Bay, next to Evergreen Park.
Guo Mao District
- High Love.
- Candy Land.
- Chao Chao.
- True Colors.
- Song & Song.
- 66 Club.
- 123 Ya Nuo Da.
- Beach 18, Haikou Bay, next to Evergreen Park.
- Muse, Haikou Bay, next to Evergreen Park.
Pubs and bars
Hai Dian Dao (Hai Dian Island)
- Xuewu near Heping road on Haidiandao offers a decent outdoor environment and a pub style indoor area and night BBQ. The whole BBQ chickens are recommended by other travelers.
- Heping Road on Haidian Island has many small outdoor places to drink inexpensive local beer.
- Fushan Coffee (福山咖啡; fúshān kāfēi), Bailong South Rd, 白龙南路琼苑广场道层, ☏ . Large cafe with primarily male guests hanging around for hours drinking coffee and smoking. Other branches at Bin4 Hai3 Da4 Dao4 (滨海大道会展中心附楼), Nan2 Sha1 Lu4 59 (南沙路59号), Yi4 Long2 Lu4 (义龙路市人大宾馆道层). Imported coffee at ¥15-25 a cup, local brew at ¥12 for as much as you like.
- [dead link] Coffee World Lighthouse Store, Bin Jiang Hai An (Bin Jaing Hai An Riverfront is just off the Heping Da Dao Bridge in Hai Dian Island), ☏ . 09:30-23:30. Offers 32 specialty drinks and an array of freshly made sandwiches and a nice selection of cakes and ice creams. Outdoor dining provided as well as a fully air conditioned restaurant. Coffee World Lighthouse is a Haikou City Landmark having one of the nicest outdoor balconies situated alongside the river. A relaxing environment to meet friends and entertain guests. English speaking staff. Moderate.
- Drink a fresh coconut. Vendors will chop the top off the coconut and give you a straw to drink the juice inside. Costs ¥3-4. Available on most street corners. Some shops have cold coconuts in the fridge. Some people find the cold ones more refreshing.
- As in other Chinese cities you may check apps like ctrip for hotels in Haikou, see the pictures and visit the hotel to check the rooms in the spot.
- Haikou Banana Hostel, 3-4 Liyuan Villas, Renmin Da Dao (behind the 'yi jia yi), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. A member of International Youth Hostel association has English speaking staff. All rooms have private bathroom with hot water shower. Double/twin and dorm rooms have western toilet and air-con. Wi-fi is free. English book exchange. Italian cook serving authentic Italian food in evenings. Prices start at ¥40-45 for the dorm, or ¥80 for a private room.
- Hainan Airlines Business Hotel, 38 Datong Rd, Longhua District, ☏ . Four-star hotel with rooms with Internet access. Multifunction banquet hall, function rooms and business center available. Japanese-Korean restaurant. From ¥274.
- Hainan Huatian Hotel, No. 9-1 North Longkun Road, Longhua District, ☏ . This four-star hotel is also near a number of city attractions, shopping malls, and business establishments. Each of the hotel’s Hainan accommodation is furnished with air-conditioning, cable TV, and Internet access. From ¥226.
- [dead link] Hainan Xinyuan Hot Spring Hotel, 18-8 Haixiu Rd. Longhua District. The 4-star hotel provides natural hot spring water in each of its 351 rooms. It also boasts KTV rooms, bar, restaurant, sauna cabin, spa, and a 300-capacity conference hall with translation systems. Rates around ¥300.
- Home Inn. Has two branches: one is at 61 Bailong Rd and the other is more centrally at 91 Haixiu Middle Rd. This nationwide chain offers two-star European standard with broadband cabling in each room. Staff helpfulness makes up for limited English though you can get lucky with one or two at the reception almost half the time. The member's card costs ¥40 and obtains a 10% discount on all room rates nationwide. Single ¥169.
- International Financial (Jasper) Hotel, 29 Datong Rd. Longhua District. The 4-star hotel particularly suits business travelers, as it provides deluxe rooms and meeting spaces, and low-key recreation nooks. Online booking available on the website. ¥250-600.
- Crown Spa Resort Hainan, 1 Qiongshan Av, East Riverside, ☏ . Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. This five star hotel is ideal for individuals wishing to enjoy spa services and a first class hotel in a seaside setting. The rooms are deluxe with appropriate amenities. There are five restaurants within the resort offering a wide array of cuisine dining options. In addition there is nightly entertainment in the resort's lobby area. There is a separate Convention Center and a separate Spa Center. The Spa has those ex-foliating fish, very ticklish at first. The resort has wonderful gardens and has a large pool area with a high temperature outdoor pool. The resort offers its guests a courtesy shuttle bus service to the city center of Haikou for those wishing to explore the city.
Cars and motorbikes often do not signal, but otherwise are safe. At night, many vehicles use high beams.
- Wenchang (文昌) is one of the provincial of Hainan Province in southern China and is located at the north-east coast of Hainan Island. Is the centre of Han settlement and the place where standard Hainanese is spoken. It is also one of the main sources of Hainanese migration overseas (Malaysia, Singapore & Thailand). It takes about 60 minutes by car from Haikou to Wenchang. A bus leaves from the East Bus Station (Haifu Rd.). It takes about 1 hour and costs ¥17/person. Buses leave 06:40-20:30 every 30 minutes. East Bus Station, Haifu dadao, opposite Wugongci (Wugong shrine). Telephone: 0898-65370453
- Bo'ao (博鳌) is a small town on the east coast of Hainan Island, China. At the mouth of the Wanquan river Boao is best known for the annual Boao Forum for Asia. Because of this prestigious event the town is impeccably maintained year round with blooming planters and clean swept streets. It has a diverse selection of ethnic restaurants as well as one of the most well known seafood eateries on the island. Peaceful and quiet, Boao is the perfect place that combines international savvy with small town appeal. Dotted with ancient temples and surrounded by lush rice fields, Boao is the perfect beach getaway for those who want to avoid the crowds and high prices of Sanya. Take the bus from Haikou to QiongHai(¥35)then bus #2 to Boao.
- Sanya, at the southern side of the island, is famous for its beaches and offers the best tourist facilities on the island. The bus journey to Sanya takes 3½ hours from Haikou and costs about ¥78. The high speed trains to Sanya are faster (2 hours), but a bit more expensive (around ¥100).
- Central Mountains. You have not really seen Hainan if you do not visit the mountains. Largely undeveloped, very scenic.
- There are sometimes tours to Vietnam and the Philippines, by boat out of Haikou. These are designed for Chinese rather than international tourists, so they tend to give good value for money but not Western comforts. Boats depart from Xiuying Port. As of December 2017, cruises were available to Halong Bay, Da Nang, and Nha Trang in Vietnam, and Manila and Laoag in the Philippines. Cruises are operated by Diamond Cruise [dead link] (钻石国际邮轮公司).
- Haikou is a major starting point to explore Hainan island by bicycle. Many travelers on bikes choose either track along the Western coast, the Eastern coast or the central island track, all leading to Hainan's southern city Sanya, or of course circle the island following the coast line.