Lingshui is not as built-up as other parts of Hainan such as Haikou or Sanya and as a result it retains its unspoilt charm. The county boasts varied landscapes from beaches and islands on the coast, to mountains and tropical forests in the interior.
The administrative capital and largest town is Yelin (椰林镇) .
By high-speed train
- 1 Lingshui Railway Station (陵水站), 269 Yelin North Avenue (椰林北大道269号). Lingshui's train station is on the high speed rail line which links all the main places on Hainan. As of July 2020, a one-way first class ticket from Haikou's Meilan Airport costs ¥98 or ¥104 and a one-way second class ticket cost ¥72. The journey takes approximately 1 hour 15 minutes and there are announcements in Mandarin and English. You can also take the train here from Sanya's Fenghuang Airport. The train from Fenghuang Airport only takes around 35 minutes.
- 2 Lingshui Bus Station (陵水汽车站) (The bus station is just next door to the railway station). This is a new bus station, which opened in December 2019. The old Lingshui Bus Station on Xinjian Road is now closed.
Buses to Lingshui are available from most major cities and towns on the island. Buses from Haikou depart from the Haikou East Bus Station and cost ¥70. Buses from Sanya depart from the main bus station and cost ¥29.
Most buses arrive at the Lingshui Bus Station in Yelin, but there are also direct buses from Sanya to Clearwater Bay (Qingshui Bay 清水湾) and Tufu Bay (土福湾). If travelling to Perfume Bay (Xiangshui Bay 香水湾), however, you will need to change buses at Yelin.
The main forms of transportation in Lingshui are public buses and taxis.
- 1 Nanwan Monkey Island (南湾猴岛, Nánwān hóu dǎo), Xincun Town, Lingshui (Take the Lingshui-Xincun Bus from Yelin Town to the final stop and walk approximately 300 m to the cable car ticket office. Alternatively, catch the free shuttle bus from the Lingshui High Speed Train Station. You can also catch an express bus from Sanya Railway Station for ¥25), ☏ . 08:30-17:00, ticket office closes at 16:30. Nanwan Monkey Island is a nature reserve created for Macaque monkeys which are a Class 2 Protected Species in China. There are there are over 2500 monkeys living in the reserve. Be careful, these monkeys are playful and will jump on humans and if hungry, may attack people for sweet drinks or food! There are also some circus-style comedy shows featuring monkeys doing stunts. The reserve is connected to the mainland by China's longest cable car to cross over a body of water. The cable car ride is worth taking just for the spectacular views of Lingshui's coast. ¥143 (includes cable car ride or ferry trip plus monkey show). Children, students, elderly people, and tour groups are eligible for discounted prices..
- 2 Boundary Island (分界洲岛) (The ferry terminal is situated at the Niu Ling Exit of Hainan's main highway. Take Intercity Bus no. 3 from Lingshui Railway Station), ☏ , . 08:30-17:30. Boundary Island is a small island situated off the coast of Lingshui. It is very popular with visitors to Lingshui thanks to a combination of the beautiful scenery and a wide variety of activities:
Aquarium: With daily dolphin and sea lion shows.
Watersports such as jet skiing and parasailing are available on the beach.
Diving: the waters around Boundary Island have excellent visibility and diverse sea life.
In addition to this there are several restaurants with great views over the ocean and lots of small stalls selling snacks and refreshments. ¥128-132 depending on season (includes entrance fee and ferry trip to and from the island).
- 3 Yetian Ancient Village (椰田古寨), Yingzhou Village, Yingzhou Town, Lingshui County (海南省陵水县英州镇英州村) (Catch a bus heading to Sanya and get off at the Yingzhou Intersection. Yetian Ancient Village is 200 m from the intersection. From the Lingshui Railway Station, catch Intercity Bus no. 3), ☏ . 08:00-17:00. Yetian Ancient Village is a cultural experience centre in Lingshui County which allows visitors to experience the cultures of the Li and Miao ethnic minorities who are indigenous to the area. As well as being built in the traditional style, the workers are all members of the ethnic minorities and are on hand to guide visitors through the centre. Visitors can see how traditional arts and crafts such as silverware, pottery and weaving are made and there are regular performances of their traditional dances. ¥10.
- 4 Diao Luo Mountain National Forest Park (吊罗山国家森林公园) (The park is about 17 km north of Lingshui Railway Station. It's possible to get a bus to the park from the station but it's best to come here by car, as the park has no internal bus network and it's a 40-minute drive from the entrance to the nearest attraction). 08:30-16:30. Diao Luo Mountain National Forest Park was created in 1994 by the Chinese Government to protect the tropical forest in the area. It is popular with hikers and travellers who want to escape the heat and sun of the beaches. There are walkways around scenic spots such as Little Sister Lake and Fengguo Waterfall, but asides from that the area is not very commercialised. A hotel can be found in Du Jia Village if visitors wish to extend their stay. ¥35.
- 5 Perfume Bay (Xiangshui Bay, 香水湾) (Buses to Perfume Bay depart from Sanya Railway Station and also stop at Lingshui Railway Station. Buses are also available from Lingshui Bus Station but are much less frequent). This stretch of beach is rather undeveloped and thus delightfully peaceful (it will probably be only you for a good kilometer on either side). Visiting here is a delightful and mind-cleaning day trip, especially if joined with some hiking around the surrounding farms. Watch out for strong rip tides and pack snacks.
- 6 Clearwater Bay (Qingshui Bay, 清水湾) (Accessible by bus from Sanya and central Lingshui. From Lingshui Railway Station, take bus no. 23 and get off at the final stop). A 12km coastal strip stretching from Yingzhou Town to Xincun Town. Clearwater Bay is more popular and more developed than Perfume Bay but the area still remains rather quiet compared with Sanya. Unfortunately, swimming is prohibited due to dangerous waves. Free.
- 1 Haiyun Plaza (海韵广场, Haiyun Square), 8 South Binhe Road, Yelin Town (椰林镇滨河南路8号) (In the town center). 08:00-24:00. Lingshui's largest modern shopping center.
- Dan Jia Yu Pai (疍家渔排) — one of Lingshui's most unique features. It's in the harbour of Xin Cun Village, close to the Ticket Office of the Nan Wan Monkey Island Cable Car. Dan Jia Yu Pai is a floating village which has been home to the Dan people for many generations. It is still a working fishing harbour, although the residents have started to diversify and now visitors can enjoy a meal in one of the floating restaurants. Due to its proximity to Nan Wan Monkey Island it is recommended to visit both in the same day.
- 1 Mytikas Water Park (麦迪卡斯水乐园), Li'an Town (黎安镇) (About 10 km by road from the center of Yelin Town). 11:00-19:00, no entry after 18:00. Some attractions close at 15:00. The park is closed from January 1st to June 25th. After a 3-day open period between June 25th and June 27th, the park is shut again until July 2nd, after which time it is open from Thursday to Sunday. From August 1st to the end of December, the park is open every day. Lingshui's only water park. The park was opened in 2018 and parts of it are still under construction. ¥200.
- 2 Agile Clearwater Bay Arts Centre (雅居乐海上艺术中心), Clearwater Bay Avenue (清水湾大道). A performing arts center.
- 3 Clearwater Bay Golf Club (清水湾高尔夫球会), Clearwater Bay Avenue, Yingzhou Town (英州镇清水湾大道), ☏ . 06:00-19:00. Designed by Schmidt-Curley Design, a US golf course design company. Visitors should pay a minimum of ¥800 to play 9 holes or ¥1645 to play 18 holes. Additional fees apply for the hiring of equipment, including ¥400 for a set of clubs.
Things to eat
- Sour Noodles: Each area of Hainan has its own style of Sour Noodles (酸粉) so it's worth giving them a try. This popular dish is sold in both restaurants and on street side stalls throughout Lingshui. On average a bowl of Sour Noodles will cost less than ¥10.
- Seafood: You can't come to Hainan and not try the seafood. Seafood restaurants with rows of fish tanks displaying your options are found on every street. Go in and select exactly what you want and they cook it fresh to order.
- Pufferfish Porridge: Pufferfish porridge is a speciality of the area and is eaten as a accompaniment to fresh seafood.
- 1 Tiffany's Western Restaurant (蒂芙尼西餐厅), Narada Resort Perfume Bay in Xiangshui (海南香水湾君澜度假酒店) (15 km northeast of Lingshui Railway Station on the Hainan Circular Expressway), ☏ . Excellent choice of western classics with creative use of local ingredient. Also serving first class hamburgers. Moderate for a five-star hotel.
- Coconut Juice: Thanks to the abundance of coconut groves on the island you'll see stalls on every street with mounds of fresh cocounts outside. For a refreshing break, make sure to pick up a fresh coconut and sit back and relax.
- 1 Badminton Hotel (陵水伯明顿酒店), Binhe Road South, Yelin Town (椰林镇滨河南路) (Take a taxi from the Lingshui High Speed Railway Station. The distance from the station is about 4km.), ☏ . Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. The hotel is next to the China National Badminton Team‘s Lingshui Training Base, hence the name Badminton Hotel. Prices start from ¥298.
- 2 Raffles Hainan (海南雅居乐莱佛士酒店), Clearwater Bay Avenue, Yingzhou Town (英州镇清水湾大道), ☏ , toll-free: . Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. Prices start from around ¥1300.
- 3 Xiangshui Bay Marriott Resort & Spa (香水湾富力万豪度假酒店), Zone B, Xiangshui Bay Tourism Zone, Guangpo Town (光坡镇香水湾旅游度假区B区), ☏ . Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. The resort has two wings, north and south, which are 1.5 kilometres apart. The coordinates here are for the north wing. Prices start from about ¥550.