Hainan, China

Position of Hainan in China
ProvinceHǎi nán 'sea south'
Short name Qióng
Population10.081 million (0.71%) [28th] comparison table
Area34,000 km2 [13,127 mile2] (0.35%) [28th]
GDP54,878 (2.21%) [21st]
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Beijing Tianjin Shanghai Hong Kong Xinjiang Tibet Qinghai Gansu Inner Mongolia Heilongjiang Jilin Liaoning Yunnan Sichuan Guangxi Hainan Taiwan Guangdong Guizhou Chongqing Ningxia Shandong Fujian Zhejiang Shaanxi Shanxi Hebei Henan Hunan Hubei Jiangxi Anhui Jiangsu

Hainan Island is China's southernmost province; although China does lay claim to island groups in the South China Sea which are administered from Hainan (including the disputed Paracel and Spratly Islands). It is a tropical paradise for Chinese tourists seeking sun and sand and so it is promoted as the ‘Eastern Hawaii’. The mountainous interior is home to the indigenous Li and Miao peoples (now only 15% of the island's population). The local dialect Hainanese is hard for Mandarin speakers to understand.

Hainan, Sanya, beach, coast
The beach at Sanya, Hainan island

Places to Visit in Hainan

Haikou on the northern tip is the gateway to the island and the largest city. It has several historic sites including Wugong Temple . The famous poet Su Shi/Su Dongpo is commemorated at the Dongpo Academy there. Since 2012 the World Open Snooker tournament has been held at Haikou. Elsewhere there are very few old buildings. Sanya at the southern tip of the island is the main beach resort. The best beaches are a little way from the town: Tianyahaijiao ; Yalong Bay and Dadonghai. Nearby Nanshan is famous for the long life of its people and its pine trees. Large scale clearance of the inland tropical forest in the 1960s and 1970s has unfortunately damaged the fragile eco-system of the island's interior. The Jianfeng Ling nature reserve in the south-west offers a glimpse of the wide range of wildlife.

Hainan, Haikou, modern housing
Haikou city, Hainan island

Gusong village near Wenchang allows visitors to see a traditional small Hainanese village. Wenchang Chicken is the best known Hainanese dish. Gusong is the ancestral home of the famous Song sisters, one married the banker H. H. Kung , another Chiang Kaishek and the third Sun Yatsen. China has built a massive, new space exploration center at Wenchang Launch Center which is now the main base for rocket launches.

The Xinglong area is well known in China for its coffee. Tongshi near Wuzhishan is the capital for the Li and Miao minority people on the island. Qiongzhong has an impressive 984 feet [300 meters] waterfall. Perhaps the most famous mountain is Wǔzhǐ Shān - a mountain with five peaks. 湾猴 Nán wān hóu dǎo off the south-east coast is an island with a large macaque monkey population.

Hainan, waterfall
Wuzhishan forest waterfall, Hainan island
Hainan, forest, view, mountains
Tropical forest park, Hainan island

Hainan History

Throughout much of its history Hainan has been on the outermost fringe of Chinese control. Originally known as Qiongzhou ; a military garrison was set up here in early Han dynasty times. Han people began to settle in large numbers in the northern part of the island during the Song dynasty. At this time officials were sent to the remote island as a punishment. The most famous person to be banished was the great poet Su Shi. During the Yuan dynasty Hainan was governed as an independent province. Subsequent immigration in the Ming dynasty led to some conflict with the indigenous Li people about land ownership. Over the centuries many Hainanese emigrated to other lands in South East Asia, Hong Kong was a popular destination in later years. In the Civil War many Communists who fled from Shanghai put up spirited resistance against the nationalists here. Hostilities with neighboring Vietnam in the 1980s led to the construction of a string of naval bases along the western coast. In 1988 it was split off as a separate province from neighboring Guangdong and became a Special Economic Zone (SEZ). There followed a brief financial boom with many people engaged in lucrative and illegal import businesses.

Nowadays rich Chinese people have chosen to buy retirement homes on the island, increasing the demand for housing along the coast. Tourists also come in large numbers to appreciate the tropical warmth for a short winter break. Later on in the year the island is frequently blasted by typhoons from May through to October.

Hainan, Guanyin, Sanya, deity
Statue of Guanyin (Guanshiyin or Avalokitesvara), Goddess of Mercy, Sanya, Hainan

Hainan Geography

The maritime tropical climate makes Hainan suitable for rice; sugar cane; coffee; rubber and coconut production. It is located just south of the Tropic of Cancer. To emphasize the tropical climate, a Coconut Festival is held on the island in March/April. Industry is limited but there are large iron; zirconium; titanium; copper and coal deposits that are now mined. There is a large salt field at Yinggehai, and an offshore gas field to the west. There are plans to build up the gambling industry with super-casinos to rival those of Macau and Las Vegas .


Haikou Meilan International Airport 海口美兰国际机场 HAK IATA / ZJHK ICAO
The airport has 1 terminal and is located 15.5 miles (25.0 kms) from Haikou. Live Flight information , Airport information , rank in China 19
International Links to :Thailand Japan Korea
See map of location Haikou Meilan International Airport
Sanya Phoenix International Airport 三亚凤凰国际机场 SYX IATA / ZJSY ICAO
The airport has 1 terminal and is located 9.3 miles (15.0 kms) from Sanya. Live Flight information , Airport information , rank in China 20
See map of location Sanya Phoenix International Airport
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Hainan Climate

Climate Chart for Hainan
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Major CitiesPopulation
Haikou 615,835
Qionghai 480,000
Sanya 144,753

City populations for 2012, Province statistics National Bureau of Statistics 2014

See also