Trip to Hainan Island January 26-31 2010 

Written by Feb 4, 2010 21:05
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Introduction and First 12 hours

I am an English and Finance teacher at a university in Yangzhou in Jiangsu Province, Yangzhou is about a hour and half bus ride south of Nanjing and four hours northwest of Shanghai. Though the winters here are short, December and January, there is a nasty wetness to the cold. This year I resolved to get away to the warmest place in China in winter, Hainan Island.

My girlfriend signed us up for a four day/five night tour at 2050rmb per person. My girlfriend is from Beijing. I am not fluent in Chinese and would have not enjoyed this tour with her as the tour guide could not speak English and all the other tourists were Chinese,

The tour advertised meals included. I had budgeted 5000 rmb with the expectation that we could spend up to 5500 on recreation.ground ransportation and souvenirs.
Well, we exceeded our budget, we spent 6250 rmb, though we did only a third of the elective activities offered by the tour. Almost a 1000 rmb was spent on see three places on tour which were not free. I will discuss this aspect of the tour in more detail later.

Our evening flight arrived in Haikou at 8pm in the evening. It was foggy when we arrived and probably 16 or 17 degree celsius. As we disembarked, the stewardess annnounced that the iarport was 25 kilometers from the center of Haikou. I anticipated about 20-25 minute journey but it took about forty five minutes before we arrived at out hotel which is in the city, though not the Central Business District.

Note that there is a difference in service that is provided by drivers of buses, vans and taxis here than in the West. Here the driver's job is merely to drive. The driver here led us on a about a quarter of a mile trek to get to the van, including a flight up a full story of stairs. He did not offer to help with luggage until I demanded where he was taking us in the darkness on foot.

The Hotel, a four or five story structure was once elegant, but had fallen from its former glory though underinvestment in repair to the courtyard and roof and substandard mainntenance and cleaning. Our room had a gaming table and several chairs that were either left over from the last guest or being stored there. We protested but were told that nothing could be done could be done to change hotels that night.

We wandered outside and found two food vendors cooking seafood, rice and vegetables. It smelled good, but we were eager to explore and get a glimpse of the beach. We took a walk and a bus to place which I believe was called Green garden. There was an arcade to a picnic area that was not particualrly clean. Many locals, especially teenagers were hanging out. There is a beach in Haikou but it was not near our hotel.

Perhaps we could not see the beauty because of the darkness but we returned to the Hotel and bought food from the vendors. I eschewed my policy of rejecting street food and ate a selection of seafood and vegetables that was pretty good.

The next morning, we had a breakfast of jiaozi and porridge before getting on the bus. I must note that passengers are expected to place the luggage below in the cargo area of the bus. I am 1.89 meters and much taller than the other passengers. It is a chore to get down to cargo area. After I finished storing the bags I stood up. The back of my shirt hit the dirty cargo door, causing a big grease spot. This grease spot and dirty room and hotel were a preview of things to come from this tour company.

Haikou to Sanya day 1

Our tour bus took us through the central business district of Haikou. On the way we saw palms trees that reminds me of Los Angeles and Southern California. The temperature was about 18 celsisus and it was sunny. We saw some old buildings and others that semed to be prematurely aged due to weather. Haikou is in the path of monsoons.

The office and apartment buildings in the Central Business District looked quite good. There were several hotels that had expensive shrubbery and facades.
Our first destination was Boao.

On the way there we began to see yaks and buffalo grazing in fields of rice and other crops. Some farmers were using them to till fields with a wooden plow. There were no tractors or another vehicles in sight. In many parts of Jiangsu province chickens are ubiquitous, however, I have seen few cattle. Here, however, cattle and dogs were dominant. I saw few birds even at the shore where you would expect to see egrets, herons and seagulls.

In Midday, it began to warm up, we were at 21 to 22 degress Celsius. We made a stop at a coffee plantation where we had a short presentation, After the presentation, we then were chanelled into a figure S maze around twenty counters where positioned at eech curve were product samples and girls hawking products.

This is a common technique we saw on this trip. It is similar to what you see bears do while fishing for salmon. The bears sit in the river or at the rapids while the salmon come by and take swipes at them. If the bears miss a few salmon, no problem! There is always another one coming! At every tour stop we saw other buses carrying other passengers who turned out to the part of the salmon fed to these stores.

On the way to Boao, I heard the sound of clutch and driving gears grind. The driver was unable to change to fourth gear at all and some times third gear. For those who drive standard vehicles, you recognize this grinding and inability to shift as a transmission and gear problem. I blurted out in chinese to the tour guide we need a new bus. I told my girlfriend to text the tour operator in nanjing and inform them of the problem. She did text them.

About fifiteen minutes later other passengers noted the problem, the tour guide acknowledged the problem grudgingly but the driver denied the bus had a problem. The tour guide promised to get the bus that evening but I insisted now. The Nanjing operator called but my girlfriend was exhausted from having to fight for a clean hotel the night before, listen to me harp on the grease spot on my back, tell the tour guide what the problem was with bus and now tell Nanjing that bus was unsafe.

She did not answer the call, but people did not follow up and call the tour guide. (I have already met with representatives of the tour operator in Yanzhou and told them I will bring this to regulatory body, if they don't take remedial measures and investigate this incident)

Returning to journey to Boao, I reemember seeing a beautiful temple as we exited the main highway to hit a secondary road, Boao is the site of an international conference of Asian conference countries in February 2009. The huge conference center here sites on confluence of three rivers just before they meet the Pacific ocean. There are beautiful villas and apartment buildings completed and under construction. Our first elective tour was to take a boat over to a beach, claimed by the tour operator to be the longest in the world,

It was hot on the beach, I am thinking it was 25 or 26 celsius. We had less about a half hour to do picture taking and actually stick our feet in the water. Though there is development, there is pristine beach and activivies such as golf. We also had a chance to ride on the river and see the buildings including the temple. this trip was good but marred to some extent by passengers who had squirt guns and bombarded all passengers with water. I had to stand look these people in the eye and tell them no to get them to not spray us. In general, the passengers were friendly towards me. I am an african american. (I saw no americans or other foreginers until day 3 in Sanya)

We had lunch in a hotel in fishing village close to Boao. Here we were to get the first of many servings of the standard lunch and dinner menu. The menu consists of one or two fish, rice, bean product, vegetables, occassionally Ji Dan (chicken egg) and tang and pork. Our evening activity was a show by boys who were groomed to be feminine. After hearing the sad story of these boys. We stayed in this town about hours drive from Boao and had our best hotel stay of the journey. The hotel had a main building which was main building which was old but flanked with new additions.There was oudoor swimming pool and fish therapy pool flaked by a barbecue area..

The rack rate on this hotel is about 550 per night. One of the advanatges of a tour is to be able a get a hotel like this and meals taken care of.

 More Hainan Travel Reviews
1. Sea Change_ Xincun 新村 JABAROOTOO from CN Dec 12, 2009 03:07
2. My Experience in Boao,Hainan VIGORHE from CN Sep 23, 2009 02:55
3. Fat Daddy''s Restaurant Sanya!!! DIESELC from AF Aug 17, 2009 20:32
Comments (6)


Oct 13, 2010 04:12 Reply

FLYING320326 said:

not all the group travel is like this, different price ,different enjoyment.


Oct 13, 2010 04:10 Reply

FLYING320326 said:

ah, for me , first, i am sorry to hear that. yeah, u did a bad/not very good trip on hainan this time. but i think u did a wrong way when u did your choice. i mean that u should never jion in the such tour group which just spend u little money. all the money for your trip fees is not enough your all trip at all. so the travel company can not give a good accomadation,meals, and even transportation(your flight and coach),and some spots fees, guide service. this is a bad shows in the travel, be care next time. i hope u can come to hainan by yourselves or take part in a really travel tour group. i am an english guide on hainan island. hope to see u next time here.


Oct 13, 2010 04:00 Reply

FLYING320326 said:

yeah, we called them lady-boy. the small boys whom been used to use the medicine to change there sex appearence,when they are growing up,they dress up like a girl,actually, they are really nice and smart. u can just see them on hainan island. such as in xinglong town and san ya city.


Sep 10, 2010 08:40 Reply


Interesting and thank you. When will we get the rest of the trip ?

I heard about the feminine-boys show too. It seems famous in Hainan, what is the name of the place or location ?


Jun 25, 2010 11:51 Reply


You really don't need to take part in any travel group.You can find some private guide and your friend is a Chinese. Solo always.

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