SANYA
The Chinese Riviera

(Beach at Luhuitou Bay.)
LUHUITOU BAY

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Copy, in whole, or in part, without express permission of the author is illegal.

Story and Photos by

LEE A. WOOD

Wednesday, after searching the few travel agents along Xizang Nan Lu, in Shanghai, we chose the Shanghai Qiangsheng International Tourism Co.

Yang Po, the travel agent who waited on us, says the house number is `1' but after searching the other buildings I would say it was closer to `11' as it is two doors South of `7'.

Our selection of agent was based on price; they were $1,000 cheaper than their closest competitor, and their price remained the same for foreigners.

When first asking prices, Bin went in without me. Some agents wanted extra if one of the travellers was non-Chinese.

Yang Po knows no English but was very helpful, though he did spend a lot of time talking to a customer on the phone while in the midst of our transaction.

The agency does not accept credit cards so we had to pay the full amount, $1,050 each, in cash.

Tickets are not given at the time they are purchased as they are made out by the air line and then sent to the travel agent.

Friday we went back to pick up our tickets.

(Travel agent.)
QIANGSHENG TOURISM
(Airplane at airport.)
SHANGHAI AIRLINES
Pudong Airport

The tickets were purchased in mid December `03. Note the steel beams, in the picture. I couldn't step back any further to take the picture as there was more metal behind me and a temporary stairway above me.

When I went back in January to book a second trip I had trouble finding the place as the stairway was gone. The street construction had moved on.

Shanghai is undergoing mass reconstruction and expansion.

* * * * * * * * *

Hainan is a province and an island. It is China's smallest province yet its largest island.

The provincial capital, Haikou, is on the Northern shore of the island.

Sanya is on the Southern tip of the island.

(Airplane unloading at night.)
SANYA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
(Airplane at night, parked.)
SANYA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

When we arrived in Sanya the streets were alive with people. Huge screens were set up in parks and throngs were watching the results of the Miss World competition. It was the final night.

(Exterior of hotel.)
HOPE CHINA SEA-VIEW HOTEL
(Interior, lobby, check-in)

Hua Xin Hai Jing Hotel (Hope China Sea-view Hotel.) Hai Hua Lu, Dadong Sea, Sanya, Hainan, China Ph. (0890) 88677888

(Sign with room prices.)
(Interior of room.)

(View from room, between two large buildings.)
SANYA BAY
(View from hotel.)
SUNRISE OVER SANYA

(Fresh fish aquariums.)
FRESH SEAFOOD
Dinning Room
(People picking out food from tables.)
BREAKFAST SMORGASBORD

(Bus.)
OUR BUS FOR THE WEEK
Hainan Travel & Tour Co.
(Two people pose at front of bus.)
(L to R) WU QIANG, GUIDE - XING LI, DRIVER

As chance would have it, when we got out of the airport, we got the front seat, on the passenger side, of the bus.

Therefore I was able to take a lot of pictures that I, otherwise, wouldn't have been able to get.

(Freeway.)
SANYA
(Freeway.)
FENGHUANG LU

This new freeway, across the back of Sanya, was built for the Miss World Competition, as was the convention auditorium which held the contest.

(Building beside freeway.)
BEAUTY CROWN CULTURE CENTER
( Building shaped like a crown.)
HOME OF THE, `04, `MISS WORLD' COMPETITION

The first place we went on our tour was, the Nanshan Dongtian Tourism Zone, a lovely park, West of Sanya.

(Freeway.)
WEST BOUND
This freeway follows the coast line along the Southern shore of Hainan Island.
(People on a sidewalk.)
ENTRANCE
Nanshan Dongtian Tourism Zone.

A paved pathway follows the water's edge.

(Banners hanging from a pole.)
(Palm trees, rocky beach, water.)
SOUTH CHINA SEA
(Palm trees above the beach.)
(A long set of stairs leading to some statues.)
PUNTAS

Legend has it that several monks broke away from their monastery to become missionaries to a new land. A storm destroyed their ship but the monks were so important that the Gods sent giant sea turtles to save them.

The turtles brought them ashore at this point.

The monks gained Punta status through their dedication.

(Giant, concrete, turtles.)
(Bin poses beside a concrete turtle.)
(Sign above a beach.)
SMALL MOON BAY
(Bin walks, quickly, backwards to avoid a wave.)
(Granite plaque carved into a rock.)
(People in front of a cave)
LITTLE SKY CAVE
(Words carved into a rock.)
(People looking at the rock beside the tree.)
This tree is reputed to be 3,000 years old.
(A rocky beach.)
SMALL MOON BAY
(Busses in parking lot.)
ON TO THE NEXT TOURIST ATTRACTION.

Our tour guide got us going early in the mornings but we were one step ahead of the rest of the busses.

Whenever we would arrive at a spot there would be only a few busses in the parking lots.

When we left the parking lots would be filled.

TIANYA HAI JIAO


TIANYA HAI JIAO
Tourist Attraction

The second place we went on our tour was a lovely park west of Sanya, but closer to Sanya than our first stop.

We followed a paved pathway through pleasant gardens to the water's edge.

It was a lovely beach but we were told it wasn't safe for swimming.

However there were youngsters swimming around the rocks and finding beautiful shells which they tried to sell to us.

(Sign telling of the attractions.)
((People walking through the entrance.)

Everywhere we went there were signs proclaiming the Miss World Contest

(Bin holding banner that says Miss World.)
MISS WORLD `04.
(Bushes trimmed to look like a dragon.)
DRAGON
One of the many animal-like floral arrangements.
(Beach and gentle waves.)
LOOKING NORTH
(Beach and gentle waves.)
SOUTH CHINA SEA
(Beach and gentle waves.)
LOOKING SOUTH
(Chinese style boats.)
SOUTH CHINA SEA
(Gazebo surrounded by palm trees.)
TIANYA ROAMING AREA
(Wooden sign)

After the second beach, we stopped for lunch

(Exterior of restaurant.)
(Interior of restaurant.)

After lunch we went through Sanya to the Luhuitou Peninsula

(People on beach and in water.)
LUHUITOU BAY
(Bin sitting on beach.)

(People in boat at wharf.) LINK To, DIVING IN SANYA, pictures, and story, of Sanya beach the third beach we visited.

Then it was back to our hotel and a pleasant supper followed by an evening of just walking about the streets.

DAY 2: After breakfast we headed North on the freeway to Haikou.

(Cars on freeway.)
HAIKOU FREEWAY
(Tree lined side road.)
PLEASANT SIDE ROAD

After the beach we went to what was to be the first of several sales centers.

This place specialized in jewellery made from pearls and they even had a demonstration of how to open the oysters to look for a pearl.

(Front of the building and grounds.)
SANYA JINGRUN PEARL CULTURAL CENTER

CENTRAL COURTYARD

The FOURTH BEACH on our tour


ENTRANCE TO YALONG BAY.
New asphalt and colourful banners adorned many of the freeways, in preparation for the Miss World Competition.

Yalong Bay is a tourist spot with several large hotels, a large beach, and a coral reef.

(Roof of hotel.)
UNIVERSAL HOTEL
A large eagle graces the roof.
(Front entrance)
UNIVERSAL HOTEL.
Elephants on parade.
(Lady leaning on a large sea shell that says Yalong Bay.)
(A large sign with pictures.)
WATERY THINGS TO DO
All the usual tourist things, jet boats, glass bottom boats, SCUBA, etc.
(Entrance to a large hotel.)
HOLIDAY INN
(Beach side of hotel.)
HOLIDAY INN
Just in case you want to know the time.
(Tourist on the beach.)
LOOKING NORTH
Plenty of tourists and lots of sand.
(Black clouds hanging over a deserted beach.)
LOOKING SOUTH
The weather was not conducive to swimming.

Back on the freeway we headed to what was to be the first of two tourist traps made up to resemble native villages.

Here we would meet; short, pretty, dark skinned, girls, who would put us into a pleasant mood.

Both places, of course, would have souvenir, and food, stands.

Unlike the sales centers, which had neither.

(Freeway enters a tunnel)
(Inside the tunnel.)
(Rice paddies beside the freeway.)
(Crops beside the freeway.)

I don't know which village I enjoyed the most.

They were both quite unique, although I am told there are several like the first one, scattered across the island.

LING SHUI COCONUT FIELD VILLAGE

I am not sure where we were other than the we were North bound on the freeway from Sanya to Haikou.

We turned right off the freeway and then circled back underneath the freeway.

(Dirt road going under freeway.)
(Purple banner over entrance into village.)

I don't know what it cost to enter as our fee was include in our tour package.

When you enter, you must pass through a swarm of young girls. If you talk to the girls, or accept a gift from one of them, you can not leave the village until you marry her.

(Tourists passing through the gauntlet of girls.)
A GAUNTLET OF PRETTY MAIDENS
(A lone male passes through the gauntlet.)
A STRAGGLER
Perhaps he is looking for a bride.

The girls will rub your cheek, or your tummy, whichever is most prominent, to try to get you to talk. They will also try to put a string around your neck.

(Sign at entrance.)
(Banging on a drum.)
PERCUSSION INSTRUMENTS
Each tourist is given a pair of sticks and encouraged to bang on everything in sight.
(A bamboo building.)
ENTRANCE TO A RESTAURANT
(Interior of the restaurant.)
(Twisted trees)
(Girls in pretty costumes.)
FOR A PRICE
you can put on a costume and have your picture taken.
(Man with a snake.)
STAGE SHOW
(Two girls on a veranda.)
STAGE SHOW IN A TREE HOUSE
Three boys will vie for the favours of these two girls.
(Ponies drag a travois around a yard.)
FOR A PRICE
you can have a ride on the (Chinese style) travois.
(Lee holding a little girl in costume.)
FOR A PRICE
you can have your picture taken with a pretty lady.
$5.00 for a young lady, $2.00 for this little girl.

From here you pass through a building, where there are some souvenir stands, and into another area where there is another stage show.

Unbeknownst to me, I believe, each group is followed by some of the costumed ladies.

I was sitting watching the stage show, assuming some of the others of my group were amongst the audience.

After I had been there for sometime I thought I should find the rest of my group as maybe they were wondering where I was.

When I got up to leave, I didn't recognize anyone in the audience.

Seeing that I was looking lost, a pretty, costumed, lady game to me and led me through the maze of passageways until we caught up with my group.

Before she left she offered me a gift on a string, from around her neck.

Thinking that this was maybe the same gimmick as at the entrance, I refused her gift.

Looking unhappy that I had rejected her gift she wished me farewell.

I have often wondered, since, if maybe she was just being polite and had offered me the gift out of kindness. Perhaps I was being rude to have refuted her generosity.

Sometimes being unable to understand languages is a great handy cap.

After that you make your way out through a long line of souvenir stands.

The next stop was a the demonstration center for a company that manufactures dehydrated sea food.

(People in a small room.)
PRODUCT DEMONSTRATION
(Young children)

At each point of the tour you can tell the guide, before he buys the tickets, that you do not wish to go. At the end of the tour you will be reimbursed for the attractions you did not enter.

something the travel agent forgot to mention. Before you enter the first attraction the guide hits you with a request for $500 to cover all the attractions.

The next attraction was: a boat ride across the water from a small town, to a small island; a cable car ride to the top of a mountain; wild monkeys in the trees.

Not particularly interested in viewing monkeys we opted to wander around the town.

We spent some time shopping, up and down, narrow streets.

At one point I picked up a trailer of young children who finally disappeared after we walked past their school.

(Exterior of hotel.)
TIAN JAN GARDEN HOTEL
(Hotel lobby)

After supper, despite the light shower, several of us enjoyed the outdoor pool. It was a treat to swim in unchlorinated water, though it was a little chilly for my taste and I didn't stay in long. Some of us enjoyed the hot tub at the far end but it was much too hot and most people exited as quickly as they had entered. But they had fun going in and out.

(Courtyard and pool)
INNER COURTYARD
(Dinning room)

Behind the hotel they grow their own fresh vegetables.

(Gardens.)
(Freeway lined with palm trees.)

DAY 3: started with a visit to a company that manufactures jewellery. Their specialty is diamonds. At this point I was not in the market for such trinkets as I had not yet proposed to my lady friend.

(Exterior of building.)
HAINAN MINERALOGY CERTIFICATION CO.
( Boat made of jade)

BOAO TOWN

Aquapolis, the fifth beach we visited on our tour.

(Large sign at entrance.)
BOAO TOWN
Aquapolis.
(Boats on river.)
WANQUAN RIVER
In front of the Aquapolis.

3 rivers, 3 ridges of sand, 3 islands, form the estuary of the Wanquan River.

The landform and topography rivals that of Miami, Florida, or Cancun, Quintana Roo.

(Air filled arch.)
ENTRANCE TO THE AQUAPOLIS
(large sign telling about the aquapolis.)
(The Chinese portion of the sign, enlarged.)
(The English portion of the sign, enlarged.)
(Sign on the front of the amphitheatre.)
ENTRANCE TO THE AMPHITHEATER
(Interior of amphitheatre.)
AMPHITHEATRE, CONVENTION CENTER
(People, wharf, boats.)
BOARDING THE BOATS
(Passing another boat on the river.)
WANQUAN RIVER

The world's narrowest sand beach that separates river from sea.

(Boat on beach, people getting off.)
OUR BOAT
(Many boats along the beach.)
A POPULAR ISLAND
(People on the beach gazing out at the storm tossed waves.)
SOUTH CHINA SEA
(People on the beach gazing out at the storm tossed waves.)
SOUTH CHINA SEA

Xinglong Tropical Garden occupies some 400 hectares at the foot of Qingmei Hill

Because it was winter there were no flowers.

It was drizzly but some of our group elected to walk. The rest of us rode on; elongated, covered, golf carts.

We traveled several miles of narrow paved paths: along side a lake; over bridges; across streams; up hills; and through valleys.

It was very picturesque and, yet, I never took one picture.

(Freeway lined with street lights.)
(Rice paddies beside freeway.)
FARMERS WORKING IN THE RAIN

LUNG TOU MOUNTAIN

the second village we visited

I am not sure where we were as we had twisted and turned down several side roads

The starting point was similar to the base of any ski resort. However, though we were going to take a chair lift, we were not going skiing.

The lift would not take us to the top, and, luckily, we wouldn't walk the rest of the distance.

We did, however, climb more stairs than I cared for. And coming back down to the chair lift the stairs were, narrow and steep.

All in all, though, I did enjoy the experience.

(Base building for ski lift.)
(View top of mountain, from the bottom.)

Be sure to take some water with you, and maybe grab a snack at the base before you go up.

(Going up, on the chair lift.)
(Large Putas on the side of  the mountain.)
PUTAS
1/2 way up, the chairlift
(Puta beside a pond.)
PUTA
(A large rock, balancing above the Putas.)
DIRECTLY ABOVE THE PUTA
(The end of the chairlift, with a (second) balancing rock up above.)
DIRECTLY ABOVE THE VILLAGE
(Close up of balancing rock.)
(One of several primitive statues scattered throughout the trees.)
(Villager in a tree.)
DRUMMER IN A TREE
(Statue.)
(Statue.)

This young lady will meet you at the entrance and put a daub of paint on your cheek. Because I took her picture she dabbed both of my cheeks and my nose.

(Native girl in skirt.)
(Central courtyard.)

The girls get everyone to join hands and circle about the fire, while chanting.

(Girl comes toward me with arms outstretched.)
(Girl gives me a hug.)

Maybe it was because I had extra paint on my face, all the girls wanted to hug me.

(Girl on my back with arms around my neck.)
A student from New Zealand used my camera to take these pictures.
(More statues of naked ladies)
MORE STRANGE STATUES OF NAKED LADIES
(Dancers on stage.)
STAGE SHOW
( Dancers on stage.)
STAGE SHOW
( Fire dancers on stage.)
FLAMING TORCHES THROUGH THEIR SHORTS
Their shorts would catch on fire and they would hop around the stage beating out the flames.
(Dancers hugging me.)
THESE DANCERS CAME OFF THE STAGE TO CUDDLE ME
(Looking down from the top of the chair lift.)
IT'S A LONG WAY BACK DOWN
(Looking at the chair on the lift behind me.)
WE'RE BEING FOLLOWED

From the top of a mountain to a river. The weather, which had held the rain at bay until we got off the chairlift, was not very pleasant so most of us stayed on the bus. Only a few of our group elected to ride the raft down the river.

(Narrow road with pedestrians and cycles.)
(River.)
WANQUAN RIVER

(Rafts floating on the river.)
EMPTIES GOING BACK UP STREAM

DAY 4: On the final day of our tour the clouds rolled away and we reached a balmy 28 degrees C.

The guides were finally able to take us to a place that had actually been on our schedule for some time, a lovely island west of Sanya.

After three days of rainy, cool weather I was feeling ill so I elected to stay on the bus and sleep rather than take the boat to the island..

The bus took us down to the docks, or as close as we could get.

As we were not the first ones there the bus parking was full, after unloading our fellow tourists, the bus parked in the overflow parking area.

Because the weather for the past few days had been windy the boats had not been running to the island. Other tour companies had been in the same quandary as ours. Now they all came together, to the same spot, at the same time. In all my life I have never seen so many busses in one place.

After napping for awhile I got out of the bus and took a stroll to see when Bin and Yi Ming had gotten to.

They had found, behind the bus, an absolutely lovely beach.

(Beach facing West.)
SANYA BAY
Looking West.
(Overflow parking full of busses.)
OVERFLOW PARKING

Another sales center. This one specialized in jade. Different colours, different grades. And all sorts of jewellery, particularly the little bracelets made of beads.

Each facet of the beads are individually ground.

(Exterior, entrance.)
JADE FACTORY
Look like any other building on any other street.
(Interior.)
SHOW ROOM

And finally one last tourist attraction.

This one, on the hill on the South edge of the city, offered an amusement ride back down the hill.

(Large sign.)
(Entrance.)
LUHUITOU PARK

The nicest part of the tea place was the large grounds.

(Aerial view of Sanya from the hill.)
SANYA
( Front of building.)
HAINAN WUZHI MOUNTAIN ECOLOGICAL KUDING TEA PLANTATION

And finally one last sales center. This one, across from the new auditorium where they held the Miss World competition, specialized in Tea.

One of the advantages of not being able to understand Chinese was that I was able to opt out of all the little lectures.

No one questioned me as I walked about taking pictures.

( Rear Entrance.)
REAR ENTRANCE
(Girls standing inside entrance.)
GUIDES
waiting to escort visitors to the demonstration rooms.

(Large sign.)
HAINAN WUZHI MOUNTAIN ECOLOGIACAL KUDING TEA PLANTATION
(Interior, demonstration room.)
DEMONSTRATION ROOM

The nicest part of the tea place was the large grounds.

(Bridge over waterway.)
(Grounds with downtown in the background.)

Last stop. No sales pitch, just a store, with row after row of shelves.

The aisles formed an elaborate maze with sales clerks in every area.

(Front of store)
(Interior of store)

One last beach.

Back at the hotel we had the rest of the afternoon to relax. Some of us went to the beach which was only a block away.

(People on beach.)
SANYA BAY
( People on beach..)
SANYA BAY

Five days, four nights in two different hotels, 4 breakfasts, 4 lunches, and 3 suppers, plus airfare to and from Shanghai, for $1050, plus attractions, $500 if you went to all of them. Divide by 6.25 = $248. (Canadian).

Well worth it. Even if it was rainy most of the time and I couldn't understand a word the guide was saying.

DAY 5: Up early and back to the airport.

END

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