Hainan’s capital has all the makings of an unforgettable tropical getaway
In keeping with its historical role as a major transportation hub, the Haikou of today remains a revolving door for holidaymakers. A city of immigrants, Hainan’s capital is noticeably more freewheeling than its fellow provincial capitals, with a laid-back vibe that owes as much to its coconut tree-shaded streets and inviting array of outdoor bars and eateries as it does to its status as the gateway to the pristine beaches in the island’s south. Adding to Haikou’s appeal as a vacation spot is its proximity to nature-themed attractions like a geological park dotted with craters and caves, a coconut plantation, a mangrove reserve, remnants of the past such as Wugong Temple and Xiuying Ancient Cannon Fort, and a range of beaches and green spaces.
Book a flight to Haikou
When to go
Though the climate is welcoming all year round, the golden period for visits to Haikou runs from October to April. In other words, when conditions are at their most Siberian up north, Hainan is at its balmy, flowering, sun-drenched peak.
May to October is the rainy season, though the bulk of the rainfall comes in September, and typhoon season hits between August and September. The annual average temperature is about 24°C. The Hainan International Coconut Festival with its colourful displays and activities takes place in April, the Junpo Festival commemorating a hero of the Li indigenous people and featuring fascinating traditional rituals happens in early March, and the Huanhua Festival centring on flowers and friendship is celebrated in January.
Flying with Jetstar
Jetstar flies direct to Haikou from Singapore, which connects to other cities in South-East Asia and Australia.
Find cheap flights to Haikou
Haikou’s two sightseeing bus lines – known simply as Line 1 and Line 2 – offer twice-a-day circuits of major tourist sites for CNY10. Starting points are Baishamen at 9am, Ever Green Park at 10am, Huashankou Park at 12.30pm and 2pm. City bus lines 14, 35 and 50 each take in a number of top attractions and fares can be as little as CNY1. Taxi fares can be negotiated with drivers but the average is about CNY15 in the downtown area. Avoid unlicenced taxis and insist that drivers use the meter. Other options include three-wheeled bicycles and three-wheeled motorcycles.
Travel time 30 minutes
Taxi Approx CNY50-80
Airport shuttle costs CNY15 and the journey takes 35 minutes