This large complex of exhibition rooms should be your first stop when you arrive in Hǎinán. The displays on ethnic minorities, as well as Hǎinán's 20th-century history, which included fierce resistance against the Japanese and later Nationalists, are particularly informative. Most of the displays have English write-ups. Bus 43 and 48 from downtown stop outside the museum. It's on the far east side of town, close to the airport. A taxi will cost around Y30.
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Kilometres of smooth sand beach stretch west of Xiuying Harbour. From Haixiu Dadao, bus 40 terminates smack in the middle.
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Five Officials Memorial Temple
Five Officials Memorial Temple is an attractive Ming temple
(restored during the Qing dynasty) dedicated to five officials who were banished to
Hǎinán in earlier times. The famous Song dynasty poet, Su Dongpo, was also banished
to Hǎinán and is commemorated here. Take bus 11 or 12 and get off one stop after the
east bus station.
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The joggers, badminton players, tai chi artists, kung fu kickers, chess players and people-watchers are a wonder to behold. Even if you can't speak a word of Mandarin, just bowl up and you'll soon be communicating with the locals. And don't miss the dancers; the 80-something geezer we saw could have cut a rug with Fred Astaire.
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Even when it's hotter than hell, strolling around Hǎikǒu is
the top 'thing to do'. The picturesque and partly restored old quarter along Xinhua
Lu is nice enough, but our favourite activity here is an early morning or, even
better, late afternoon wander through Hǎikǒu Park.
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Tomb of Hairui
More attractive than the Five Officials Memorial Temple, the Tomb of Hairui was ravaged during the Cultural Revolution but has been restored in vibrant colour. Hairui was an incorruptible and popular Ming dynasty official who was eventually banished to the island after criticising the emperor. The tomb is in western Hǎikǒu, off Haixiu Dadao; take bus 2 and tell the driver 'Hairui Mu!', or watch for a turn-off marked by a blue sign in English and Chinese. From there it's a 1km-walk south.
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If you're out west of Xiuying Harbour, don't miss the Xiuying
Battery , built by the German Krupp company in the late 19th century as part of a
series of coastal forts designed to make European invaders think twice. There are
some cool underground passageways, several cannons pointing out to sea and a museum
of weaponry. Take bus 1 or 32 to Shimao Wan Lu and go up the hill.
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