We ended 2015 on the delightful island off the south coast of China called Hainan. Known as the Hawaii of China we enjoyed some nice weather and much needed rest at the end of a VERY eventful year. We stayed in Sanya, a beachy/resort town, and did not plan any activities other than reading (A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones for me), laying around by the pool, and swimming in the ocean. As far as beach resorts that we were used to, the hotel we chose in Sanya was actually in fairly good condition (quite good by China standards I would say), and the location was really nice. I think next year when a bunch of construction is done near the beach it will be even nicer! We also got a chance to get some running in as the air pollution in Hainan was in the green “good” range, before heading back home to Suzhou.
Compared to the actual Hawaiian islands we found Hainan much more affordable (hotel/meals etc.); the food was predominantly Chinese with some Russian and Korean/Japanese/Papa Johns options thrown in, but there seemed to be less touristy type attractions to take part in overall. You definitely still get a Chinese flavor to this tropical island and we were reminded of our current growing city of Suzhou with construction all over the place. For this trip that was fine, and perhaps there are fun activities we were unable to discover in our frantic last minute research before the trip. We definitely got some much needed relaxing and fresh fruit in though!
One of the best parts of the hotel we picked was it was really close to a large mall area with tons of food options and even a little shopping. We ate lots of Sichuan food (which is one of our favorites), tried a few new desserts, and enjoyed meat on a stick among other things. At night this mall area turned into karaoke and we started to learn a few of the more popular songs that were sung every night. The singing would go on all night, and we could hear it even back in our hotel room! Most of the time this was fine, until a certain lady would pick up the mic and start what we dubbed “dying cat karaoke.” There was lots of high pitched warbling involved, and being that we didn’t understand any of the words, that did not help. On Christmas eve they also let loose approximately 500lbs of fireworks (I estimate based on the noise, because it woke me from a dead sleep) and caused me to wonder if we were under attack before I remembered how much the Chinese enjoy celebrating special events with loud noises and firework displays.