Haikou, is the capital and most populous city of Hainan province, People's Republic of China. It is situated on the northern coast of Hainan, by the mouth of the Nandu River. The northern part of the city is the district of Haidian Island, which is separated from the main part of Haikou by the Haidian River, a branch of the Nandu.
Administratively, Haikou is a prefecture-level city, comprising four districts, and covering 2,280 square kilometres (880 sq mi). There are 2,046,189 inhabitants in the built up area all living within the 4 urban districts of the city.
Haikou was originally a port city. Today, more than half of the island's total trade still goes through its ports. The city is home to Hainan University, which has its main campus on Haidian Island.
What to see in Haikou
Wugong Temple, Qiongshanqu, Haifulu 169, (10 minutes taxi ride from the city centre; or local buses 1, 11), 65353047. 8AM-6PM. A Ming dynasty construction dedicated to five officials who were banished to Hainan during the Tang dynasty for criticism of the government. This is a pretty temple in a tropical setting, surrounded by ponds filled with lilies, winding bridges and exotic palm trees. The main building is the Wugong temple housing life like statues of the five officials and known as the first building of Hainan. The Song dynasty poet, Su Dongpo, is also commemorated here. There is also a newer museum building here with further information on the five officials, a shop and also other exhibitions with absolutely no relation to the temple, everything is in Chinese only CNY20.
Tomb of Hairui, (Yabin Village, Xiuying District). Hairui Tomb is a key national cultural protection unit. Hairui, a famous official in the Ming dynasty, was born in Qiongshan and was known as "Hai Qingtian" (incorruptible official). The tomb was built in 1589 and it is said that when people was carrying Hairui's coffin, suddenly the rope broke, and then people decided that this should be the place. Hairui Tomb has an area of 7.4 acre. In the middle, there is a high archway on which is written "Yue Dong Zheng Qi". The grave path is paved with granite and there are three memorials on the way. On the sides of the path leading to the tomb, there stands stone statue shaped like sheep, horses, lions, tortures, and human beings. Hairui Tomb was completely built by granites at three meters and formed like an ancient bell. Evergreen trees are planted around the cemetery. Hairui Cultural Exhibit Hall is also in the cemetery.
Xiuying Battery (Xiuying Gupaotai). A 19th century coastal fort near Evergreen Park. It can be visited for CNY10 (you may have to wake up the ticket seller). As of February 2008, the exhibition hall inside the fort is closed, but you can still see the replica cannons, the underground chambers, and many banyan trees.
Qiongtai Academy, Wenzhuang Rd, Qiongshan City. Established in commemoration of Qiu Jin, believed to be the most brilliant scholar in Hainan and a renowned Ming Dynasty academic. Construction began in 1705. The two-storey main building is made of brick and wood and is rich in traditional ethnic characteristics. The well-preserved academy is now the site of Qiongtai Teachers' Training School. The academy became celebrated after a well-known Cantonese and Qiong drama was written based on events there.
Haikou Shishan Crater Cluster National Geological Park, (in Shishan and Yongxing Towns southwest of Haikou City, close to Qiongzhou Strait, 15km from Haikou downtown, take bus 24 from the city centre to XiuYing Xiao Zhan and from there take the XiuYing-ShiShan minibus to the Geopark. 8:30AM-5:30PM. Covers 108km2. China hosts one of the few dormant volcanic clusters from the Holocene period (about 10,000 years ago). The volcanic cluster comprises 40 volcanoes and some 30 caves, however, most visitors only see the most spectacular volcano and crater. The lava rock villages in the volcano area offer a unique countryside scene and a glimpse into countryside life/culture. Notable villages in the area include Rongtang and Meishe.
Dongjiao Coconut Plantation, (twenty minute's ferry from Qinglan Harbour). There are about 500,000 various kinds of coconut trees here amongst winding footpaths, small huts, sunshine and a sandy beach. Enjoy the shoreside seafood restaurants and try different kinds of beach and watersports or just have a stroll along the footpath. If it happens to be a breezy day, the coconut tree leaves will rustle in the wind.
Dongzhai Harbor Mangrove Natural Reserve Area, Yanfeng Town, Qiongshan City (take a minibus from Wugong Temple to Fusheng in Qiongshan city, a pedicab will take you to the forest park from here). 8AM-6PM. The Red Forest Nature Reserve (Hong Shu Lin) is an unusual and intriguing evergreen forest peculiar to the subtropical coastal area of Hainan. Despite the name, the trees here do not actually have red leaves. When the tide is in, the roots of the trees are surrounded by water, giving the appearance that the trees grow directly from beneath the sea. This aquatic environment is ideal for breeding fish and shrimp and the leaves on the trees here are also said to have medicinal value. This particular type of tree produces seeds which sprout and propagate within their own shell. Tide times vary according to season, but when the tide is in there are some really fun boat trips to be enjoyed, winding in and out of the tree trunks and then on to the tiny island nearby, ripe with pineapple trees. The boat leaves from the entrance of the park when the tide is in. Each trip takes approximately one hour.