China Underground > China Photo Gallery: Images and pictures of China > Hainan, China’s Hawaii

Hainan, China’s Hawaii

Hainan (海南), the smallest and southernmost province in China, is an island  just across the Gulf of Tonkin from Vietnam. “Hainan” literally means “South of the Ocean.”

The capital of the region is Haikou, located in the northern tip of the island. The province was part of Guangdong Province until 1988, when the island became part of the newly created Hainan Province. The Island first entered written history in 110 BC, when the Han dynasty established a military garrison there following the arrival of General Lu Bode.

During the 1920s and 30s, Hainan was a hotbed of Communist activity, especially after a bloody crackdown in Shanghai, the Republic of China in 1927 drove many Communists into hiding.

The Communists and the Li natives fought a vigorous guerrilla campaign against the Japanese occupation of Hainan (1939–45), but in retaliation over one third of the male population were killed by the Japanese.

After the Japanese surrender in 1945 the Nationalist Party (KMT) re-established control. Tourism plays an important part of Hainan’s economy, thanks largely to its tropical beaches and lush forests. Hainan’s climate is tropical, characterised by hot and humid summers, with mild, pleasant winters.

Tourism in Sanya

Today, it is undergoing heavy tourist-oriented development with various international hotel chains establishing resorts, especially in the Sanya area. These days, many wealthy Chinese from the northern provinces own second homes in Hainan, where they move to in the winter to escape the bitter cold that characterises much of northern China.


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It has been popular with Russian tourists for decades.

Images of Sanya, Hainan Island

Hainan photo

Photo by jonathan.leung

Hainan photo

Photo by jonathan.leung

Hainan photo

Photo by llee_wu

Hainan photo

Photo by DvYang

Hainan photo

Photo by Thomas Fischler

Hainan photo

Photo by Pipapok

Sanya photo

Photo by dear.God


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