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Archive for the ‘Hainan Island’ Category

2 – 7 Jul 2000: Hainan Island, China

The Hainan Island 

Hainan (海南) is an island located at south end of China. Due to the mild climate and natural beauty, some people regarded it as the Oriental Hawaii. This is my last leg of this trip and I will be spending the next couple of days moving within four cities in Hainan Island, namely, Qionghai, Danzhou, Sanya and Haikou.

 

Danzhou

Danzhou (儋州) lies in the northwest of the Hainan Island with a population of less than a million people. Situated on the Haiyu Western Expressway, Danzhou City serves as the gateway to the island’s leading tourist attraction and holiday spots.

Qionghai 

Qionghai (琼海) is a famous town in the south coast of Hainan Island, where there is the beautiful Wanquan River (万泉河) and the well-known brilliant history of the Red Women Army (红色娘子军). 

Red Detachment of Women was best known in the West as the ballet performed for U.S. President Richard Nixon when on his visit to China in February 1972. The ballet was adapted from a novel of the same title by Liang Xin (梁信).  The story is about Qionghua (琼花), a slave girl who was cruelly treated by a tyrannical landlord, Nan Batian (南霸天) who lived on Hainan Island. Qionghua runs away and joins the Red Army with the help of an officer named Hong Changqing (洪常青). However, Hong died while defending the army. Qionghua shoulders the tasks left by the martyr and leads her comrades in counter attacking the enemy. She kills Nan Batian in the battle.The story pays tribute to the unconquerable spirit of the Red Army fighters and to the vigorous revolutionary struggle waged by the people of Hainan Island under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party.

 In the ballet, there was one scene where the Red Army set their camp beside the Wanquan River.

Qionghai is still at the stage of improving its infrastructures and developing better traffic flows. In the last decade, it was one of the largest cities in Hainan with accelerated urbanization and growth.

This is where we stayed in Qionghai –Yinhai International Hotel (银海国际度假中心), located near to the Wanquan River. This four-star garden holiday hotel has one of the largest and comprehensive hotel amenities and health facilities. Incidentally, it was here I had my first foot reflexology in China (Ouch!) and it costed about RMB 20.

San Ya

Sanya (三亚) is my favourite city of them all. Situated on the most southern tip of the Hainan Province, you can indulge in unique tropical oceanic landscape that is totally different from the other China provinces.

The best way to enjoy your stay is to check into a hotel by the Sanya Bay. My room at the Yu Hua Yuan Seaview Hotel (玉華苑海景酒店) faces the sea and after a busy and exhaustive day, you can totally relax by glazing at the blue ocean and enjoy the gentle sea breezes. During the night, I left the balcony door slightly ajar on purpose. And throughout the night, I could subconsciously listen to the sound of the gentle waves. It was a like a nature spa… 

While Sanya is a noted tourist resort with mountains, sea, river and city, it also attracts a different crowd from both home and abroad for another reason. In China, it is common to leave your hotel key at the reception when you are out (some hotels do not use access key but bulky conventional keys). You collect it back from the receptionist once you return. Over a couple of days, we noted that our room phone always rang once we stepped into our room. It was a lady caller: Sir, you need massage?  The timing is too perfect for pure coincidence. No thanks!!!  

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The Nanshan

8 Jun 2000: Nanshan @ Sanya, Hainan Island

 Nanshan Temple

Forty kilometers away from the Sanya City is the Nanshan (南山, meanng South Mountain) Temple. The Tang Dynasty-styled temple was completed in 1998 to commemorate the 2,000th anniversary year of Buddhism coming to China. Greeting you at the entrance of the park is the unique Dharma Door of Nonduality Gate (不二法门).

The Dharma Door of Nonduality

In Buddhism, a Dharma Door is an entrance of  teaching or practice leading to enlightenment. There are eighty-four thousand Dharma-doors and among those, The Dharma Door of Nonduality is the last one at highest state. Upon entering this door, one attains enlightenment and get access to Nirvana. Entering into the park through the Nanshan’s Dharma-Door of Nonduality symbolizes the admission into the auspicious and serene land of Buddhism.

Nanshan Temple

The Nanshan Temple (南山寺) has two main halls. The Tianwang Hall (天王殿) has a Maitreya Buddha (彌勒菩薩) in the middle with two Bodhisattvas on each side. Around them are the Four Heavenly Kings (四大天王) acting as Buddhist guardians to protect all living creatures and to bring favorable weather and ample harvest.

Inside the Golden Palace Hall (南山寺金堂, also known as Da-Xiong Grand Palace  “大雄宝殿”  ) lies three statues of Buddha: Sakyamuni Buddha (释迦牟尼) in the middle, Bhaisajyaguru (师佛) on the left and Amitabha Buddha (阿彌陀佛) on the right. The temple is built upon a powerful geographical place termed by the Chinese as “sitting on the mountain and looking into the sea” (坐山望海)

Sea Watch Terrace

Right in front of the Nanshan Temple is a terrace (望海台) facing direct to the South China Sea. From here, you can can admire the vast seascape, while enjoying the gentle sea breeze.

The Golden Jade Kwan-yin Statue

But the true treasure is the 3.8-meter tall Golden Jade Guanyin (金玉观世音) statue in the Nanshan Guanyin Hall (南山观音阁).

This national treasure is covered with over 100 kg of gold and has 120 carats of South African diamonds plus countless jewels and jade embedded. Total value of the sculpture is estimated at RMB 192 million.

The Guanyin is standing with a grand, smiling and merciful face and eight arms with elegant gestures and lively fingers. Each arm holds a musical instrument, signifying good wishes and well beings. Perhaps the irony is that the statue is so awe-inspiring that we spent more time admiring it than seeking solace or prayers.

 

Picture with Feitian

Tianya Haijiao

As we headed back to Haikou, we passed by the a romantic and beautiful scenic spot of Sanya City called Tianya Haijiao ( 天涯海角, literally means :the edge of the sky and the rim of the sea”). In the past, the Chinese believed that the earth was flat. Since Sanya of the Hainan Province was the most southern part of China, they assumed that Tianya Haijiao was at the corner of the sky and earth. Each year, this place receives thousands of visitors and young lovers from all over the world holding their wedding ceremonies here.

As there was an imminent storm at this area, we did not visit the attraction but continued our 3.5 hours ride journey back to Haikou.

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Hai Kou

8 – 13 Jul: Haikou, Hainan Island

The second person on the left in this picture taken at the Youhe Seafood Restaurant is my friend, Chin Beng. Chin Beng worked and resided in Hainan for a couple of years. He had cordially invited us to extend our stay here to see and experience the real Hainan hospitality. 

Who says men don’t like shopping or look for good bargain? That week, we made a couple of trips to the cobbler for make-to-measure leather shoes (costed only RMB 60, unbelievable) and their service was superb! The spectacles here are cheap and good, Chin Beng told me. So I choose a pair of frameless spectacles; with ultra-thin, multi-coated lens just for RMB 120, unthinkable. But I ended up buying more and more – wireless door bell? Cultural Revolution stamps??  My boss LT shopped frantically at a CD shop called Baolijing.

This photo was taken from Chin Beng’s apartment at the International Commercial Building. It was my last day in Haikou before I leave for Hong Kong tomorrow morning. Thanks, Chin Beng, for the kind and warm hospitality!

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