Bask and Roll Paradise – 5 Days 440KM Cycling on Hainan Island East Coast

After the Chinese New Year, our 27-strong cyclists made a maiden cycling trip to Hainan. Our 5-days ride started from Haikou and ended in Sanya. The last day was to relax in the tourist city.

We have heard that Sanya with perennial fine weather is a favorite spot for tourists. On the final day the group had a free-and-easy day to tour Sanya. As the hotel was right next to the beach, we saw many Caucasians sun-basking in the sand besides mainland Chinese who came too. There were advertisement and signs written in Russian. Hence both Chinese and Russians are drawn by the charms of this sunny fine beach in Hainan reputed as the Hawaii of the East.

Indeed China has positioned Hainan for international and domestic tourism. As we rode condominiums, service apartments and hotels have sprouted along the east coast. The real estate is developed for the mainland Chinese especially the senior folks who buy to reside in Hainan during months of cold winter up-north. The luxury hotels in Sanya are more affordable than hotels in most western seaside cities. Hainan also has incentive policy for duty-free shopping to vitalize tourism for the rich Chinese and international travel. More than policy, Hainan has invested much into its infrastructure. On much of our trip, we rode on well-paved roads, with 3-m wide cycling path on both sides, which formed the Round Island Tourism Route. The province with its commitment to tourism completed this round island highway over a span of 16 years. Just like in Taiwan where there are many cycling enthusiasts, we met many groups of Chinese mainland cyclists who were riding the round-Hainan island route.Our group has vehicles support. On the other hand, many local cyclists carried small cargo on pannier racks on their bikes. We gleaned from our support Company that we can rent such bicycles with bags and rack, so that we can make a challenge of riding independently around the towns in small groups. We can download Chinese Apps to check out locations with mobile phones too.

We were looking to ride in sunny Hainan as spring had started. However, there was a Siberian wind which hit into China on the week that we reached. Cold spells covered most of China. So we were riding in light rain on the first day and cold weather in the next three days requiring us to put on windbreakers. Our ride leader explained there is a climate line at the hilly range demarcating Sanya and the town at its north – as the cold wet wind will get dry moving into the south passing the range. We got to experience this phenomenon as we crossed the hill from WanNing town into Lingshui town just north of Sanya. The sky got bluer and the sun magically came out after we crossed this climate line. We removed our outer vests. Before we crossed the line and get welcomed by sunny Sanya, we have to overcome the last hill called ‘Brave Men Mount’ (Haohan Bo). The winding climb was at gradients of 12 to 14 percent for over one-and-half kilometers. It was tougher than a climb on Mount Faber here but the large majority of our riders climbed it successfully without getting on the van.

In summary what makes Hainan most enjoyable was riding in its countryside scenery on the smooth-paved Round Island route in cooler weather (in comparison to Singapore) and getting fresh local fruits and coconut juice from the van supporting on the way. There were even ‘smart’ clean toilets sited on tourist viewing spots by the local government. As all of us agreed that it was akin to a ride in paradise. The cost of the whole trip was good value. With this feedback, our Club plans to organize a trip to Hainan in 2026. It would be riding in a loop from Haikou on the west coast and return via the central range. This will make complete the experience of riding the whole island of Hainan. Eu Pui Leong.