Located in the very northern part of Hainan Island, facing Guangdong province across the Qiongzhou channel and at the mouth of the Nandu River, Haikou is the Capital City of Hainan Island, and also the Commercial, Culture & Economic Center of Hainan Island. It is the biggest city on Hainan Island with over 1.2 million people. As the capital city of Haina Island, Haikou is the most popular city for local Hainan people to look for a job or go to school.
Though now Haikou is most developed city on Hainan Island with busy traffic, high rise buildings, universities, and international cuisines, but nothing much happened just before 1988 when Hainan was announced by the central government as the youngest province of China with Haikou as the capital city. Early immigrants from mainland China remembered that there were still working cows on the streets near the center of Haikou, only 2-3 streets with lights, not to mention traffic lights.
Haikou Hainan Island Climate:
Different from the tropical climate in Sanya, Haikou enjoys a sub-tropical climate with an average annual temperature of 20°C (68°F). Haikou spring (April till June) is hot with humidity, the almost same temperature as Sanya, the only beach destination on Hainan Island, and the high summer temperatures bring heavy rain. Summer (July-September) is a season of typhoons and rain storms. October & November is very nice in Haikou, warm and dry. But in winter it can be very chilly with high humidity from December till March. So in winter, Sanya is the best destination for your Hainan Holiday.
Raining Season July till September is not too hot, actually the highest temperature is around 34 degrees. While the temperatures in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou could be over 38 degrees. So basically speaking, Haikou is actually cooler than those big cities. With the help of tropical showers or typhoon, day temperature could easily drop down to 26-28 degrees. Typhoon could be a problem but usually won’t last more than 2 days. And normally after a typhoon, it becomes very hot, and the sun is sharp shining.
Haikou Transportation Guide:
Haikou Meilan Airport is the first airport on Hainan Island with domestic and international flights connecting Hainan Island with the rest of the world. The rates could be very different depending on seasons. Normally during winter times, the flight rates are higher due to high season, while summertime, the rates could be 80% off normal rates.
There are shuttle buses running between Haikou downtown and Haikou Meilan Airport, but with a local taxi, it costs around CNY50/way, so most passengers would prefer faster and more convenient local taxies or private cars than the airport shuttle buses.
For local people on Hainan Island, high-speed train is the best option to reach Haikou from the east and west coast of Hainan Island. While for citizens living in the middle of the island with no train connections, a long-distance bus is still the best way to travel.
As a tourism Island, private transfers and car rentals are easy to find in Haikou.
Recommended Shopping Places in Haikou:
As the capital city, Haikou is the best place for local shopping and dining with more varieties and lower prices compared with other parts of Hainan Island.
Haikou is the shopping center for whole Hainan Island, especially before Chinese New Year. You may meet visitors from all over Hainan in Haikou doing their Chinese New Year shopping: clothes, food, furniture and more. Though Haikou is 1.2 hours from Sanya by high-speed train, prices in Haikou are at least 20-50% less than that of Sanya.
Haixiu East Road 海秀东路：is the new shopping center and the most popular shopping street in Haikou with everything you need at No.1 Department Store, DC Shopping Center (DC城）on Haixiu East Road 海秀东路）、Mingzhu Department Store(明珠广场）on Haixiu East Road (海秀东路）.
Dadongmen Market大东门市场, Deshengsha Road 得胜沙路、Boai Road 博爱路: is the traditional shopping center of Haikou for seafood, boutique, fruits, and many local snacks. You will see a real Haikou life here. Don’t miss it even if you don’t need to buy anything. A casual walk in the old street will worth it.
Big Department Stores in Haikou: No.1 Department Store, DC Shopping Center (DC城）on Haixiu East Road 海秀东路), Mingzhu Department Store(明珠广场）on Haixiu East Road (海秀东路）。
Places to visit in Haikou Hainan Island:
As an old city on the island, there are places of interest worth visit in Haikou during your Hainan Island trip. We would recommend the following:
Wugong Temple/The Temple of Five Lords五公祠：
The Temple of Five Lords (Five Officials’ Temple or Wugong Ci in Chinese), is located in the center of Haikou on Haifu Road and were originally constructed during the reign of Emperor Wanli in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). After many years of renovation and development, the existing Temple of Five Lords is now an attractive ancient architectural complex with the Five Lords Ancestral Hall, the Sugong Memorial Temple, Hairui and Fubo memorial temples, Guanjia Tang (Watching Crop Hall) and Xuepu Tang (Studying Hall), all about the history of the island.
Haikou Old Street is always the center of Haikou life even till now. Haikou Qilou Old Street, also called Chinese arcade houses, form the Haikou’s most exotic landscapes. The arcade architecture was introduced into Haikou by Local Hainanese The Hainanese from South East Asia who made fortunes returned home in 1920-1940s. It is an old tradition for Chinese to build their home even if they don’t stay in the house anymore.
Located in the west of Haikou city, about 30 minutes driving from downtown Haikou, Hainan Volcano Park is China’s first volcano-themed national geo-park. The volcano-themed park boasts the sites of more than 40 volcanoes and 30 volcanic caves. With rich volcanic resources such as beautiful volcanoes, magic karts caves, as well as perfect ecology, pleasant climate, sweet spring water, fresh air and etc, Hainan Volcano Park is a good place worth visit during your stay in Haikou.
Haikou Feng Xiaogang Movie Studio is part of Haikou Mission Hills. It is the first movie theme tourism park named after a film director well known in China.
Haikou Feng Xiaogang Movie Studio or Haikou Movie Town is an artificial town and movie studio approximately 8 km south of Haikou, Hainan. The entire site is 1,400 acres containing 96 buildings along streets with such names as Socialism Street and Nanyang Street. Parts of the area were designed to resemble scenes from the film Back to 1942.
As the first mangrove natural reserve area and the biggest one in China, Dongzhaigang Mangrove Nature Reserve is located in Yanfeng Town, Haikou, about 30 minutes drive from Haikou Downtown with an area of 2,500 hectares (6,200 acres) and includes six rivers.