The area around the Leizhou Bandao peninsula and the northern part of Hainan Island has seen volcanic activity in geologically recent times. The area is one of four significant volcanic areas in China - the others being Changbeishan in the NorthEast, Wudalianchi in Heilongjiang and Tengchong in Yunnan. Changbeishan is considered a potential threat, being one of the world's largest stratovolcano. Wudlianchi was active in the 18th Century, and Tengchong a little earlier.
The Leishou Bandao's thirty six volcanoes are dormant, but still offer the opportunity to see a real volcano up close.
The reason for the presence of the volcanoes here is considered to be similar to those on Hawaii - it is a volcanic hotspot were the earth's mantle is thinner and the magma below is much closer to the surface. Wherever there are hotspots or deep faults there are hot springs and Hainan has many of them. (Actually there are a number in suburban Beijing as well, because of a huge fault that runs across the city - it doesn't figure much in the tourist literature!)
The Shishan craters are just outside Haikou, to the southwest, and the characteristic cone-shaped hills can be seen from a distance.
A volcanic industry has grown around the base of one, with a fairly good museum and plenty of small restaurants.
The climb up to the volcano is marred somewhat by the creation of monumental steps and botanically insipid gardens. You can walk around the rim of the volcano and then down into the throat: right into base of the volcano. The volcano is smothered in tropical vegetation which, for once, is a bit irritating because it makes it difficult to actually see the rocks!
Another volcano can be seen a kilometre further south from the rim, and there are good views over the coastal plains of Haikou.
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This is arguably the best place in all of China to see sailing junks, which have sadly disappeared from most other parts of the country. Shipyards here welcome visitors interested in traditional boat-building methods.
Located on the edge of Haikou City and Qiongshan municipality, this complex of ancient buildings includes the Five Officials Memorial Temple and Su Dongpo's Memorial Temple. The Five Officials Memorial Temple is the principal building in the complex and is regarded as a cultural treasure on Hainan. This temple was built in honour of five famous officials - Li Deyu, Ligang, Zhao Ding, and Hu Quan - who were banished to Hainan in the Tang and Song Dynasties.
Qiongtai Academy is situated about five kilometres southeast of Haikou. Built 270 years ago during the Kangxi period of the Qing Dynasty, it is now the site of Qiongtai Normal School. It is believed that the Academy was built to commemorate Hainan's leading scholar, Qiu Jun (also known as Qiong Tai). It was once the highest institute of learning in Qiongzhou (Hainan), a stepping-stone for every scholar in ancient times.
The Hairui Tomb is located in Bin Ya Village, five kilometres west of Haikou. It was built in 1589, during the Ming Dynasty. A well near the tomb is said to have been discovered by Hairui, a famous official renowned for his integrity, when he was young. For more than 400 years, this well has never run dry.
Not a big collection of animals, in fact, quite a limited exhibition of regular beasts you probably see in any zoos around the world.
One thing they are boasting about is the "Liger" or "Tion", which is a hybrid of tiger and lion, names are depend on which sides they appears more resemble. I view it rather a disaster of human experiment.
The parks has 2 sections: 1) is an open field which must be accessed with vehicle, 2) is like a regular zoo.
This is one of the very few things you can do in Haikou, and not all that bad if you are with kids and old family members.
Give it a miss as it is closed. We were wondering why the taxi driver gave us such a quizzical look when we told him we wanted to go there. After all several guidebooks had recommended the place.
When we got there it looked like Brighton in the middle of winter. The parking lot was completely empty, the obligatory hawkers selling overpriced souveniers were not where to be seen, and the ticket booth was shut.
We later found out that lack of business had forced the place to close.
The crater lies about 10 kilometres from Haikou, some 200 metres above sea level. The east and west ridges rise abruptly, forming a horse saddle in between ("ma'an" is Chinese for "horse saddle"). An American geologist praised it as one of the most exotic sights in the world. The crater is said to be one of the best-preserved inactive volcanic
The first mangrove forest protection zone in China, this has been the base for scientific studies by researchers from around the world and is a favourite tourist spot. The red trees found here account for 90 percent of the species in China. The area has another, more evocative name of "forest under the sea".