Hǎikǒu means ‘Mouth of the Sea’, and while sea trade remains relatively important, the buzzing provincial capital at the northern tip of Hǎinán is most notable for its booming construction. New and restarted projects are everywhere.
While poor in sights, Hǎikǒu makes a good base for exploring the north of the island. There are some decent beaches a short bike or bus ride away, the air is fresh and clean (though worsening yearly because of traffic), and some visitors find themselves quite satisfied just hanging out here for a few days.
Travellers tend to stay around Hǎikǒu Park or north of the river on Hǎidiàn Island (海甸岛; Hǎidiàn Dǎo). These are both older, slightly run-down neighbourhoods (especially compared with the western sections of the city), but all your life-support systems, including banks, food and travel agents, can be found here.
To the northwest are the main railway station, port area and the city’s beach zone. The main bus station and high-speed rail terminal are in the southeast of town. The airport is about 25km to the east.