Hǎikǒu means ‘Mouth of the Sea’, but while sea trade remains relatively important, the buzzing provincial capital at the northern tip of Hǎinán is most notable for its booming economy. New and restarted construction projects are everywhere, and it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that, ironically enough in ‘communist China’, capitalism is running almost out of control in Hǎikǒu. All of this commerce has attracted people from right around China and finding someone who was actually born on the island can be difficult.
While there really isn’t much worth seeing, it’s a pleasant enough place for a night or two. Sure, the traffic is as busy as any other medium-sized Chinese city, but the shade trees, the steamy tropical climes and surprisingly affable locals (is it the warm weather?) afford Hǎikǒu a wholly different feel. And the nights are best. As one guy we met told us: ‘In the day, Hǎikǒu is very hot, but at night it is beautiful. You must come out at night.’ We couldn’t say it better ourselves.