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Getting around

Getting around Hǎinán is both cheap and easy. Hǎikǒu and Sānyà are linked by Hǎinán’s three main highways: the eastern expressway via Wànníng and the coast (only three hours by bus); the central and much slower route via Qióngzhōng and Wǔzhǐshān (also known as Tōngzhá); and the less popular western expressway via Dānzhōu (also known as Nàdà), Bāsuǒ (Dōngfāng) and Yīnggēhǎi.

The roads are great, bus services comfortable and departures regular, but for now the vast majority of visitors fly directly to Sānyà on a range of cheap domestic flights. Of those who do come via Hǎikǒu, most take the fast but relatively boring eastern expressway to Sānyà. The central route is slower but much more interesting, passing through the central highlands and Li and Miao villages.

Buses come in two main classes: the larger, pink buses are air-conditioned, have almost business-class leg room and stop less frequently; green buses are window-conditioned and stop everywhere, but aren’t much cheaper.

There are Japanese-era railways marked on the Hǎinán map and oft-talked-about plans to build a rail line right around the island, but as yet there are no useful train services on Hǎinán. There is, however, a train from Hǎikǒu to Guǎngzhōu.

Few travellers hire cars on Hǎinán, but a growing number are choosing to take short trips out of Sānyà by motorbike. You can hire 125cc motorbikes for Y100 to Y250 per day.