WHILE THERE IS BUSINESS TO BE DONE in Haikou, the capital city of Hainan focuses on pleasure. The island 20 miles off the south coast of China is the country’s designated international tourist destination. Just two years shy of the 2020 goal to create “a worldwide first-class island resort,” it abounds with activities. Once the sun sets (regularly about 6 p.m., year-round), Haikou offers plenty of opportunities for rest and relaxation.
In the Old Quarter downtown near the renewed harbor, streets lined with colonial architecture, storefronts and clubs bustle with activity. The high-rise Wan Guo shopping center hums with restaurants, juice bars and electronics markets. On its eighth floor, the comfortable Wood Bar serves cocktails, beer and wine. A movie theater shows the latest films in English.
At the popular Banqiao Road Seafood Market, wander among buckets of fresh fish, squid and oysters, picking out a morsel to be cooked and served with trimmings at adjacent restaurants. On nearby Haikou Snack Street, stalls in a two-story food court sell local fare — try Wencheng chicken or Dongshan mutton — and its open-air stage features performances of traditional shows.
Night spots vary from small local bars with wooden benches where visitors can mingle with the locals to pricier, large international nightclubs with flashy lights, mirrors, loud sound systems and dance floors. Book a dinner or party cruise for views of the city lights from the water.
A departure tax rebate and duty-free take-home allowance of 16,000 yuan, about $2,600, act as shopping inducements. In the MH Outlets Shopping Mall, surrounded by palm trees and set under a segmented, cool glass canopy, upscale shops sell popular take-homes such as pearls, brocades and coconut carvings.
Unique in the country, Hainan provides special internet zones where foreigners can consult Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and some other websites blocked elsewhere. Discretion is recommended, but China is the world’s third-largest LGBTQ+ market, and venues here are relaxed.
To the west of town, nearby resorts offer tee times for night golf in the cool evening air and spas for relaxing soaks in plentiful hot springs. Concierges at the Mission Hills Resort and Shangri-La Hotel can help with bookings.
Read This Next
2018 GT Tested Reader Survey Awards Winners
DailyDec 12, 2018
All Reads on This Topic
Read Them All
FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.
Turkish Airlines Lounge Opens at John F. Kennedy International Airport
Turkish Airlines recently opened a new lounge in Terminal 1 of New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. The airline operates three flights per day from the airport and now premium passengers have luxurious, comfortable and hospitable lounge amenities to enjoy in a renovated, rebranded space.
Enter to Win $500 and Get Six Months’ Free Access to the New GT App
Now through May 8, sign up for a free six-month trial of the Global Traveler app and be automatically entered for a chance to win a $500 gift card of your choice for Amazon, Apple or American Express.
SlideshowMar 27, 2023
7 Unique Museums in Europe to See on Your Travels
It’s time to start dreaming of your next trip. Here’s some destination inspiration for you. Take a visual journey through these unique museums in Europe with us.
2 Spring Art Destinations to Visit in 2023
Everyone knows of the great museums and galleries in international cities like Paris, London, Madrid, New York City and Miami, but a growing number of smaller cities and towns join the art scene with state-of-the-art galleries showcasing work from local and international artists. Art enthusiasts wanting to blend art with travel should visit these two beautiful destinations in Europe this spring to not only take in the natural scenery but also visit galleries hosting exhibitions and events.
FXExpress Traveler of the Year
FXExpress Traveler of the Year Contest 2023
Spring Festival Fun in Virginia Beach
If you love a good festival as much as we do, add Virginia Beach, Virginia, to your list of springtime destinations. Launching the season on April 7 and 8, the Z Fringe Festival presents a fun blend of cutting-edge theater and theater-adjacent works in the region’s first major theater festival. Performances will be presented on three stages in Zeiders American Dream Theater.
Viceroy Announces Partnership with Out & Equal
March 2023Mar 22, 2023
Global Traveler Celebrates the 2022 Winners of the GT Tested Reader Survey Awards
Travel is back and better than ever! Last year brought a big boom to our beloved industry, and we were thrilled to celebrate the best of the best in December 2022 as we honored the winners of our 19th annual GT Tested Reader Survey awards at The Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles, located downtown at LA Live!
Europe is more fun with a Portugal Stopover.
DailyMar 22, 2023
Austrian Airlines to Bring Back Flying Chefs
Austrian Airlines plans to bring back its Flying Chefs program this summer, returning after a three-year break due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In partnership with its caterer DO & CO, chefs employed by the catering company will offer a complete gourmet experience to passengers traveling in Austrian’s business class on long-haul flights.