China – Hainan Island: Cities, hotels. (Translated by Irina Novikova)
After few doubts, I decided to dedicate one album to the photos of the city and hotels. I think it will also be of some interest.
There are two cities on the island, one of which has an international airport. Haikou is a northern city with a sea port and administrative center. Sanya is a southern city and is more tourist-oriented. Haikou and Sanya are several hours apart by car, so it makes a difference which airport you use coming in. In this album I’ll mostly talk about Sanya and the surroundings.
As in any big country, southern cities are different from northern. This is especially true about a tourist center.
In Sanya everything is adopted for tourists, in a large degree, specifically to Russian tourists.
There exists a based-on-truth assumption that tourists are mostly interested in Chinese goods. So there is a high number of markets and malls. Only there are no critical differences between these markets and the ones in Russia. No differences in prices or in assortment. As in, if one is after some real bargains in China, it is necessary to find special places (preferably where tourists don’t often go, otherwise prices tend to grow), an even better place to do some shopping is Beijing (even here you need to know where to go, but in the city the right places are a lot easier to find).
Chinese salespeople have one unpleasant characteristic and that’s pushiness. If you think that salespeople are pushy in the some parts of St. Petersburg, multiply that by at least ten to twenty times to describe them here.
They started getting to you while still outside the store. In the malls screams like “Hello” serve as constant background noise (which typically means nothing other than “buy something” and is expressed in a demanding tone).
If you’ll stop to look at one specific item, they start bringing similar ones from nearly every department and always mumble something in Chinese English. Refusal to buy something typically isn’t accepted. In fact if the sale does not take place they assume it’s because their sales techniques weren’t good enough. It gets on ones nerves pretty quickly. And bargaining, as I mentioned before, isn’t appropriate everywhere.
Because our visit came at the time of New Year celebration, the city was full of posters announcing “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,” instructional personal also actively participated (as in the photo).
For the Chinese themselves New Year as we know it is meaningless, as in they have their own, in February (the lights hung in places are specifically to designate that holiday).
This is the only Russian car that I saw during out trip in China.
The city itself didn’t seem old. Most buildings dating to 1960… 1980’s are being quickly replaced by something more contemporary.
As shown in this picture.
Maybe I should call and ask how much is they want per meter :)
Safety precautions are in order :)
The most optimal solution here would be to lie on one’s side and push with arms and legs. Even better would be to tie some rope; however, that’s not nearly as athletic.
Similar to Beijing taxi is very common here. As well as, various other types of transportation. Drivers behave similarly to the salespeople at the malls.
Add to this southern temperament – one driver eagerly insisted that he was an excellent DJ, another insisted on singing Chinese songs (he sang pretty well, by the way). Also, local Chinese speak very loudly on their cell-phones. One guy was yelling so hard into the phone, that even within a meter away it was quite deafening. ;)
Bargaining with the taxi driver was absolutely necessary. Otherwise, it would cost way too much. I understand the driver expects the customer to negotiate the price, but the result depends on the situation, time of the day, etc. It is almost always possible to lower the initial price by 10 to 15%. The meter is rarely used here.
What’s interesting is that despite the fact that their main income is coming from tourism, few of the locals know or have any desire to speak English. For the most part we retreated to hand signals or simply showed the driver where to turn as we went. The best way is to have someone write you the name of the destination in Chinese (on the other hand, they can write down almost anything, even if they know Russian).
We celebrated the New Year on the island as well. Every hotel had planned some sort of holiday dinner and cultural entertainment program. Where only Chinese were involved in planning the event, the outcome was comically surreal. The planning committee obviously lacked even basic understanding of what New Year celebration means in Russia.
For example, the whole celebration was scheduled to end at midnight (they certainly extended it later, but just the fact itself…).
They also conducted some sort of charades (if sober, it was impossible to understand). People were lines up at the hors d’oeuvres table as if the food was going out of style and were obviously taking a lot more than they could eat. Also, for some reason alcohol was served last (but for the most part Russians brought their own).
As a result, by 11pm the situation was quite clear to us and we left to visit friends at Dadonghai (quite close). There a hotel took the holiday event quite seriously – the hosts (as well as planners, I imagine) of the program were Russian and the Chinese only provided safety guards and cleaned out the trash. ;)
As a result, the celebration went quite well. There was plenty of interesting people to meet, dancing and plenty of toasts. Due to the difference in time zones, we had to raise our glasses nearly every hour. And at that, the New Year in St.Petersburg didn’t come until 5am. It was quite difficult…
By morning we moved by about ten meters to the cafe on the shore (in the previous spot the hotel personal began to clean up right around 3am).
The Chinese planned excellent fireworks and brought approximately three trucks worth. So, when the fireworks began around midnight, they didn’t end for another couple days with just short breaks in between :)
We didn’t stay to commemorate New Year in Kaliningrad and around 5:30am we got a taxi and left for the hotel.
I just remembered that I haven’t yet showed Chinese money. Take a look (click for a larger image).
These are yuan. Revolutionary themes were removed, but Mao still appears on the currency. Also, there is much flowers and natural scenery.
Multiply the value by three to get the amount in rubles.
These are jiao, something like our kopeks.
These are now rare to come by. This particular bill dates back to the 1980.
There are also smaller change values, but I didn’t get a chance to see them.
Metal currency samples, such as 1 jiao, 5 jiao, and 1 yuan.
The characters to the right of the digit mean the name of currency in Chinese.
Since I started talking about the New Year, I also need to say a few words about the beaches.
There war three main places – Sanya Bay, Yalong Bay and Dadonghai.
On the photo is the location of Dadonghai. A more crowded beach, because it is located close to the city.
This is another photo of the same place.
Sanya Bay is somewhat higher in elevation, fewer people and in the vicinity are only hotels – no cities. That’s where we lived.
For entertainment beaches offer jet skies, ParaGliders with a motor (prices are similar to those in Russia), and ATVs (the tracks on the sand are from that).
The weather was only so-so. It was windy and quite cool for the tropics. Due to the wind waves were quite high all the time.
Despite everything I managed to get full-body sun burn. ;)
It got very our last day there, so a warm shirt and jeans felt just right to wear.
This is our hotel (the view of the forefront).
The hotel pictured at night.
It was rated 5-star. However, that’s only for locals. The room was more like 3-stars and a half. The pool was quite nice though.
In another pool swam fish something like piranhas. One can swim there and they’ll pinch you (the big ones are weeded out, so they don’t hurt the client).
One of the days we made a point to check out hotels in Yalong. Here the five stars are definitely five stars.
Places to golf, better security (with enough desire, one can go anywhere though).
For example, at this hotel, where lived a few friends of ours, the pool wasn’t just a pool, but an aqua park of sorts – with levels and various water temperatures, etc.
We tried it all, thankfully there wasn’t much regulation and security.
The label read in both English and Chinese – “do not gather bananas!”
This is another hotel in the same harbor.
Nearly all hotels (and there are dozens of them on the island) were built in the past 1 to 3 years.
The building speed is simply unreal. Everywhere one can see that the brick was laid just recently and the path is still new. As if everything was built just yesterday.
All in all, Hainan isn’t the best place for vacation. It’s quite expensive here (compared to Thailand for example) and the customer service (from Chinese) is pushy and just plain strange.
There isn’t much to see besides nature here. Besides, there are too many Russian tourists, which isn’t always good (after all, New Year isn’t every day).
In the next album are the last of the notes about Hainan Island.