Thursday, May 28, 2015

In search of my Hainanese root back in Hainan Island, China

Finally have the time to blog, after my exams and first aid course.
This is an overdue post from last December, on my family trip to Hainan Island.

Initially I couldn't make it to this trip because I couldn't get my exams date confirmed last year, but I'm glad I finally made it, although the trip was cut short due to unforeseen circumstances.

I took so many pictures during this trip and had a hard time choosing just a few to cram them into this blogpost. All of pictures are unedited so you can see how beautiful Hainan Island is!!!

Reached Singapore Changi Airport late night on the 4th of December, hence, we checked in at Crowne Plaza Hotel, Changi Aiport at Terminal 3. 

Day 1

Touched down on Haikou Meilan Airport in the morning and headed to Haikou Mariott Resort and Spa. 

All of the accommodation was booked by my aunt in US. She've chosen the ones with good reviews and ratings but most of these hotels are located far from the city/town. Luckily for us, we've booked a bus and tour guide to bring us around. 

Haikou Mariott Resort and Spa:

I really love the ancient China design of the whole hotel. Even the corridors and walls are wooden and very 'Chinese'.

After setting up our luggage, Mel and I went to relax at their hot spring. 

Indoor hot spring and sauna

It felt so good to have the entire place to ourselves. Previously in Taiwan, mum and I had to go naked in front of everyone at Yang Ming Shan's indoor pool. 

We get to enjoy the outdoor hot spring as well. The best feeling ever; dipping in the comforting warm water and getting blown by the chilly december winds, with a great view to enjoy. 

We ate dinner with dad's friends in the Hainan association at a restaurant called Blue Dream (I think? or something similar..) 

Yum yum..the sweet potatoes and corns are the best!! The corns are glutinous corns, definitely a must try!

Day 2

Hainan Tropical Bird Park (海南热带飞禽世界)
The park houses over  20, 000 birds of 250 species. 
Ticket price: RMB 57/person (about BND $12.50)

Jianlong Tower, the best preserved ancient pagoda at present, is situated in the centre of the park.

After that, we visited our old house in Hainan. Like my dad said, this trip is about seeking our roots. 
My grandparents travelled from Hainan, China to Nanyang (Southeast Asia) during World War 2 and eventually reside in Brunei, making here their home. 

Found this picture of my house hanging on the wall of our hainan old house. 

My grandparents renovated the house after some time. During that time, most of the houses were wooden houses. My grandparents had to import all the bricks and materials overseas to China in order to renovate it. All those hardwork!!! Even the tour guide mentioned that it's definitely not easy to have such concrete houses in China during my grandparent's time.

The neighbourhood~

Such a shame that I couldn't actually converse with the elderlies since I couldn't speak proper Hainan dialect and I understand limited vocabulary only. 
I must learn my mother language! :(

Bo'ao (博鳌)Yudai Beach
My old house is situated in Qionghai (琼海) and since we're already there, we visited Bo'ao (博鳌) Yudai Beach, the narrowest beach peninsula in the world, which separates Wanquan river (万泉河) and South China Sea.  

zomg..the eyebags T_____T

Had a boat trip to round the peninsula and got really dizzy. Luckily I did not vomit as I have very terrible sea sickness. 

Continued our journey to Sanya but we couldn't reach there on the same day. We stopped at Baoting Li and Miao Autonomous County (保亭黎苗族自治县) and headed to our hotel for the night.

Our hotel, Double Tree Resort by Hilton is located at Qixianling (七仙岭), in the heart of Qixianling National Forest Park. 

Double Tree Resort by Hilton, Qixianling (七仙岭):
Took us 1 hour to reach our hotel!! It was situated on the mountains as Qixianling is a forest park. The lobby is very grand and spacious. I love their interior design!

Upon arrival, everyone of us was greeted with their signature chocolate chip cookie..and I gotta say, it is delicious!!! I could finish one huge cookie by myself!

Here's Double Tree Resort's scale model. It is really big o___o
The rocky mountain with 7 peaks is Qixianling, hence the name, because Qi (七) is seven in Chinese.

Since it's surrounded by lush rainforest gardens, you surely can't miss having hot spring outdoors to enjoy the stunning mountain views, can you?

Love it especially when the mornings are quite chilly and windy. 

Double Tree Resort also have a private balcony with luxurious natural hot spring pool!!
So, after dipping in the outdoor hot spring, I went back to the room and tried the indoor one, just outside my room. Not all the rooms have the balcony mini hot spring though. My parent's room did not have it.

The view from the balcony

The water took ages to fill up the tub!

If you're too lazy or too shy to share the outdoor hot spring, you can enjoy the balcony hot spring comfortably all to yourself :D 

Bye bye Qixianling..I hope to be back one day :)

Took some Yili Red date yogurt with us for the long distance bus ride..
I miss Yili yogurt!

Mel was so excited to see Yili yogurt as we've heard the advertisement phrase hundred of times, watching Hunan channel, especially during "Where are we going, dad?" (爸爸去哪儿?)!!

Day 3

Since we're already in the Li and Miao county, we have to stop by at Li and Miao Minority Village (黎苗第一村). In the village, you can see a lot of betel palms, native plants of Hainan Island. Hence, it is also called Bing Lang Gu (槟榔谷), betel nut valley, in direct translation. 

Li and Miao Minority Village (黎苗第一村) / Bing Lang Gu (槟榔谷):
I'm not sure how much is the entrance fee as it was included in our tour package. 

We had our lunch in the restaurant inside the village.

 "Polong!" - their way of saying "hi!"
Look at how straight their legs were..I was told they could weave clothes for hours in that posture..and most of them are 80 years and above!

There are also wonderful performances on designated time by the Li and Miao people. 
Inside the village, we tried zipline as well! My second experience, after my OBBD trip. 

After this, we continued our journey to Sanya!
In Sanya, the most famous place is the Yalong bay (亚龙湾), which is regarded as "one of the most beautiful bays in the world".  As it is one of the tourist attractions of Hainan island, many internationally operated hotels have opened there - Ritz-Carlton, Sheraton, St Regis, MGM, etc.

We managed to book our stay in Sanya at MGM Hotel!

MGM Grand Sanya Hotel, Sanya (三亚):

So pretty!! Look at the rainbow!!

The view from my room:

The night view:

Day 4

In the morning, we strolled around the beach behind MGM, which is a part of Yalong bay (I think). Funny how people say Hainan Island is the Eastern Hawaii but I've never had the chance to go to the beach since I've touched down on Hainan!

Sadly, that morning was also the only time I got to see how beautiful Hainan is. 

The sky was so blue, as if someone painted it!
...and the blue blue ocean <3

I had the weirdest jump shot pictures because Mel is such a bad photographer! :(
All of her jump shots were nicely taken by me but she was so impatient to take mine. I have to admit though, the sun was blazing hot that day!! Look at the clear blue sky. Such a fine get sun burnt. Perfect for those who love sun tanning. 

Nanshan Temple (南山寺)
Admission fee: RMB 150/adult (about BND $33); RMB 78/children (BND $17.20)

There's this Chinese saying that goes "福如东海,寿比南山", which literally means "Happiness as much as the East coast, Longevity as much as Nanshan" to greet people (especially elderlies) during birthdays to bless them with happiness and longevity. I have no idea why they use Nanshan for it, but it's probably due to its durability..?

The Grand Guanyin statue (海上观音) also rises magnificently 108m above South China Sea in the Nanshan area. Guan yin (观音) is commonly known as the Goddess of Mercy. 

Had our vegetarian lunch in one of the restaurants there. Yum yum.

After that, we headed over to Lu Hui Tou park.

Luhuitou Park (鹿回头山顶公园):
Admission fee: RMB 30/person (BND $6.60)

According to the legend, a young hunter from the Li tribe, overcame the difficult routes of 99 mountains and crossed 99 rivers in order to chase a deer. Eventually the deer was unable to escape and stood firm at the end of the cliff and turned its head back. The deer turned into a beautiful young lady whom the hunter fell in love with. 

On top of the hill, you're able to have a bird's eye view of the whole Sanya!


I love how my camera managed to brighten all the pictures (although the sky was really dark that day). All these pictures are the brighter pics are from my camera and the rest are from my iPhone 6.

We went for an impromptu night show in the Beauty Crown Cultural Centre (美丽之冠), which was specifically built to hold the Miss World Beauty Pageant in 2003. It then hosted 5 miss world events and is going to host Miss World 2015 in this December.

The performances were just average but the stage and costumes were extravagant.

They gave us a private room equipped with private toilets and TV (but why would you watch TV and waste the tickets for the show?)..and we get to enjoy the performances at the balcony!!
Felt very phantom of opera-ish!

Today was also dad's birthday. After the show, we went back to MGM and collected our cake..
The cake costed us about BND $100 and it was just a normal fruit cake!! D:
We had no choice because it was quite late and we didn't know if there's any bakery around Yalong bay..

Day 5

We had to cut short our trip due to family emergency back we bought our tickets home immediately and flew back. 
Initially, we were to stay for another 2 we've missed going to 天涯海角, which literally means Edge of the World..but dad said it's basically just a beach and some rocks? We're supposed to go back Haikou and visit the Shishan Volcanic Cluster Global Geopark (雷琼世界地质公园), as well as shop around Haikou's malls. 

Overall, I'm grateful for this trip and I've gained more knowledge on my culture.
I am definitely anticipating for our next family trip (: