Hainan is an island providence in the southern part of China, between Hong Kong and Vietnam. It is where the Ms. World pageant is held. For more detailed information on Hainan, click here. It’s got beautiful beaches and is extremely hot during the summer. China has been trying to promote this island as their Hawaii, but it’s got a ways to go. Here are the reasons why.

1. The resorts are mainly isolated from the rest of the island – lots of Western hotel chains have been built on the island, but there’s a area where it’s concentrated. It wouldn’t be so bad if it were in the middle of the town, but it’s a bit out there. It looks like Orange County compared to the busy downtown of Sanya. So if you’re staying there, don’t expect to walk out and be in the middle of it all. I stayed at my parents’ friend’s penthouse condo, which is also far from everything:

2. The service is lacking – when you go to Hawaii, they welcome you with lei and smiles. When you come to Hainan, they give you a seashell bracelet and … that’s it. (I eventually named it “magical seashell bracelet of power” but it really was lacking in power.) Generally, the restaurants employ people who are trying to sell you expensive fish and/or couldn’t care less about being there. I’m not saying that there are exceptions, but for an island that is trying to become China’s Hawaii, a more inviting attitude would help. Also, we were trying to find some lunch, and my friend went to a buffet and asked the waitress to open the lid to see what were they serving. Out came 20 flies and out went us.

3. There are no stop lights – as of the summer of 2007, there were no stop lights. So when you’re riding in a taxi through the middle of the town, where people walk all over the place, don’t freak out when the driver just go through all the intersections without stopping. Actually, you will freak out because it is as dangerous as it sounds, but think… hey, if the driver hits someone, you didn’t do it. Just strap on your seat belt and enjoy the ride.

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