A guide to diving & surfing in Hainan
Sanya West Island
The water sports on the West Island.
West Island is shaped like a hawksbill turtle living in tropical areas. It is the largest of a series of small islands located off Sanya. Home to fishing tribes for generations, its idyllic surroundings of sandy beaches, rocky coves, and an interior filled with palm trees are now being discovered by domestic and foreign tourists alike.
West Island is the number one destination in Hainan for diving and water sports. Located eight miles off the coast, the island offers every kind of diversion for those with an active lifestyle. Feel like diving? West Island boasts crystal clear waters with a wide array of marine life and extensive coral reefs to explore. Want an adrenaline rush? Para-sailing, jet-skiing, and four-wheeling on beach ATVs are all available to test your mettle. Just want to relax? Take a break in the shade of the coconut trees, enjoy the tropical breeze, and savor the freshest of seafood at one of the island’s restaurants. West Island has something for everyone.
In addition to water sports, visitors to West Island can enjoy a salt-water pool, camping and barbecue facilities, or test their aim on archery range. Diving instructors are internationally (PADI) certified, and offer a full range of equipment for rental. Scuba excursions are available from shore or by boat.
Speedboats for the 10 minutes trip to West Island depart regularly from Sanya Harbor and are available morning to evening.
West Island has a wide array of souvenirs to bring home for family and friends; choose from exotic seashells, beautiful coral pieces or minority handicrafts.
Named "Guqizhou" in ancient times, the island is in irregular shape, extending 1,400 meters from the east to the west, and 110 meters wide from the south to the north. The island is one the few islands in Hainan with fresh water resource and rich vegetations. Wuzhizhou is famous for its coals in good condition, and hard and soft corals pile in many layers in various colors. With a wide diversity of tropical fish and corals, Wuzhizhou is a perfect location for divers.
Situated quietly in a distant corner, Wuzhizhou has great charm with blue sky, azure sea and white clouds. The northwestern part of the island is specially set for swimming pool, ballroom, beer hut, gymnasium and other recreational facilities. Tourists on the island can enjoy sunbathing, seawater bathing, diving, motor boating, marine fishing and many other beach and water sports.
The ticket price is 128 RMB.
Paracel Islands are located about 180 sea miles to the southeast of Hainan Island. Together with Dongsha, Zhongsha and Nansha Islands, they are the south tip of China. Since very few visitors have ever landed on the island, Paracel has the well-preserved marine ecological system.
Paracel Islands was selected as the most beautiful one among the 6500 islands in China by Chinese National Geography Magazine in 2005.
Paracel Islands is the only way between Chinese mainland and Southeast Asia and Indian sea route. For hundreds of years, ships with china, silk, spice and pepper pass by and therefore this route is nicknamed “silk road on the sea”.
Paracel Islands is mainly composed of coral reef. The reef above the surface is only one-hundredth of the whole and most of them are under the water between 1-3 meters. Since it is rarely visited, the water is very clear and it can be seen through as deep as 40 meters. Therefore, diving along the coral reefs under the water is not only safe but you can also enjoy the wonderful underwater world.
More than 40 birds live in Paracel Islands. There are always birds hovering above the sea and forests. There also exist large number of fishes around the island including 400 kinds of coral fishes and oceanic fishes. Precious sea turtle, sea cucumber, pearl and abalone are also present.
In Paracel Islands, you will always see numerous flying fishes take off from the surface and fly like an arrow. The pectoral fins are very strong and wide like the wings of dragonflies. They set out from the sea with high speed and open their fins to glide for tens of meters.
Paracel Islands used to be under the military management but now it is open for tourism. Paracel Islands’ travelling will focus on the high-end market. Visitors should take boat or airplane to travel to the confined area or route and they have to follow the touring group.
Transportation: Tourists should take Qiongsha II store ship to Yongxing Island first. Application is needed for Paracel Islands and the quota is limited. Qiongshi II goes back and forth between Yongxing Island and Paracel Islands one time a month.
Where to live: Tourists can live in the fishermen’s house on the island, on the ship and in the tent which was brought by themselves. The fresh water in the island are purified from the rain water so keep saving water in mind.
Food: You can eat all kinds of seafood in Paracel Islands. You can take some wood coal and cumin with you to barbecue by yourself.
Diving: The water here is crystal clean so that you can see clearly the underwater world when diving.
Tips: Jan to April is the best season for travelling in Paracel Island. Since May there will be typhoon and it is very strong from August to October. The sunshine is very glaring so remember to take the sun cream, hat and sunglasses. Mosquitoes are everywhere so anti-mosquito oil is a must.
Chunyuan Sea Scenic Area
Chunyuan Sea is located at 12 km to the east of Wan Cheng Town of Wan Ning. Its costal line is as long as 4.2km. The average temperature is 24.5℃. The beach is of flat scope and crystal clear. The water is free of pollution and float grass and can be seen through as long as 15cm. Therefore, it’s a good place for swimming, diving, yachting, windsurfing, sailing, sea sightseeing and fishing in the reef.
To the east of Chunyuan Sea is Dahuajiao Natural Reserve where more than 200 wild macaques live. To the southeast of Chunyuan Sea is The First Island of Hainan Bird’s Nest Island. It is the state-level marine natural reserve. To the north is Xiaohai Sea with an area of 49 sq meters which is filled with crabs, mullet, prawn, etc.
Clear spring water goes through the mountains of the scenic area. On the half of mountain, there is a “Reading Cave”. According to the legend, there was a scholar who loved the quietness of this place so he decided to stay here to do his research. Wild animals like porcupine, rabbits and monkeys are often seen in the mountain. Ducks and sea-gulls are also present in August or September by the sea.
Yunlong Bay is located at the Wenchang City of Hainan Province and about 20 min drive from the foot of the popular Bronze Drum Ridge. It’s not a famous place of interest compared with Wuzhi Mountain or Wanquan River. Very few tourists visit here and the natural view is preserved well. Therefore, if you don’t favor the popular but noisy Sanya and want to find a quiet and nice place for holiday, here it is.
The average depth in Yunlong Bay is 12-20m and is suitable for both snorkeling and scuba diving. You can also fish with the local fishermen and enjoy the fun in the process and finally barbecue the food you get by yourself in the coconut tree forest. At night, catching the crabs along the coast is also a big pleasure.
Due to the distinctive geological condition in the Rock Garden, diving there will be a unique experience. On the seabed were huge rocks surrounding the bay, some exposing the tip above water. The beach is gradual and water is calm and shallow within the bay (up to 5-6m) with great visibility. Lobster, crab, stonefish, porcupine fish take habitats around these rocks.
Observing the reef under the sea is another feature of Yunlong Bay. Visitors can take the boat which is equipped with a mirror under the water and watch the colorful coral reef. Between the corals, fishes of various colors and shapes are freely swimming, big and small crabs climbing across the ray, sea clams flapping their shells and clusters of algae dancing with their green sleeves. What a lively underwater world.
It takes around one and a half hour and 150 yuan from Meilan Airport to Yunlong Bay.
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