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Hainan Island is a beautiful tropical island in southern China. It’s one of the smaller provinces of China and a great destination if you are looking for sun and beaches. I don’t like to swim and burn my skin in the sun all day so I made several day trips on Hainan Island. One day I went to the Nanshan Temple and the most southern point of China at Tianya Haijiao Beach. It’s a perfect day trip from Sanya which doesn’t take the full day allowing time for the pool or beach afterwards. I left early morning from the Holiday Inn Resort Sanya with a private driver who charged only 45 euro for a full day. A record low for me. Will you join me on this tour?
The Nanshan Temple is located just a 30-minute drive away from Sanya and best visited early morning when it’s still a bit cool and not crowded. Unlike many other big temple complexes in China the Nanshan Temple was only built in 1988 to commemorate the 2000th anniversary of Buddhism in China. Its main attraction is the Guan Yin of the South Sea of Sanya which was completed in 2005. The scenic area is large with various temples and a pagoda. I suggest to take the shuttle from place to place so that you can escape the heat and see the whole place more efficient. The Nanshan Temple together with the Future Buddha Temple and the Pagoda are located at the western end of the scenic park. They are the main attracted together with the Guan Yin statue. From the Nanshan Temple you have a beautiful view over the sea with the Guan Yin statue in the back. If you are lucky you can see people practicing tai chi on the rocks below you.
If you make your way through the scenic area of Nanshan Temple, you will come across various temples and other structures. The Longevity Valley is one place I recommend to go but all the pavilions and gardens are well worth a look at too. Just wander around and learn about the history of Buddhism. The Nanshan Temple complex is a well-developed tourist attracting and, even though it was pretty crowded, a pleasant place to visit.
Guan Yin of the South Sea of Sanya
The Guan Yin of the South Sea of Sanya is the main attraction of the Nanshan Temple complex. With its 108-meter height it’s taller as the Statue of Liberty. It was only completed in 2005 as the Nanshan Temple Complex is still in development. It’s the tallest Guan Yin statue in the world and has three faces of which two look towards the sea and one towards the land. Make sure you go inside and up to the base of the statue for a beautiful view towards Hainan Island. It was a bit crowded during my visit but the waiting time to go inside was not more as 15 minutes. The amount of tourist to go inside is limited and photography is forbidden inside. I can only say that the inside is beautiful decorated in gold and with a large Buddha statue in the middle. In total I was in the scenic area for about 4 hours; but if you take it easy you probably need a bit of more time to explore all of it.
Tianya Haijiao Beach
Tianya Haijiao Beach is considered the most southern part of China by most people. This is however not the actual most southern point of mainland China which is at Jinmu Cape just south of Sanya. The Tianya Haijiao Beach is famous because of the large rocks which are romanticized in various Chinese poems. In the photo below you can see the Rocks of Sun and Moon at a distance in the sea. They are said to be the sun and moon holding hands never to be separated again. Tianya Haijiao is a famous spot for couples to go to if they are just married. The place must bring them luck. I’m not sure about that, but if you believe in it, it might work?
I walked over the path along the beach admiring the beauty of the place. Rock after rock with poetic names and young couples making photographs and selfies. A LOT of selfies. One famous spot to make a photo is at the place where two palm trees cross. The Chinese girl in the photo below also thought that; she was busy making photos for about 15 minutes. At several points it’s possible to swim or take a foot bath if you want. I continued walking towards the end and from there I took the shuttle bus back to the entrance. I spend about two hours at the Tianya Haijiao Beach but you could easily spend much more time there.
I returned to my hotel in the afternoon to relax at the pool with my family. They didn’t join on this day tour from Sanya as they preferred to stay at the hotel. If you visit Hainan Island I recommend to make the above day tour. It gives a great understanding of Buddhism and how Chinese literature embraces nature. A day well spend. Another day trip I can recommend is to go to West Island and have dinner at the Sanya fish market. After a few days in the south of Hainan I continued my journey to Haikou in the north. More on that later!
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Did you visit Nanshan Temple in Hainan too or do you have questions? Please leave a comment at the bottom of the page. Love to hear from you!
Gallery Nanshan Temple & Tianya Haijiao Beach
Click an image for a full screen gallery of more photos taken during this trip. If you like to use any photo for commercial, private or editorial use please contact first for permission and/or pricing.