Camping in Hainan
It is possible to camp in Hainan both on the beach and in the countryside.
I haven’t seen any campsites, but from my personal experience it is possible to camp pretty much where ever you like. It is certainly possible to camp outside of the tourist areas. Most of Hainan, outside of Haikou & Sanya, is undeveloped and rural. So it is not too difficult to find an empty (apart from a few local fishermen) beach or attractive countryside to camp at.
It is possible to buy tents in Hainan if you don’t already have one
Wanquan Lake Camping
Wanquan Lake / River is near Qionghai and about half way down the east coast of Hainan. The spot we decided to camp at is pretty remote and only accessible by boat, so we hired a local to take us across the lake. The area turned out to be perfect. There was a clear river running down between two mountains and thick tropical jungle on either side. The river was broken up by many waterfalls and lagoons. The water was cool and so a great escape from the hot sunshine. It was cool jumping from rocks into the deep lagoons, have a look at some of the photos. This place was beautiful
Camping in Tianya
After the success of the last camping trip we decided it was time for another. An acquaintance offered a trip on his boat to a deserted island just off the south coast of Hainan, where we planned to camp overnight. However things didn’t turn out exactly as we would have liked. The boat trip never materialized and instead of relaxing on a small island we spend the day getting lost in random towns while searching for a good spot to camp.
As sunset approached we settled for the not particularly beautiful TianYa because we had little other choice. We set up camp on the edge of a large sand dune overlooking the sea. The cacti proved to be a little annoying in the dark. It didn’t take long before local villagers became aware of our presence and we took advantage of their interest by giving them a few yuan for firewood and a torch. By now it was obvious that there was a typhoon just off the coast. Every minute or so the night sky and dark ocean was lit up by great bolts of lightening. The only ambient sound was the powerful waves crashing on the beach below. There was a distinct possibility that the storm was heading our way, but it seemed to stay offshore and we experienced only occasional strong winds and brief downpours. The weather was kind of exhilarating, thou perhaps not for everyone.
A few 20-ish year old local village lads caught a bucket of small crabs off the beach and showed us how to cook them on the fire with a stick. They didn’t taste particularly good but maybe it will useful to know in a Ray Mears survival skills way. For the first time in Hainan I saw a scorpion in the sand. I quickly squashed it and threw him in the fire mainly because of fear. The list of horrible, potentially dangerous, creatures i’ve encountered in Hainan grows.
We didn’t hang around long the next day partly because of the stares from the group of Hainanese women who where planting trees in the sand dune around us and partly because of the locals who were hassling us for money for them ‘protecting us’ through the night. Next trip will certainly be better planned.