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Blue Bay, Hainan

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Blue Bay–also know as Clearwater Bay–is in Lingshui County in Hainan. It's an undiscovered little corner of paradise that is mostly farmland and unspoiled beaches. There's a great deal to explore, from Boundary Island to Diaoluo Mountain Nature Reserve. The area is expecting 30 new hotels to open in the next few years, so now is the time to go visit.
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23 Provincial Rd, Lingshui Lizuzizhixian, Hainan Sheng, China, 572426
The Hainan yellow lantern chili—海南黄灯笼椒—is particular to the area, and grown in the farms off Perfume Bay. It's a seriously hot pepper, so don't start eating them off the bush. The vast majority of these chilies are processed into a hot sauce that...
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Lingshui River, Lingshui, China
Until recently, Lingshui was a simple, working-class Chinese town that was far enough from Sanya not to get much tourism. Times are changing, however, and there are numerous luxury hotels opening or slated to open just a few miles away along the...
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Shopping in downtown Lingshui is far from glamorous, but you can buy all the basics—including medicines—for crazy cheap prices. Things get fun at night, when you can eat barbequed street food from pop-up stalls while enjoying the amazing street...
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This is an inspiring place in Hainan. Founder Frederick Yeh studied in the United States, coming back to his native Hainan to find the sea turtles missing. He started Sea Turtles 911 as a non-profit dedicated to the conservation of these...
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Untouched by humans before the 1800s, Boundary Island wins my vote for most beautiful water on all of the Sanya coastline. It's still touristy, of course—and you should definitely skip the "submarine ride," which isn't worth the money—but the...
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Qiongzhong, Hainan, China
As you walk down the beach of Perfume Bay, you can see a number of rice farms just off the coast. They will probably be relocated as development continues in the area, so now is a great time to wander through and check out a farm. Take care not to...
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Lingshui, Hainan, China
In Xincun Town, not too far from the Westin, there are a number of great local restaurants. Of course, you have to order Hainan chicken, also known as Wenchang chicken, which is probably the most famous Hainan dish. Fresh fish and seafood are also...
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Lots of locals in Hainan chew betel nut, a red seed that turns your teeth red. The effect of chewing betel is compared to nicotine or caffeine, or maybe chugging a Red Bull. The cultivation of betel nuts is interesting—it grows on a creeper vine...
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Lingshui, China
Riding on the cable cars to Monkey Island, you can look down and spot some colorful fishing rafts. One of these is the Monkey Island Raft Restaurant. The fish and seafood on this raft are not just freshly caught, they're still alive and swimming...
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Lingshui, Hainan, China
The Nanwan Monkey Island Ecological Park is the only tropical island nature reserve for macaques, a kind of monkey native to south China. To get to the island, you can take the longest cable car in the world. When wandering the park, watch out—...
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Lingshui, Hainan, China
This was one of the first restaurants in the new Clearwater Bay area, and it is a little pricier than the hole-in-the-wall seafood spots. However, the quality and ambiance are much nicer, so I think it's a good choice. Plus the boss and waiters...
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China, 三亚 Lingshui Lizuzizhixian, 英州镇英田大道雅居乐公司
Ya Ju Le Restaurant is a very cool spot that offers Shaanxi cuisine cooked using organic and natural ingredients, without MSG. Shaanxi is a province in northwest China, by Sichuan, so the food can be a bit spicy. Their cuisine includes a lot of...
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China, Hainan Sheng, Wanning Shi, G98海南环线出口
If you're hoping for an authentic Hainan restaurant experience, this spot is worth a stop. The restaurant's name is 海南味道酒楼, and it's right before you get back on the highway from Boundary Island—ask the taxi driver to call for directions...
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VROOM VROOM! You know you want to rent a Jet Ski and fly around Perfume Bay like you're in a Bond movie. And you can. Jet Ski rentals are available all over the place—just walk down the beach or ask at your hotel. When you get sick of jet-skiing—...
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Jianshe Rd, Lingshui Lizuzizhixian, Hainan Sheng, China, 572400
The Double Sail Stone can be spotted off the coast of Perfume Bay. It's a gorgeous outcropping, thick with coral and swarming with fish. It's a bit hot these days, in disputed waters, so you can only gaze upon its forbidden outline, jutting from...
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China, Hainan, Lingshui Lizuzizhixian, 新村镇中行新村分理处 邮政编码: 572426
One of the coolest things about staying out in Blue Bay is all the fruit trees. No exaggeration, you can literally walk around and pluck fresh mangoes, litchis, star fruit, and more right off the tree. As someone raised in Minnesota, I never even...
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Haitang Rd, Haitang Qu, Sanya Shi, Hainan Sheng, China
Shopping for luxury goods in China isn't usually much fun—a steep luxury tax normally sends Mainlanders overseas to get their fix. Happily, the largest duty-free shopping mall in the world opened in August 2014 near Perfume Bay. Thousands of...
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Most people come to south Hainan for beaches and cocktails, which is fine. Actually, it's a blessing, because it means places like Diaoluo Mountain remain off the beaten track for the majority of visitors, and thus retain more of their unspoiled...
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Xiaomei Reservoir, Lingshui, China
Xiaomei Lake is located in the Diaoluo Mountain Nature Reserve. It's the perfect antidote to overly hot days on the beach. Located in the mountains, the temperature is sure to be cool and breezy. Large groups of tourists usually stick to the...
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Lingshui, Hainan, China
The Li and Miao people live in Lingshui County. They're a protected minority in China, and many of them still practice cultural traditions such as weaving. Actually, their weaving is so popular that it's quite cheap to buy a simple blanket-sized...
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Baoting, Hainan, China
For people with children or who are unwilling or unable to take a rigorous rainforest hike, Yanoda Rainforest Park is the place to go. On the one hand, there's a bit of a theme park feeling to it—especially if you visit during a school holiday,...
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Lingshui, Hainan, China, 572400
Coconut Island is still barely developed and largely uninhabited, but it is beautiful. It's easy to ask your hotel to help you rent a local boat for the day to take you out there. There's not much to do—just stare at the unimaginably clear water...
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Haitang, Sanya, Hainan, China
Fish spas are a fun experience, especially taking someone who has never been. Shenzhou First Hot Springs Resort has a nice fish spa, but also has a beer pool and a milk pool. Actually, it has dozens of different hot springs, including traditional...
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In Lingshui county, you may spot some Chinese people who look Muslim. These are the Hui or Utsul people. Despite the fact that they likely came to Sanya more than a thousand years ago, and are extremely unique in terms of language and culture,...
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China, Hainan, Lingshui Lizuzizhixian, 新村镇中行新村分理处 邮政编码: 572426
Of the first crop of luxury hotels being built in Blue Bay in Lingshui County, the Westin has by far the best place for cocktails. Kick back at the MIX and watch the sun set over Blue Bay with a fruity tropical drink and those super-tasty bar...
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Beside Golf Club, Qingshuiwan, Yingzhou, 陵水黎族自治县三亚市海南省 China
Yes, it's a bit cheesy, but the Raffles Hotel in Lingshui Bay has a perfect replica of their famous Long Bar in Singapore. That includes their famous Singapore Sling cocktail. You can relax in the bar or out on the deck, overlooking the bay, with...
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23 Provincial Rd, Lingshui Lizuzizhixian, Hainan Sheng, China
Every bar, restaurant, cafe, stall, and shack in Blue Bay sells fresh coconuts to drink. They are super-refreshing, sweet without being sickly, and cost next to nothing—your whole group might get addicted.
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Yinghai Ave, Lingshui Lizuzizhixian, Hainan Sheng, China
Tea houses are as ubiquitous as Starbucks in China. The experience is generally the same: choose a slightly expensive, exotic Chinese tea, watch the elaborate pouring ceremony, then sit for an hour or two with a good book. Here's a little guide to...
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Lingshui, Hainan, China
Hailing Pearl Cultivation Farm is an actual working pearl farm, so you can see the fascinating work up close. They haven't really gotten used to tourists, which means you can take your time without a hard sales pitch, and buy genuine pearls at low...
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Baoting, China
The Narada Resort & Spa in Lingshui offers zen classes and retreats from time to time. This fits in with the Narada's general serene vibe, with their hot springs and vegetarian cuisine. Their spa is supposed to be really nice and not terribly...
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Yingchi Rd, Lingshui Lizuzizhixian, Hainan Sheng, China
Clearwater Bay is also called Qingshui Bay in Chinese. The beach was created from scratch to support a number of new luxury resorts, including the Westin. Since the developments are so recent, the beach remains pretty much empty—for now! Many of...
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There's a bit of a golf war going on in Hainan now, with every new luxury hotel wanting to claim the best and most fabulous golf course. One early winner is the Lingshui Blue Bay Golf Clubhouse designed by the international Dahlin Group. It seems...
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Lingshui, Hainan, China
Blue Bay has some of the best wind in China for windsurfing and kitesurfing. If you're just learning the basics, rent a board from one of the luxury hotels in Clearwater Bay, like the Westin. For professionals, the best wind is off Boundary...
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China, Lingshui Lizuzizhixian, 新村镇南湾猴岛 邮政编码: 572400
China is a not a place known for clean, organic food, which is why I'm crazy excited about the Westin's new SuperFoodsRX at their Blue Bay Resort. There's a reason South Beach Diet was so popular; there's something about being on the beach that...
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Jiyang, Sanya, Hainan, China
There's a little-known charter plane service that offers private air tours of the coast. They run some pre-set tours, or you can rent a plane to do whatever you like. You will need to pay by flight kilometer/time, waiting time, and some additional...
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Lingshui, Hainan, China
Every village in China has a small temple or two. The ones in Xingcun, down by Clearwater Bay, are especially beautiful. It seems like everything is just a little more colorful and vivacious in this coastal town, and the temples are no exception....
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Lingshui, Hainan, China
Clearwater Bay is surrounded by villages and farms, which is a huge part of its charm. Sometimes it can really feel surrounded, like in this case, where visitors driving to their hotel had to wait for these cattle to cross back to their farm. ...
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Haitang, Sanya, Hainan, China
Nantian Hot Springs is a high-mineral, high-salinity hot springs resort on the edge of Clearwater Bay. There are a total of 34 hot springs pools, located in a natural coconut grove. There is a waterfall pool with water column to massage your back....
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Clearwater Bay, with its beautiful beaches, is a big magnet for wedding photographers on the weekends. Walking down the beach, you can see dozens of couples in all their finery taking photos. There's no need to worry about intruding, and,...