"Xinglong" Xinglong by mke1963

Xinglong Travel Guide: 11 reviews and 8 photos

Xinglong is a curious place, attracting a lot of visitors for no apparent reason other than the presence of hot springs, rather like so many Victorian English or olde worlde German towns.
The town was originally set up as a place where overseas Chinese could return home to China and one of the first places to specifically target investment from the Chinese diaspora. Quite why overseas Chinese would want to invest and live in a town which might well be a huge distance from the ancestral village is never really explained.
Regardless, the investment came in and was focused on agriculture and the development of hotels and especially restaurants. Howevever, as with all Chinese resorts it is crowded three weeks every year - the three Golden Weeks in January/February, May and October - and deserted for the remaining 340 days.
Xinglong is an inland resort with some decent places to stay and eat, and a tropical botanical garden...with several small theme parks focusing on China and its people and not a lot else. It is, however, a good base for exploring the eastern part of Hainan.
The focus has been on development of the hot springs, which have created a spa atmosphere. The rooms of most hotels provide thermal spring water piped right to the room.
Hot springs in many parts of the world have created similar spas, but it is usually a phenomena from a forgotten age. Usually these spa towns have moved on and the thermal springs are a sideline or an anachronism. In China hot springs still seem to pull in the visitors (as at the appropriately named Reshui in Inner Mongolia).

Xinglong is a useful, practical stop-off if travelling between Haikou in the north of Hainan and Sanya, just 11km from junction 14 of the north-south expressway. It is possible to drive between the two in a day, but there is much to see in between, so a mid-point overnight stop makes it easier to spend time at some of these places without having to rush to one or the other at night.

Xinglong is actually two distinct towns, the older Xinglong town sitting on the Wanning (?) river, and the town now called Xinglong Hot Springs which is 3km east. Gradually the two towns are converging, but the sprawling tourist developments are mainly low quality and visually unappealing. Despite the financial problems many hotels and restaurants are having, at least two enormous new hotel complexes are being constructed (December 2004). Given the inability of these kinds of towns to sell themselves, I wonder how existing hotels are going to manage. The dual economy - 15 days tourism, 340 days agriculture - doesn't sit easily in Xinglong.
If you do visit outside the Golden Weeks, remember that more than 90% of the restaurants will be shuttered up. The hotels keep going but on shoestring budget.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Pleasant town; botanical gardens
  • Cons:Poor tourism planning, makes it unattractive
  • In a nutshell:Useful stopover between Sanya and Haikou
  • Last visit to Xinglong: Dec 2004
  • Intro Updated Jan 14, 2005
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Reviews (11)

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  • urban4est's Profile Photo
    Nov 6, 2004 at 7:20 AM

    Mark let us know if you find out how they survive. I saw this in many nice places in China. It always amazed me and seemed such a waste. It seemed strange sometimes being the only guest in a new nice restaurant.

mke1963

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