"Nanshan" Nanshan by mke1963

Nanshan Travel Guide: 8 reviews and 23 photos

Nanshan is marketed heavily in Sanya as a theme park and a cultural experience, enough to put anyone off the place before even going, but Nanshan is worth a visit. Although a very modern place, it has a long history and the reasons for building the temple and the other Buddhist-related places are genuine.
It all started with the rather hapless Tang Dynasty monk Jian Zhen, who was trying to cross to Japan to spread the word of Buddhism there. He kept trying to cross the treacherous ocean, but his first four attempts failed. On the fifth attempt he washed up ashore with his disciples here at Nanshan on Hainan's southern coast. A local general Feng Chongzhai helped the unlucky monk to build a temple, and Jian Zhen stayed for eighteen months converting locals. He then left, determined to reach Japan - which he did on his sixth attempt. There he had great success in persuading the Japanese to become Buddhist.
Later, more monks came to Nanshan in search or peace and quiet - a state that the modern-day visitor can find aplenty here.

Nanshan is best approached along the bumpy old round-island road, now replaced by the expressway. The old road passes through local villages and small towns west of Sanya, revealing a pleasant, hard-working tropical coastline mainly unspoilt by modern development. However, the towers of Sanya and Haipo are marching westwards quickly, and there are already signs of agricultural land being taken out of service for the next condominium developer.
Nanshan itself is largely visited, and the Nanshan park is situated in the valley below, opening out onto the beach where a massive statue of Guanyin is being constructed on a man-made island out at sea.
The park itself is divided into many different areas, in a remarkably careful and considered manner. Several museums and displays are steamong some very adventurous landscaping and beautiful gardens. Although Nanshan attracts large numbers of visitors, the majority focus on the main temple and certain other key areas, leaving 95% of the park quiet and secluded.

Nanshan is worth visiting, and even after a whole day there you may feel that there is more to see. It is a place for walking, playing on the grass, visiting museums, temples, pavilions and exploring the tamarind forest on the 3km sand-bar. It is not possible (nor would it be desirable to swim here) as the currents in this bay are treacherous: looking down from the sandbar, you can actually see the silt-laden undertow and cross-currents just metres off the shoreline.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Great park and open space
  • Cons:Still isolated from the social reality of Hainan
  • In a nutshell:An enjoyable day out
  • Last visit to Nanshan: Jan 2005
  • Intro Updated Jan 8, 2005
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