"In the foothills of Wuzhishan" Baotingyu by mke1963

Baotingyu Travel Guide: 2 reviews and 5 photos

The south-central part of Hainan is little visited by tourists. This alone is reason enough to make the effort to get away from the crowded coastline and up into the foothills of Wuzhishan, whose peaks, like five fingers stickingup, are a visible landmark from all directions.
The area is not easy to get around though: maps are almost impossible to find, guidebooks in Hainan are possibly the worst in China (and that is saying something) and the concept of independent travel is alien to hotels and travel agencies on the island.
One day, Hainan's population will benefit from tourism, but there is little lead from the tourism and economic development authorities. As is common elsewhere, money is put into creating low-grade nsympathetic 'touristic facilities' which then lie largely unused, unmaintained and unvisited, eventually becoming a vacnt eyesore in what was once pristine countryside.

The area around Baoting is peaceful and unexplored, with the best access up from the east coast at Lingshui on a fairly good road. All the time, the five fingers of Wuzhishan are a beacon ahead, as the flat coastal plain gives way to forested slopes and terrace farming.
There are few cars here, and most of the traffic on the roads is buses, trucks, motor-bikes and a lot of 'iron buffalo' contraptions chugging along at a snail's pace.
An alternative route is on the 234 road from Sanya to Tongzhi (also known, confusingly as Wuzhishan)
The area is predominantly Han Chinese, although there are increasing numbers of Li and Miao villages and farms.

The town of Baoting is fascinating yet has very little of specfic interest for the tourist.
It is set alongside a deep river bed, and all the buildings are modern, but decaying and falling apart.
The streets are crammed full of farmers selling fruit and vegetables. I have never seen so many oranges stacked up on tables and on the ground. As everywhere in China, the fruit is put into a small bowl and a hand-scale is used to weight it. A few miao will buy you enough fruit to last days and days.
All the shops behind the street traders are open fronted, with the shop goods sharing the space with the living quarters of the family.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Beautiful low-mountain country
  • Cons:Few facilities, hotels poor, little local information
  • In a nutshell:Worth exploring
  • Intro Written Nov 20, 2004
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