"Yacheng and Yazhou" Yacheng by mke1963
Yacheng Travel Guide: 4 reviews and 15 photos
Yacheng lies 30km to the west of Sanya, and is a much older town, despite its apparent poorer location. While Sanya has protected anchorages for boats at the mouth of the Sanya River, Yazhou is some 5km inland, sitting on either side of a wide shallow river.
The old fortified city is very small and even most of that has now been swallowed up by the modern, graceless white tiles and concrete of modern-day Yacheng.
While Sanya feels like any other Han Chinese city, Yacheng retains its status as an important market town for the Hlai (Li) ethnic group who live in the hilly interior of south central Hainan.
The old city gate, now painted red and gently decaying in the sun, lies just 50 metres to the west of the main market area on the main road, and behind it the old Confucian temple. There is an octagonal tower in town, but we were unable to find it.
Perhaps more interesting than either of these sites is the old suburb on the southern fringes of the town, entered through a modern village gateway after the wholesale market. Here you can find a traditional village with beautiful old buildings made from pumice and coral blocks among the betelnut and palm trees.
Yazhou was originally developed as a town in the Northern and Southern Dynasties period, 5th-6thC AD, and became an important trading port facing the Vietnamese coast.
It was in this area that the Tang Buddhist monk Jian Zhen and his 36 disciples landed while trying to travel to Japan to spread the Buddhist religion. He stayed awhile - a troy much cherished locally and commemorated at many tourist sites and gardens.
Buddhist scriptures that he carried with him were stored for a long time at a temple in the town (we couldn't find the temple or the pagoda, despite asking local people!)
Then over the last hundred years, Yazhou and Yacheng's influence slowly waned, as the fortunes of Sanya picked up. Eventually the administration of the area was transferred from Yacheng to Sanya, and today the town remains just a market town for the hills behind and up the valley.
It is an extremely busy place, and sprawls across the plain. It is a good area for getting to see the Hlai people if you don't have the time to travel up into the hills.
- Pros:Friendly people, the old village in the coconut groves
- Cons:Little information and no local maps
- In a nutshell:Worth visiting to get a feel for the lives of the Hlai/Li people
Chewing betel is popular all over South Eastand South Asia, and nobody seems to know how or why it started. The splashes... more travel advice
I can tel you nothing about the Confcian Temple in Yacheng, which was presumably, in earlier times the city temple of... more travel advice
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