"Shishan Volcanic Craters" Haikou Things to Do Tip by mke1963
Haikou Things to Do: 9 reviews and 2 photos
The area around the Leizhou Bandao peninsula and the northern part of Hainan Island has seen volcanic activity in geologically recent times. The area is one of four significant volcanic areas in China - the others being Changbeishan in the NorthEast, Wudalianchi in Heilongjiang and Tengchong in Yunnan. Changbeishan is considered a potential threat, being one of the world's largest stratovolcano. Wudlianchi was active in the 18th Century, and Tengchong a little earlier.
The Leishou Bandao's thirty six volcanoes are dormant, but still offer the opportunity to see a real volcano up close.
The reason for the presence of the volcanoes here is considered to be similar to those on Hawaii - it is a volcanic hotspot were the earth's mantle is thinner and the magma below is much closer to the surface. Wherever there are hotspots or deep faults there are hot springs and Hainan has many of them. (Actually there are a number in suburban Beijing as well, because of a huge fault that runs across the city - it doesn't figure much in the tourist literature!)
The Shishan craters are just outside Haikou, to the southwest, and the characteristic cone-shaped hills can be seen from a distance.
A volcanic industry has grown around the base of one, with a fairly good museum and plenty of small restaurants.
The climb up to the volcano is marred somewhat by the creation of monumental steps and botanically insipid gardens. You can walk around the rim of the volcano and then down into the throat: right into base of the volcano. The volcano is smothered in tropical vegetation which, for once, is a bit irritating because it makes it difficult to actually see the rocks!
Another volcano can be seen a kilometre further south from the rim, and there are good views over the coastal plains of Haikou.
[Photo to follow]
Address: Southwest of Haikou