Chinese New Year, also known as the spring festival or the lunar new year, officially marks visits to loved ones, exchange of gifts and special meals. Each year is represented with a different zodiac animal sign; where 12 animals in total are distributed and reused for each new year. (Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig). Last month saw the year of the pig for 2019.
Palm trees, blue skies, oven hot with a breeze, mosquito bites and food markets. Pretty much summed up my trips to haikou and Sanya. It was like being on a European holiday all over again and leaving rainy London behind. Galavanting at 10pm with no jacket on? No problem.
First stop: Haikou
The Hawaii of China is what we called it. It’s funny how going to a new city felt like a completely different country. Coming out of 3 degrees weather in Shanghai to over 25 degrees in Haikou and Sanya was a crazy transition. As the most popular city of China’s island province, Hainan, Haikou, also known as the ‘coconut city’ is China’s second largest island.
The food markets were definitely a highlight for me. As they were nonstop, I noticed that the city never sleeps. I got to try some delicious nibbles from multiple different stalls all of which had completely different styles of food. The even balance of Chinese and western food all under the same roof impressed me the most. Sticky rice and dumplings on your right, chicken wings and French fries on your left; you can’t go wrong.
The beautiful gardens gave us a true vibe of Chinese New Year. The amount of visitors and decorations signalled the time was very near and excitement was definitely in the horizon.
Next stop: Sanya
Sanya was like a whole new world despite being a 2 hour train journey. That’s when the sun really came out to play.
Huaya resort and spa. That’s it! That’s the sentence. A location fit for kings and queens because everything from the palm trees to the towels they give you at the poolside was absolutely sensational. A 5 minute journey to the beach meant late night strolls and chit chats as you you bury your feet deep into the sand; as well as morning and afternoon visits and a dip in the sea (not me though, yikes). The resort also had a shopping mall which literally came to life at night, with a mini amusement park for kids, live band shows, and heaps and heaps of restaurants and food stores.