Archive for the ‘Hainan’ Category

When shopping in China, one should test or at least see the real product before making the purchase. A friend of mine bought an mp3 player in Shenzhen, only later found out that what he paid for was nothing more than the plastic outer shell.

There are many tourist traps. And Yik and I were stupid enough to fall into one of them during our Sanya trip two weeks ago.

Because we wanted to eat more fruits in our 4-day vacation, our taxi driver drove us to a fruit stall. Only a few kinds of fruit were selling there, and beside mangos, all of them were wrapped in colored plastic paper. The salesgirl in the fruit stall told us that the fruits wrapped were different kinds of Hainan’s tropical fruits, with exotic names like 霸王果 (literally translated as “conqueror fruit”) and 吉祥果 (literally translated as “fortunate fruit”), definitely some must-try, Hainan specialties, blab blab blab…

After some bargaining, we bought a so-called conqueror fruit and a so-called fortunate fruit. We unwrapped the fruits when we got back to our hotel, and we found nothing but a grapefruit and a white melon. While the grapefruit was inedibly dry that we had to throw it away, the melon was awfully sweet! So that’s not a total lost at least. Haha.

After the trip, I researched online and learnt that a conqueror fruit should be a fruit that looks like a small mango, while fortunate fruit may be another way people call a pitaya, aka dragon fruit (火龍果).

Well, so we got cheated and we have learned our lesson. Thanks god that the tuition for this lesson is very much affordable HAHA 😀

We got told that this fruit is called a 霸王果 (conqueror fruit). It’s really nothing but a melon. We were so naive… 🙄

This is how a 霸王果 (conqueror fruit) should look like, size of a little mango.

And we were told that the fruit wrapped inside is a 吉祥果 (fortunate fruit). It was really nothing more than a grapefruit… or an orange…

According to some Chinese forum, 吉祥果 (fortunate fruit) is just another name of 火龍果 (dragon fruit).


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“Excellent hardware, yet insufficient software” (硬件充足,軟件不足) – This is my comment of the place after my Sanya trip.

With miles-and-miles of long beaches, beautiful sunshine and blue sky, and many world-class hotels such as Hilton and Kempinski, Sanya has all the necessary “equipments” to be a premier, top-class beach resort nowadays.

But it is the software that Sanya is now terribly lacking of. A world-class resort must have the amenities and atmosphere for its tourists to truly enjoy and relax themselves during the time they spend there. How can tourists truly enjoy if they have to take the bad attitude of taxi drivers’ every time after rejecting to go to the driver suggested shop/restaurant? And how could tourists have an absolutely relaxing vacation if they have to watch out for all the tourist traps and worry of being ripped off big time by some shops or seafood restaurants?

Food ain’t cheap in Sanya…

And this is the same for the world-class resort hotels in Sanya. Yik and I stayed in Kempinski Hotel during our Sanya trip. The beautiful hotel has everything a five-star resort should have, with its own private beach, internet access, a private balcony with an outdoor bath tub in each of its room, and such. Despite of all that it has, there are many things one can spot here and there that shows its inadequacy.

In Kempinski’s own private beach

For example, we had our complimentary buffet breakfast in the hotel every morning. It was not great, but good enough, well… besides its soggy cereals and the dead cockroach we found in the middle of the walkway (it was taken away by a waitress after Yik notified her about it). But compare to a lively running rat, a dead roach doesn’t seem to be much of a big deal huh. Yes, no kidding, we saw a big rat running from one side of the lobby to the other side of the lobby. I wonder if anyone working in the hotel actually saw it and just pretended that they didn’t. Haha.

And while the customer service at the lobby desk was very friendly and helpful, there was still much space for improvement in the restaurants of this five-star hotel. In fact, bad customer service is one of the most common comments that I have heard of from my friends on many of the five-star hotels in Sanya which they stayed in.

If there is no improvement on its software, I really find no reason to choose Sanya over Cebu, Bangkok, Bali and other beautiful places in Southeast Asia for my next battery-recharging vacation.

Sanya, indeed, is a very beautiful place.

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Yik and I bought this fruit when we were in Sanya. The girl in the fruit stall told us that the fruit wrapped inside was called 霸王果 (literally translated as “conqueror fruit”), a popular tropical fruit of Hainan. Since we wanted to buy some fruits anyway, we thought that it would be cool to try some local fruits of Hainan. So, for RMB 50, we bought this 5-lb, plastic-paper-wrapped fruit.

While even up to today we have no idea whether we have had a fair deal or simply got ripped off, it appears that at least we have got lied to, for I have searched online for photos of 霸王果, and the fruit in the photos doesn’t look anything close to the fruit we have bought in Sanya.

According to this post, 霸王果 is more like a small mango. But the fruit that we bought was more like a canary melon, with a bright yellow outer skin and white inner flesh.

Well, maybe we’ve got cheated, but that’s ok. The melon was so sweet and juicy that what it was called didn’t matter much anymore 😛

This is what we got, the fake conqueror fruit :mrgreen:

And this is what a conqueror fruit (霸王果) suppose to look like.

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We tried several taxi drivers in our 4-day Sanya trip. We had both good and bad ones. And here I would like to recommend the ones that we had good experience with.

They are Mr. Cheung (張先生) and Mr. Choi (蔡先生) from Fujian (福建). They have moved to Hainan for more than 10 years already, now are partners and share a taxi together. For RMB 5000/mth, they rent a taxi and drive in shift.

When Yik and I were in their taxi, they were not pushy in giving and selling their sightseeing suggestions to us . Yik’s hometown is Fujian as well. So we are not sure if it was because of this fellow-townie relationship that made them so nice and easy on us.

But, anyways, we had a good time with them. We used their taxi a lot that day. So by the end of the day, we paid them RMB 150, with the extra RMB 50 as tips.

PS: If you are a Chinese, maybe you could pretend that you are a Fujianese who has moved out from Fujian since very young, and that’s why you couldn’t speak the language. Haha.

This is Mr. Cheung’s business card. The contact number of Mr. Choi is 13036067868.

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Hainan Taxi Scams

When you want to hire a taxi in Hainan, negotiate a set price first before getting into the taxi. Hainan taxi has meter, but we better not pay accordingly. Tourists, who don’t know Hainan well enough, may easily get driven around for a much longer ride than what it should be.

Comparing to other places in China, taxi in Hainan isn’t cheap. A 10-minute ride from the airport to the Kempinski Hotel costs RMB 50-60, while a 15-minute ride from the hotel to Sanya City Center costs only RMB 30-50. It all comes down to supply and demand, you see. Taxi fare to anywhere from the airport is expensive, regardless of the destination. The airport is loaded with ignorant tourists. If one tourist doesn’t take the drivers’ offer, there are still planes full of tourists who will.

For long distance destinations, it is probably better off hiring a taxi by the day, which costs only RMB 100. It is such a good deal because some of the sightseeing spots, shops, and restaurants give commission to the driver when he brings tourists there. In addition, the driver is free to pick up other customers when you are not using his service.

And probably because of the commission system, we have heard many stories from our friends and posts on forums about Hainan taxi scams, of the unpleasant experiences of being brought to places where the tourists didn’t request, of drivers getting all rude and ill-mannered when the tourists insisted not going into the shops that were suggested, etc, etc…

So to prevent all these from happening, once we got into a taxi, Yik and I would tell the driver that we were not interested in shopping and asked him to drive us to only the places we requested. This might not have stop the driver from selling us to visit some other shops and restaurants “near-by”, but at least we showed him that we were no dummies, which certainly helped set his expectation low and get him sell us not as hard.

There are taxi scams and tourists traps everywhere in the world. So don’t worry. We just need to be a bit more alert when traveling, so to save ourselves from many unpleasant experiences.

tuk-tuk drivers and taxi drivers, same same 😛 😈 :mrgreen:

Hainan taxi driver recommendation

Posts of similar topics for my India & Nepal trip

Beware of the Commission System!!!
Indian Drivers & the Evil Commission System
Car Rental: How Much Tips for a C+ Service?
Car Rental: Yes or No?

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When we visited Sanya Nanshan Cultural Tourism Zone, beside Nanshan Temple and the 108m Guanyin statue, there was the Longevity Valley (長壽谷). This valley has neither significant history nor beautiful Buddha statue. I guess it probably is just another nice place built to make the tourism zone more worth-the-money.

Ticket of Sanya Nanshan Cultural Tourism Zone, RMB 150, so expensive (RMB 78 for Hainan citizen)

In the valley, there are some trivia posted about nickname of different ages that we have found quite interesting and would like to share here.


喜壽:七十七歲 →草書喜字看似七十七



米壽:八十八歲 →米字看似八十八

白壽:九十九歲 →百字少一橫為白字


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Do you know that 南山 (Nanshan) in the well-known, 4-word phrase 壽比南山 (long life as great as Nanshan) is actually referring to Nanshan of Sanya?

Nanshan (南山, literally translated as South Mountain) is the southernmost mountain in China, and its historic facts and legends have led people to believe Nanshan as a blessed land of auspiciousness and longevity.

And here are some trivia to share…

According to the record from Buddhism scriptures, Guanyin Buddha (观音菩萨) vowed twelve oaths to save all living beings. To dwell at South Sea permanently is the second oath of the twelve.

Master Jianzhen (鉴真法师), the renowned monk in the Tang Dynasty, tried in vain five times to sail eastward to Japan to preach Buddha’s teaching. On his fifth sail to Japan, he drifted to Nanshan by a typhoon. While staying in Nanshan for one year and a half, he set up a temple and did missionary work, and then, finally succeeded in his sixth voyage to Japan.

The Japanese travel monk named Konghai (空海和尚) also landed at Nanshan on his way to learn Buddhism in the Tang Dynasty.

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