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UpdateTime:2012-11-06 author: source:Haikou tourism development committee





    Haikou originally served as a port for Qiongshan, the ancient administrative capital of Hainan island. In the 13th century Haikou was fortified as a military post governed by the Ming dynasty (1368–1644). The port is located in the west of Nandu river outlet. Qiongshan was opened as a foreign trading city because of the Treaty of Tianjin (1858). In 1926, Haikou overtook Qiongshan in population ,and after the 1930s it was declared a separate administrative county.

    Since 1949, Haikou has maintained its position as Hainan's main port, handling more than half of the island's trade. It has replaced Qiongshan as the island's administrative capital. Haikou got the capital of Hainan Province, founded in 1988.

    The Old Haikou (the oldest area of Haikou) was mostly built by the rich Chinese from the mainland and some overseas Chinese who returned to their homeland. The buildings’style mixed with Portuguese, French and Southeast Asian style. These streets used to be divided into areas for medicine, silk and clothing, agricultural products, stationery, etc.

Various projects are take measures to preserve these historical buildings.



    With no transition from winter to spring and its implied continuous drizzle, no autumn breeze to make dry dead leaves fall from the trees, no brilliant white snows, no bone-chilling wind or spring chill, Haikou instead has jade seas, blue skies, sunshine, sandy beaches and swaying coconut palms as its constant themes. A precious pearl set atop the crown of a treasure island, Haikou is truly the tourist holiday paradise of the South China Sea! 
Benefiting from a superior geographical location and climatic conditions, Haikou is the capital city of the international tourism island of Hainan Province, as well as its political, economic, technological and cultural center. The city's charming seaside scenery, rich tropical culture, unique human landscape, complete facilities, hot springs that are increasingly famous both at home and abroad, self-drive tours, golf courses, convention and exhibition facilities all make Haikou the optimum destination for business travel!



    Hainan culture is the combination of traditional culture of mainland China, the culture of the border areas of south China and foreign cultures. On one hand, it maintains its traditional culture forms, such as Qiong Opera, Junpo Festival, Huanghua Festival, dragon and lion dances. On the other hand, it absorbs modern culture forms, such as Karaoke, KTV, singing and dancing performance, golf, bowling, sailing and surfing. Tourists can not only appreciate bamboo pole dance and coconut shell dance, but also play golf and go sailing on the sea.

Local Culture
Drama and Opera

Qiong Opera
    Qiong Opera is the main kind of opera in Hainan. It originated from the tune of Geyang, Jiangxi. In Ming Dynasty, it was introduced to Hainan Island by Minnan and Chaoshan. Qiong Opera then came into being after having absorbed the folk ditty. Qiong Opera has a history of 360 years. The traditional repertoire of opera are very rich. Each type of its role has it own traditional performance art and different mask, different tune. The types of role are comparatively complete. Qiong Opera has strong local characteristics. It is a popular artistic form in Hainan area, Leizhou Peninsula of Guangdong and Southeast Asian countries with overseas Chinese with family origin in Hainan.

Puppet plays actors with human
    Hainan's Puppet Plays with Human Actors is originated in Lingao County, a neighboring county of Haikou. Much different from the puppet plays of other places, the stage of Lingao Puppet Play is the same with that of an ordinary theatre: there's no curtain on the stage, the puppet and its manipulator play the same role. The chief accompanying music is produced by double suona horn. The actor makes himself up and then appears on the stage with the puppet. The puppet is finely made. With moving eyes and mouth, the puppets look as if they have life. Sometimes the actor and the puppet coordinates in the play. The actor manipulates the puppet and performs his own role at the same time. Because of its special local color and different presentation, this kind of puppet play has been much liked by people both at home and abroad.

Holidays and Festival Celebrations
Hainan International Coconut Festival
    From the ancient times, Hainan was known as "Coconut Island", and the coconut palm is the symbol of Hainan. During April 3rd-7th, 1992, the first Hainan International Coconut Festival was held. After that, from every end of March to the beginning of April, there will be the coconut festival. And the festival has 8-year history. It has become an influential celebration in Hainan. Coconut Festival is the combination of touring, culture, customs, physical sports and trade. The aim of the festival is "developing tourist industry, culture exchange, trade promotion, and further opening up". It attracts lots of tourists and businessmen at home and abroad with the characteristic of Hainan folk customs and culture. It fulfils the function of "let the world know Hainan and let Hainan go to the world step by step". In 1993, the General Secretary Jiang Zemin attended the Second Hainan International Coconut Festival and the Fifth Anniversary of Economic Zone of Hainan, and he delivered an important speech at the meeting.

Junpo Festival
    After the spring festival, in the February of lunar calendar, people in Hainan will be in Junpo Festival. Having Junpo Festival is a typical custom in Hainan. Junpo is divided into "Gong Period" and "Po Period" according to the sex of the consecrated gods. It is mainly a custom to offer sacrifices to ancestors and historic figures. Because of the difference between the consecrated gods, the "Gong Period" and "Po Period" of different villages are not the same. When there is Junpo Festival, people usually form a unit in a county or village. They will make large offering sacrifices, shoulder the ancestor of Gong and the ancestor of Po to look around the village, and invite the friends to home. The scale is very large, and the food is superior to that of Spring Festival. Dragon and lion team will go to every family to visit. In the evening, the families in the village collect the money together to invite the opera troupe to perform Qiong Opera. The earliest record of the festival is in Song Dynasty. Now the grandest celebration is the "Po Period" in Xinpoliangsha, Qiongshan. Liangsha Po is Mrs. Xian in Sui Dynasty. The "Po Period" of Liangsha is during February 9th-12th of the lunar calendar. At that time, the ancestor of Po will look around the village, and Taoist Priest will make folk dance. It will fascinate you by some mysterious customs.

Flower Exchanging Festival
    Every evening of January 15th of lunar calendar, the city of Qiongshan, which is near Haikou, is in the sea of flower. This is a unique Flower Exchanging Festival, which is held once a year. Flower Exchanging Festival is a folk festival in Qiongshan, and it has a long history. It is said that it began from Tang Dynasty. At the very beginning, it exchanged incense, not flower, and it meant the descendant would follow generation after generation. After the founding of the special zone in Hainan, traditional incense is taken place by flowers. The scale, range and the region are enlarged year by year. On January 15th of lunar calendar, with all the lights on, streams of people gather in Fucheng, Qiongshan. The streets are full of flowers. Many people in Haikou, especially the youths, holding flowers, walking along the Haifu Road, form a flower exchanging groups. The understandings of flower exchanging people are different. Most of them want to bless each other by exchanging the flowers at the beginning of spring while the youths take this festival to be a good chance to make friends. They want to use flowers as matchmaker to find their future spouse. Nowadays, the area of flower exchanging extends to Wanly Garden, and the influence of Flower Exchanging Festival will become larger and larger.