Few people associate China with beach resorts, but most people have never been to Hainan, the country’s largest island and smallest province.
Hainan is an archipelago located in the South China Sea. It takes its name from its largest island, Hainan Island, which accounts for the overwhelming majority of its land mass.
A bit like Hawai’i, the newest state in the United States!
Hawai’i, too, is an archipelago, and it, too, takes its name from the chain’s largest island – Hawai’i. To avoid confusion, most people in the island state refer to Hawaii as “the Big Island”.
Because of its location and climate – and the Chinese proclivity for borrowing names and making nicknames out of them – Hainan is known in China as the Hawai’i of the East.
It was pure coincidence that a press trip to Hainan arose as I was getting ready to publish a series on my first trip to Hawai’i in the Accidental Travel Writer.
I visited Hawai’i for the first time when I was 18. It was my first solo trip away from home. More than four decades later I arrive in the Hawai’i of the East.
I arrived in Hainan five days ago. My new “Hawaiian” adventure begins tomorrow.