We may have taken a sabbatical on blogposts for a bit but you’ll be hearing from us on the regular again very soon. We’ve consulted with our guidebooks and innermost desires and settled on the decision to travel to an island in the south of China this year called Hainan. It is located in the South China Sea, very close to North Vietnam. The island is rather large being that it is about 12,700 square miles and is home to around 8.7 million people. The weather is tropical and the climate is very similar to the climate we had when we were living on Maui.
Our last two travel itineraries included a lot of moving around and covering a lot of countries with only about a month to experience each of them. If you’ve ever traveled outside the US, you know a month is not that long to explore an entire country…..even the smallest of them. We wanted to try something different this time.
People always ask me when inquiring about travel if we learned the language. My answer is always, “We picked up the basics enough to get around.” I should also include most of the countries we’ve been to have had a decent amount of English speaking people because of tourism. Of course many countries in Southeast Asia were under French or British occupation for a time in their history as well. This will not be the case with China.
China is one of the world’s superpowers, just like the US. They have 2 main dialects, Mandarin and Cantonese and most people speak one or the other in addition to their regional dialect. Even in the more touristy parts of China, most people do not speak English. We started to learn Mandarin spoken word back in October and we practice vocabulary all the time while hiking or on long drives. We learn something new about it all the time and every time I connect a dot it makes me think, how great would it be to actually have Chinese conversation skills by the time we come back. Staying in one country does have it’s benefits.
Our main focus while in Hainan are the incredible and consistent surf breaks on the south shore of the island. We’re going to pair that with daily yoga practice as exercise and fitness are always in focus when we travel. We don’t have any treks planned this trip(yet) so we get to have a different daily fitness experience this go around. We’ve got our lodging set up through February right by one of the best surf breaks we’ve read about and so we hope to take full advantage of it on days with good surf. Depending on when the surf season starts to taper, we may leave the island and explore some of mainland China before returning to the U.S. in the end of March.
The island also has a hilly/mountainous rainforest jungle to explore in it’s interior with plenty of hiking and waterfalls to occupy us on days when surf is a no go. We’re looking forward to checking out the island all it has to offer. If you’re joining us on our blog this winter, drop us a line if Hainan is a place you’re thinking about visiting. We find when traveling, things are constantly changing and it’s always helpful to chat with someone who has had the experience more recently than not.
We’re working on compiling the current and useful information pertaining to applying for and successfully getting a Chinese Tourist Visa in America. China does not give visa on arrival like many other countries in the Asian continent so there is some prep and follow through required. We will go through the visa process here on the blog before we depart at the end of December. Thanks for stopping by and we wish you all a cozy and lovely holiday season.
Rachel and Matt