A guide to kitesurfing Hainan Island: The Hawaii of China

Dec 02, 2014 BY AWE365 Team

Chinese Hainan Island, also known as ‘The Hawaii of China’, has good wind conditions almost all year round. Kitesurfing Hainan Island is so special because it remains largely unexplored. However, it’s a destination that’s developing very fast and will soon become one of the world’s best known kite and surf locations.

Image courtesy of Flying Circus

Hainan Island is situated in the South China Sea, to the very south of mainland China. The island offers all kinds of environments and facilities, including luxury hotels, restaurants, bars and shops in big cities like Haikou in the north and Sanya on the south coast. There are many smaller cities like Wenchang, Bo’ao, Wanning and Dongfangand, as well as small villages where you’ll be a big attraction for the locals.

Most of the coast is made up of sandy beaches where you’ll find flat, chop or wave, sea, fresh and semi fresh water spots, right in the city or in the yet to be explored natural landscapes.

The Flyin’ Circus Kiteboarding School is based in Haikou, which is about 25 km from the International Meilan Airport in Haikou. There’s good wind here from October till February. And on no wind days we offer trips around the island to find all possible wind directions. We also offer wakeboarding, SUP lessons and equipment rental, as well as speed boats, jet-skis, canoes, and banana boat rental.

flyin circus logo

Usually we kite at Hainan Kitesurfing Association Club at Holiday Beach, which every year is a stop off for PKRA Championship. You can store and clean your equipment here and relax in between your sessions.

In terms of accommodation, there are plenty of options depending on your budget, standards and location preferences. It varies between the more upmarket Banana Hostel (from 50 RMB), close to the downtown area where there is always a party and nightlife happening, to the Shangri-La Hotel right on the beach in a quieter area about ten kilometres from downtown.

How to get there

Hainan is pretty easy to get to. The easiest way is to fly to Haikou or Sanya. Flights to the International Meilan Airport in Haikou are usually much cheaper and the airport is served from more destinations. We can provide transportation for up to eight people in our comfortable van. And for getting around, you can use local taxi or tricycles.

Image courtesy of Flying Circus

To get to China you will need a visa. Hainan Island is part of China, so your visa for the country is also valid for the island. Hainan is more or less open to everybody. Visitors who wish to stay within Hainan Island for fifteen days either on business or pleasure, from countries and regions with diplomatic or official relations with China, can obtain a travel visa or landing visa upon arrival at the airport in Haikou and Sanya.

In order to obtain your visa on arrival at either the Sanya or Haikou Airport you will need the following:

1. Passport valid for at least six months

2. Two passport photos

3. The cost for the visa is 306 RMB (50 USD), you will need to pay in cash and have local currency

Visitors wishing to stay more than fifteen days can apply for an extension to their visa, with appropriate reasons supplied to the authorities. But the landing visa is only valid for Hainan Island. If you wish to visit other parts of China, you have to apply for a visa with the local authorities.

Image courtesy of Flying Circus

Based on the information from the local security office, following nationalities are entitled to get a landing visa in Haikou or Sanya: Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, South Korea, the Philippines, Indonesia, Germany, Britain, France, Austria, Italy, Russia, Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, the Netherlands, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ukraine Kazakhstan, Finland, Norway, and Denmark.

If you are not part of the 26 nationalities listed, then you will need to apply for a visa in your home country via your local Chinese Embassy. You may be required to present an invitation letter, flight reservation and hotel reservation confirmations.

Important note: This information is correct as of June 2013 but may change according to new or revised Chinese government visa regulations. 

Be sure to check with your airline as some airlines are still refusing to allow travellers to Hainan without a visa. Also, you must be travelling from outside China in order to be eligible for the Hainan visa.

Image courtesy of Flying Circus

Best season/typical conditions

​Kitesurfing Hainan Island is best from October until March. This winter season offers strong and reliable winds. It starts slowly in October when the wind turns from south/south-west to a northerly direction – at this time you need to be in the north of the island. The wind speed is usually between 15 and 25 knots. Air and water temperature is of course getting lower at this time.

The coldest months are January and February when the air temperatures drops to between 16 to 25 °C. The temperatures during the rest of the year is usually between 25 and 35 °C. The water temperature doesn’t drop so radically, so a shorty or thin wetsuit should be enough for even the coldest months. Remember that you can kite a few spots right in Haikou city itself, so nowhere is too far.

The spring season is from March till May/June. Wind turns south-east to south, which is better to catch at the east coast (WenChang, Bo’Ao). You can expect wind of around 15 to 25 knots. The temperatures are on the rise again so you will be fine without any wetsuit when kitesurfing Hainan Island.

In summer there is usually south/south-west wind coming. It’s not as regular but can surprise you with some sudden and even strong windy days. You can expect a couple of typhoons, around which weather can change quickly, bringing strong winds and huge waves to any part of the island.

Image courtesy of Flying Circus

Kiting spots

HaiKou

Season: October – March

Wind direction: NW, N, NE

Conditions: Chop/Flat

Distance from Haikou Airport: 25 km

GuiLinYang

Season: October – March

Wind direction: NW, N,NE

Conditions: Chop/Flat

Distance from Haikou Airport: 20 km

WenChang

Season: March till June

Wind direction: E, SE, S

Conditions: Chop/Flat

Distance from Haikou Airport: 70 km

Bo’ao

Season: March till June

Wind direction: NE, E, SE, S

Conditions: Chop/Flat/Waves

Distance from Haikou Airport: 100 km

HaiTang Bay (Houhai Village)

Season: October – March

Wind direction: N, NE, E

Conditions: Chop/Waves

Distance from Haikou Airport: 230 km

SanYa

Season: July – September

Wind direction: S, SW

Conditions: Chop/Waves

Distance from Haikou Airport: 265 km

DongFang

Season: July – September

Wind direction: S, SW, W, NW

Conditions: Chop/ Waves/ Flat

Distance from Haikou Airport: 230 km

Image courtesy of Flying Circus

Local rules and safety

Kitesurfing Hainan Island is generally pretty safe. If you’re friendly and smile at the locals, you’ll get the same back, and they are certainly very curious. If the police ask you to do something, do it. Simple as that. Other than that, there are no rules except the regular kiteboarder’s rules. Ask local kiters about possible obstacles in the water (old piers etc.) when kitesurfing Hainan Island.

Transportation

Flyin’ Circus offers transportation in its comfortable nine-seater van. We can provide airport pick up, transportation around Hainan Island or just between the hotel and kite spot. You can use also local taxi and tricycles, public busses and the speed rail between Haikou and Sanya.

Places to stay

We can help you to plan your kitesurfing Hainan Island trips. There are plenty of options for accommodation. You just have to tell us your budget and expectations, and we will provide you with the possibilities.

Some places in Haikou include:

Banana Hostel – www.haikouhostel.com

A clean, western-style hostel with a nice atmosphere situated at Haidian Dao. Close to the downtown and surrounded by many restaurants, bars and places to go and have fun. Bed from 50 RMB per night.

Teda Resort

This is very close to our kite centre at Holiday Beach. Nice, clean, comfortable rooms from 180 RMB per room/night.

Image courtesy of Flying Circus

TienYow Grand Hotel – www.tienyow.com

A nice clean, comfortable hotel with swimming pools, restaurant with western food and WiFi. Close to the Holiday Beach. About 500 RMB per room/night with breakfast.

Shangri-La Hotel – www.shangri-la.com

Luxury accommodation with a beach suitable for kitesurfing. Situated at the west part of the Holiday Beach. The price varies upon the season. There are many more options for accommodation around the island. We usually decide the destination according to the wind and then recommend a hotel suitable for the client’s budget.  

Food

Food is an important part of Chinese culture. Instead saying ‘How are you?’ they very often use the question ‘Have you eaten yet?’. You can find food everywhere, choosing from a big variety of street food and restaurants. Because Chinese people are used to eating together, the restaurants serve bigger dishes which are to be shared.

The price can range from 10 to 20 RMB for a street dish and 15 to 100 RMB for a dish in a restaurant. For about 200 RMB you can enjoy a nice dinner for four people in a local Chinese restaurant. Although the prices can differ a lot. It really depends what restaurant you choose. Beware that the western-style food is usually more expensive than the local style. Because Hainan is an island, it’s easy to get very fresh and cheap seafood, although again, the price can differ a lot.

Kitesurfing Hainan Island is a great idea for a vacation. This place offers all kind of conditions all year round, including empty beaches and a lot of new experiences to enjoy. Everyone will find something they like here, whether its wave and flat spots, city life and wild nature, luxury resorts and budget hostels. Be one of the first kiters exploring the tropical kitesurfing paradise in ‘The Hawaii of China’.

For more information about The Flyin’ Circus kite centre, school, rental, transportation, info, refreshment, boats rental and shop visit: www.flyincircus.com

flyin circus logo

 
Asia, China, Hainan Island
Kitesurfing, SUP

Travel Articles
 

3 responses to “A guide to kitesurfing Hainan Island: The Hawaii of China”

  1. Hi, I have booked this coming winter trips but I intent to go to New Zealand from Early Dec 2022 to about 15-02-23. to kite surf. However, would like to call in to China to see my Nephew who works in Shanghai on my way back to the U.K. looking for a place to kite in China and based up on info, Hainan, north of the island, seems to fit the bill. I intend to stay for 14 days kiting on the Island.
    Looking for a clean and safe place to stay and not too far from the kite beach. I love Chinese food. I realise there’s plenty of time but would like to know what I can or can ‘ t do in plenty of time.
    Looking forward with great interest to your thoughts.
    Many thanks
    Regards
    David Cummings
    Southampton .U.K.

    • I would recommend following the links for the article to Flyin Circus as they used to run trips in Hainan so can hopefully recommend accommodation. They might still offer kite trips there now.

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