Flying to Hainan
The island of Hainan is separated from the mainland by a narrow channel known as the Qiongzhou Straits. In the interests of economising or just to enjoy the exotic some tourists choose to travel to Hainan by themselves in one of the following ways: by sea transport, by train, by bus or by private car. The last three variants would, of course, involve a trip on a ferry since there is as yet no bridge linking Hainan to the mainland via neighbouring Guangdong Province.
We at Hainan Life, however, would not recommend this method of travel to the island as it is rather long and inconvenient. The much preferred option for thousands of tourists is flying to Hainan. There are air routes to and from the main cities on the island, notably Haikou (the provincial capital) and Sanya (the main resort city) which connect the traveller with practically all major cities and regions in the country as well as a range of foreign destinations.
We would like to draw your attention to the fact that many air routes which are displayed as, for example, ‘London – Sanya’ in fact include a transfer on mainland China and follow this (or similar) route: ‘London – Shanghai – Sanya’. Should you fly this or a similar route when arriving in Hainan you shall not be eligible for the visa on arrival. For more information, please kindly view our ‘Visa Regulations’ section. For passengers whose flights originate outside of China may we recommend transiting through Hong Kong. Hong Kong offers visa-free entry to many nationalities (please see http://www.immd.gov.hk/eng/services/visas/visit-transit/visit-visa-entry-permit.html for more details) and you are likely to be permitted to board a flight from Hong Kong to Haikou or from Hong Kong to Sanya even without a valid Chinese visa. Such flights from Hong Kong to Hainan run twice daily. This is important as many airlines may not have the most up-to-date information regarding visa-free regulations and may be unwilling to allow you on board.
Traveller’s tip: air tickets to Haikou are often significantly cheaper than to Sanya and are easier to obtain as tickets to Sanya are often sold out quickly particularly during the high tourist season. Even though your final destination may be Sanya it may well be economically more attractive to fly into Haikou. Haikou’s Meilan Airport is connected to the high-speed rail network and is only a nine-minute ride from central Haikou and one and-a-half hours from Sanya. If landing at Sanya’s Phoenix Airport then you are advised to take a taxi to the town. All taxis are equipped with a metre and must be used by law. On the rare occasion that the taxi driver ‘forgets’ to turn on the metre, a reminder from the passenger usually suffices.
We hope that this information has been of use and we wish you a pleasant stay on our wonderful island!