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Inside The Mountains In West Hainan

Time: 2018-08-24

During our Round The Hainan Island trip in Aug 2018, Fanny, Chloe and I (Angie) had the privilege to have a one-day exploration into the mountains guided by an official from Changjiang Tourism Committee. Here is the briefing of the trip.

10:30 2 Aug, we departed from Changjiang County government building, and drove into the mountains. On both sides of the road were various kinds of tropical plants, such as banana trees, mango trees. The further we went, the more beautiful it was, with a river running through the mountain.

On The Way

About 12:10, we arrived at the Nandu River Ten-mile Gallery Scenic Spot(南渡江十里画廊景区) and the Emperor Cave(皇帝洞) which is on the hill by the river. Both were at primitive status without entrances or entrance fees.

Nandu River starts at Bawangling, Wangxia Village, Changjiang County and ends at Donghe Village, Lingshan Town, Haikou City, with a length of 352.55km. It was just green mountains with clear water here without any boats or other activities. It is said if you want to take a cruise, you need to contact the boatmen in advance.

Nandu River

Emperor Cave is a county level Key Cultural Relic Unit. Relics from the Neolithic to the Qin and Han dynasties were found here. The ground is composed of thick layers of bird droppings which local farmers take to the farms. There are some stalactites inside the cave and the ground is very slippery. You can take a nice view of the river from the cave entrance.

Emperor Cave

At 12:50 we set out to our next destination - Hongshui Village(洪水村) which took about 10 minutes. This is said to be the most remote area of Changjiang County and has a name “Tibet of Hainan”. Because it is located far from the outside, the Li Minority culture is kept intact here. It has the most and best preserved Li Nationality Boat Shaped Thatched Roof Cottages. While the introduction on the wall says there are 153 cottages, I saw about 20 cottages. Most cottages are ramshackle and not livable. 15 of them have been renovated and maintained as intangible cultural heritage, called as the “living fossil” of Li Culture. 8 of the 15 cottages have been transformed to guesthouses (funded by a man from Hong Kong) with showers and flush toilets and can serve maximum 10 customers. The customers can buy stuff from the adjacent new village and cook by themselves. As I was told, there are only 1 or 2 bookings a year. The facilities are quite basic so I am not sure of the quality.

Boat Shaped Thatched Roof Cottages

All the villagers have moved to the adjacent new village which is much more lively. Some people were chatting on the street, some driving the truck, some clearing the fish net and chickens and ducks were wandering around. Not all the villagers understood Mandarin. An old lady over 70 had two blue lines on her face and a blue tattoo on her legs. Li women from different tribes used to wear different tattoos which were symbols of the tribes. Now the youngest women with tattoos are over 70 and soon the tattoos will become history.

Hongshui Village

About 13:40, we left Hongshui Village and arrived in Qicha Miao Nationality Village(七叉村苗自然村) at 14:40 which is on the way back to Changjiang County.

There are some 2-floor buildings that serve as homestays. There are 2 to 3 suites in a building and each suite has 3 bedrooms and a private bathroom which is suitable for hosting a family. On the sign at one of the doors, the house owner’s name is mentioned, as well as the information on the person and unit who are helping with the homestay project.

Qicha Miao Nationality Village Homestay

At the end of the road, by the river, is Mumian(Kapok) Gueshouse(木棉客栈) which is a 2-floor building. Each room is facilitated with a private bathroom and a balcony which provides the view of the countryside including the river. The owner and staff were quite hospitable. The high season for this guesthouse is Feb and March when the kapok trees are in blossom and the whole countryside turns red.

Mumian Gueshouse

After this, we visited another guesthouse which is less well maintained. Then we went to have lunch at a restaurant run by a Li guy Mr Liu. The restaurant is named Benlata(奔拉踏农家乐), meaning come to eat in Li language and is located in the middle of the farms where you can see farmers working. The view is very nice and it even has its own fish pools.

Benlata Restaurant

Around 16:40 we left Benlata and had a one hour drive to Baotu Village(保突村), 4km north of the Changjiang County. The Li Nationality Pottery Museum(黎族原始制陶馆) is located here. The Li Pottery making was listed in the first batch of intangible cultural heritage protection projects by the State Council in 2006 and as introduced by the museum there are only 38 persons who know how to make pottery in the old Li way. We saw several women working here and we learned the skill has been passed to women only.

Li Nationality Pottery Museum

We left the museum at 17:50 and arrived at our hotel in Qizi Bay at 18:30.

My suggestions regarding making a tour:

D1 and D2 stay at Qizi Bay

D3 Morning departure from Qizi Bay, take pictures on the way and make a stop at Nandu River Ten-mile Gallery Scenic Spot. Then continue to visit Hongshui Village for the Boat Shaped Thatched Roof Cottages. Have lunch at the villagers’ or at Benlata Restaurant. Stay overnight at Mumian Guesthouse. Explore Bawangling Scenic spot at free will which is within walking distance.

D4 Depart for next destination.

By Angie Guo - Charmission Travel


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