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Selwyn Times: November 22, 2016

32 Tuesday

32 Tuesday November 22 2016 Travel SELWYN TIMES Sun, sea and surf on Hainan Kate Preece heads to Hainan Island to experience a luxury resort holiday, Chinese-style FIVE STAR: One of the many luxury resorts in Hainan Island, MGM Grand Sanya was formerly Hotel Gloria Resort, the first resort in China. Getting there: •Christchurch to Guangzhou flights operate Sunday, Wednesday and Friday. (From December, Mondays and Thursdays as well.) Flights to Sanya include transfer at Guangzhou/Baiyun International Airport. Contact your local travel agent or visit www.csair.co.nz to book. •Unless you are in China for transit only (less than 72 hours), a tourist or business visa is required. It will take three to five working days to be processed and must be applied for in person at the Chinese consulate office (106 Hansons Lane, Upper Riccarton), open Monday to Friday, 9am-noon. Applications aslo online at christchurch.chineseconsulate. org under ‘Public Forms’. Single entry is $140. A THREE-course meal, a few movies and a glass or two of red later, a small travel group touched down in Guangzhou, 12 hours after leaving Christchurch. The flight was courtesy of China Southern Airlines, the service was enjoyable, and after a quick transfer at Guangzhou/ Baiyun International Airport, we were a mere 90min from sun, sea and surf. Flying into Hainan Island, the references to the ‘Hawaii of China’ are believable. Mountainous green hills give way to deep valleys, with ribbon-like rivers glistening down below. Around the island we circled, getting closer to the more inhabited eastern edge, where the popular city of Sanya unfurled before us. It is here that the luxury – and only – resorts in China are found, and where we were to rest our heads for four nights – in two of the area’s prestigious resorts. The island’s assets seem to be spaced evenly about a 30min drive from one another, therefore, it took such a time before we arrived at the MGM Grand – originally the Hotel Gloria Resort, the very first resort in China. Greeted with lei-like flowers and a glass of the best coconut milk I have ever tasted, we were quick to immerse ourselves into resort life – swimming, sunbathing and ordering from the bar in a swimsuit. After tourism, agriculture is the second biggest industry on Hainan Island, with trucks transporting produce to ships, which carry on to mainland China. Crops include pineapple, coconuts, bananas, mango, which flourish in the year-round average temperature of 25 deg C. Rice, too, is a common commodity, which is why paddy fields are still in plain view when travelling between Yalong and Haitang bays. The endemic mountain rice is a short, fat grain known as shanlan and gives rice wine a purplish hue. It is, however, most favoured by the Li people, as a trip to Ganza Li Village – or the Areca Valley Tourist Resort of Hainan Ganza Ridge Primitive Culture – is quick to show. Akin to our own Maori cultural experiences, the village provides insights into a time gone by. Based on a village built 400 years ago, a theatrical show with a troupe of performers, fire, goats and ducks, showcased the traditions of the Li people. From the courting ritual, which involved the woman pinching the man-of-interest’s ear – the harder the pinch, the deeper the love – to the intricate weaving techniques that led to Huang Daopo (1245-1330) to popularise cotton planting in Shanghai, and improve the textile industry, it was a high-energy show that entertained young and old. You can also try their traditional bamboo pole dance – a fast-paced skipping act reminiscent of Elastics, yet with bamboo poles threatening to clap together on your legs should your rhythm be off. 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SELWYN TIMES Tuesday November 22 2016 33 Island – the ‘Hawaii of China’ Juice comes straight from gigantic green coconuts, is extracted from corn (served hot) or squeezed fresh from a cactus. Meat is served whole – fish, in particular, and the dumplings couldn’t be better. By the end of our trip, the menu du jour was sweet and sour pork, fried rice, pan-fried dumplings, and moreish vegetables. Spice fiends will also be satisfied, with the hot stuff part of the everyday menu. To experience something offthe-beaten track, take a trip to a fishing village. We arrived at one not long before sunset, joining a raft of boats making their way inland or heading back out, fully equipped with rows of squid lights hanging high above the cabins. The waterway was lined with restaurants. Those workers who don’t own a restaurant will take their hauls directly to the fish markets, but the rest are waiting for restaurant-goers to choose their menu. For us, it was swallow fish, which melted in the mouth after being boiled in stock on a burner atop our table. This form of ‘steamboat’ or ‘hot pot’ is classic Chinese fare, REAL LIFE: Fishing villages offer holiday-makers a glimpse of a more rugged lifestyle. and the go-to option if you are to experience any Chinese barbecue buffet. With four days in Sanya, we experienced little more than a taste for this tropical oasis. A short trip through one of the shopping areas brought us head-to-head with the locals, which was what the Kiwis craved (especially those after a bargain or two), yet for those wishing for a resort-style retreat, choose from 43 international brands and there’s no doubt you will find solace. TROPICAL RICHES: With its ideal climate, fruit is a key part of the island’s agriculture industry. PHOTOS: KATE PREECE Main attractions Nantian Hot Spring The biggest open-air hot spring in China, with mineral water of an average 57 deg C. Nanshan Cultural Tourism Zone A Tang Dynasty-styled Buddhism theme park, at the foot of Nashan Mountain. Touted as the ideal ecotourism and spiritual site for Buddhist and non-Buddhists alike. Areca Valley Tourist Resort of Hainan Ganza Ridge Primitive Culture More than just a cultural experience, zip-lining through the forest would get the adrenaline pumping. Wuzhizhou Island For water sports, diving and snorkelling and sunbathing, a visit to this popular island off the coast of Haitang Bay is worth a look. Orchid World Described as the world’s largest tropical orchid theme park, visitors can expect to see more than 3000 species of orchid, 300 of which are extraordinarily rare. Buxingjie shopping street A great place to fill up your suitcases. Expect Chinese trinkets from outdoor stalls, plus floors shops dedicated to different shopping areas – from clothing to toys. A good place to master your bartering, with at least 20 per cent expected to be taken off the first price offered. Get all ‘Christmasy’ with us! PRE-CHRISTMAS FUNCTIONS, PARTIES, WORK BREAK UPS, CHECK THIS OUT! TWO COURSE THREE COURSE FESTIVE MENU FESTIVE MENU ONLY $ 35 EACH ONLY $ 45 EACH AVAILABLE LUNCH & DINNER DAILY UNTIL 24/12/16 FOR PARTIES OF 10 OR MORE SORRY, WE ARE CLOSED CHRISTMAS DAY The RESTAURANT & CAFÉ 0pen daily from 6.30am Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner RACECOURSE HOTEL & Motorlodge 118 Racecourse Rd, Sockburn, Christchurch. Ph 03 342 7150 www.racecoursehotel.co.nz H ORNBY WORKINGMEN’S CLUB «WHAT'S ON« FRIDAY 25 NOV, 7PM ROBBIE DREW SATURDAY 26 NOV, 4.30PM ANDY GILMOUR 8PM THE C-BAY BAND SATURDAY 27 NOV, 1.30PM ANNETTE’S HEART OF THE COUNTRY $6 ENTRY CHALMERS RESTAURANT PRE-CHRISTMAS BUFFETS Sunday 4th; 11th; 18th Dec LIVE MUSIC with NEVILLE BARRIE 5pm start. $30 adults. Bookings essential «COMING UP« FRIDAY 9 DECEMBER, 7.30PM THE WARRATAHS TICKETS $25 SATURDAY 10 DECEMBER, 8PM WBO WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE PARKER v RUIZ JR Hornby WMC | ph 03 349 9026 | 17 Carmen Road | Hornby www.hornbyworkingmensclub.co.nz | Members, guests & affiliates welcome