The Great Wall of China and Forbidden City usually make up most of the tourists’ itineraries, so they pretty much define the country’s tourist attractions. However, if one prefers to get away from the hustle and bustle of many of China’s cities and enjoy another side of its tourism industry, simply head to Monkey Island.
Things to Do
Monkey Island, located at the southern portion of the Hainan Province in Lingshui, is a natural reserve spanning more than a thousand hectares and home of more than 1,500 macaques. This special monkey species is actually protected by the country, and so they are allowed to be by themselves right in the island.
The entire adventure begins with a ride through the ropeway: the only way to get to the island. Spanning more than 7,000 feet, the uniquely designed air lift or open-air gondola is the longest cable ride in the country, which provides you a breathtaking view of Sanya, where you start, and reserve itself. You can also pass through jungles and lush vegetation such as one that is primarily comprised of palm or coconut trees.
Even before you can reach your destination, you can already hear the screams and screeches of its inhabitants, which can make you either uncomfortable or looking forward to meeting them. Regardless, upon arrival, you are immediately greeted by a few of them that could be holding flags.
The island is then basically yours to explore. You can follow made trails, take photos among the monkey-based statues, or interact with the monkeys (should they dare approach and play with you). Speaking of the macaques, they are generally known to be completely harmless. In fact, many of them will not bother you at all! As much as possible, you are not allowed to touch them or take photos with flash to avoid scaring them away.
Nevertheless, some monkeys can be brats: they can appear while your guard is entirely down, steal your food, pull your hair and certain items, and block your path. Some of them can also come running while screaming. If you can just be ready for anything, though, you will surely enjoy the monkeys’ surprises to their visitors.
Since the reserve also functions as a training ground for the macaques, there are many performances or shows at different points of the island. The way the macaques interact with one another and with humans, however, are already shows that are truly worth seeing.
The macaques are not the only things to be excited about. Since it is surrounded by waters, most of the foods prepared are seafood. Fresh and truly delectable, crabs, prawns, and mussels can crowd your plate in an instant.
Tickets are sold from 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The price for a ropeway ride is CNY 30 (one way). Admission fee is currently at CNY 68.
It is located in the south of the Lingshui Li Autonomous County, over 10 kilometers away from the county town.
How to Get There?
Sanya is the starting point to Monkey Island. To get there, you can take a bus from Haiku, which arrives every 30 minutes. The entire trip is around 4 hours, depending on traffic. A much faster choice is a bullet train, which cuts the traveling time to around 30 minutes to an hour.
If you come from big cities such as Guangzhou, Shanghai, and Beijing, you can ride a train, which takes around 15 to 36 hours. Though excruciatingly long, the journey allows you to see quaint villages that dot the countryside.
CNY 68 (admission fee), CNY 30 (one-way ropeway ride)
8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Sanya itself has a lot of things to offer, such as Nanshan Temple, Dadong Sea, Perfume Bay, and Sunrise Rock. At Monkey Island, you are welcome to sit on the shore and have fun at the beach.