Haikou is the capital city of Hainan province, which is located on the northern coastline of Hainan Island, facing mainland's Leizhou Peninsula. Situated on the continent of the coast, it is the biggest city in Hainan Province, covering a total land area of 236.44 sq km with a population of 6.31million and serves as a trade and communication center in the province.
With sea surrounding on three sides, Haikou is a city with excellent environment. It also enjoys the reputation of "a coconut city" or "a pearl on the treasure island" for its graceful coconut palms and fascinating sea scenery. Haikou is a city with a long history. During the Tang Dynasty (618-907), Haikou had been a port of the city of Qiongzhou and became a communications hub between the Hainan Island and the mainland. In the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), Haikou became a trade port, the south gate to China and a major link between China and the outside world. Haikou is rich in scenic spots and historic interests. It has long silver beaches, excellent seaside swimming grounds, advanced sampan racing facilities and well-preserved volcanic remains. There are also numerous marine forest mangroves and abundant hot spring sources in the city. Historical, cultural and natural sites in the area include the Tomb of Hai Rui, the Qiongtai Academy of Classical Learning, and the Memorial Temple for the Five Officials and the Memorial Temple of Sushi and Binhai Park. More than any other urban centre on Hainan Island, Haikou enjoys a diverse and colourful blend of traditional folk customs and modern Chinese and western culture. Visitors exploring the crowded streets and old neighbourhoods near the steel and glass office towers are sure to hear Chinese opera, traditional folk songs and western pop music and experience an equally diverse blend of sights and tastes.