Getting to Hainan Island, China the Right Way

We've got all the best Train, Plane, Bus And Foot options for anyone worried about getting to Hainan Island in the most beautiful, reliable and inexpensive way possible.

There are really only 2 ways of getting to Hainan island.

You can either fly or ride the ferry to Sanya or Haikou city.

Even though you'll see the train as a direct option to Hainan Island, it, as well as any land transport ends up on the deck of the ferry.

For one heck of a beautiful ride across the Qiongzhou Strait.

It can begin to sound complicated when you read that the train actually drives right onto the deck of the ferry and piggybacks it to Hainan Island.

We'll sort it all out for you.

If you decide to fly over to Hainan Island then we like to use They just have the best prices hands-down.

But we figure it's a mistake to fly over to Hainan Island.

I am going to say that in this case, people who fly over are nuts. The ferry ride across the Qiongzhou Strait is so stunning that it made me feel sorry for the people in the Jets flying overhead.

But to each his/her own. We are going to cover every aspect of getting to Hainan Island.

  • Fly into Haikou City (HAK)

Haikou City is the Capital of Hainan Island. It's usually a cheaper ticket to fly into Meilan Airport in Haikou city over that of Sanya city because of the sheer volume of traffic.

All the best, worst and cheapest airlines fly in and out of Hainan Island via Haikou city. They include China Eastern Airlines, Hong Kong Express Airways, Trans North, China Southern Airlines, and Hainan Airlines.

Haikou's International airport also offers more destination options than in Sanya city. Haikou airport is an international airport so you can include Thailand, Singapore, and other Southeast Asian countries in your list of exit strategies.

Wheras if you fly out of Hainan island via Sanya city, you've only got the major cities in China as possible destinations.

It's about $203USD to fly one way into Haikou City from Hong Kong if you book with

Let us know if you find a better website for cheap air tickets. I've never found one but if you know of one please use the Contact Us form to let us know.

  • Fly into Sanya City (SYX) by Airplane

There are daily flights into Phoenix Airport in Sanya city with China Southern Airlines, Hainan Air and Dragonair (a subsidiary of Cathay Pacific).

Return tickets to Sanya will cost you no less than $222.00USD - $238.00USD from most cities in China. Most people take the Ferry into Sanya city, take the bus up to Haikou city and then fly from there back into China.

But you can do what the heck you please!

Sanya is a bit over an hour's flight from Hong Kong but if you're in Hong Kong and plan on passing through Shenzen, check into a flight from Shenzen to Hainan Island.

I've seen tickets go for as low as $50USD one - way in Shenzen.

Dealing with travel agencies in China is never a great experience. Some of the people may smile a lot and are genuinely nice people, but there is a double - standard in play for foreigners and they will do anything to increase their profits.

You're fair game for scams and over-pricing in their eyes, no matter how nice they seem.

If you can make hotel and flight reservations in your country/out of China (including Hong Kong ), do so.

Most of the online Booking agencies for budget flight tickets don't advertise flights to Sanya. I don't know why but you can get around that by entering the destination as (SYX) instead of Sanya. (SYX) is the airport code of the airport in Sanya city, Hainan.

Again, the best place to find budget deals on flights is at

  • Getting to Hainan Island by Train

Getting over to Hainan Island by train is pretty easy.

The train is actually loaded onto an ocean-going railway ferry that crosses the the Qiongzhou Straits to Hainan Island. Once on the Island, the train drives off the ferry and onto the tracks that take you to the Central Haikou train station.

Most people begin their tour of Hainan island in Haikou city and then take a bus to Sanya later in their trip. If you arrive in Hakou on the morning train then it's a pretty comfortable train ride if you choose to go the same day.

Getting to Hainan Island on a Train from Beijing

Hainan Island Ferry

You can get the train at the Beijing West train station. Train #T201 leaves Beijing at 6.10pm and arrives in the early morning hours on Hainan Island.

The earlier you book your ticket the more likely you'll get a sleeper. The tickets for the sleepers sell fast.

Having a sleeper on this ride is the difference between heaven and hell. The alternative to a comfortable pull out bed is a hard wooden seat that will turn you bum into 1 big bruise within hours.

But the hard wooden seat is cheap at ¥335CNY ($49.02 USD). A sleeper bed will cost you ¥930CNY ($136.086 USD) but please don't cheap out on this. If you are coming from Shanghai or even closer then maybe have a go at the hard seat.

But not on a ticket from Beijing. Some people have awoken with oddly shaped bums that have never properly healed. It will be the best money you'll ever spend.

If you decide to get the sleeper, get the ticket early from a travel agent or at the Beijing West train station.

Getting to Hainan Island by Train from Shanghai

Grab the train at the Shanghai South train Station. You'll want to get on train #K511, departing Shanghai at 9:50am and arriving at 6:27pm. It will cost you ¥300CNY ($43.91USD) for the hard seat and ¥835CNY ($122.28USD) for a bunk to sleep in.

Train from Guangzhou to Hainan Island...

Hainan Island Train Station

There is a train link between Hainan Island and Guangzhou city in Guangdong province.

Train #K407 departs Guangzhou at 9:25pm and arrives in Sanya at 9:06am. Hard seat is ¥145CNY ($19USD) and sleeper is ¥415CNY ($60.78USD).

  • Getting to Hainan Island on the Bus

You can get on a bus from many of the major cities in Mainland China. Buses connect Haikou to Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Guilin, and Nanning.

Most the buses leave in the evening and arrive early the next morning (Hong Kong) or late the next day (Guilin).

If you can sleep on one of those overnight sleeper buses then this is the cheapest way to make the trip. I know it's about 18 hours on the bus from Guilin, China and 16 hours from Guangzhou to Xingang port in Haikou.

But if you want a mix of cheap and reasonable comfort then the bus is the way to go.


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