After spending a bit of time in mainland china, I'd have to say that its not one of my most favorite places to visit. Sure, it's a memorable place, but I can think of many nicer places I'd rather be. The traffic, crazy driving techniques, pollution, large language barrier and lack of coffee has shuffled it down the list a bit for me. So when I discovered that I was going to the Tour of Hainan, I initially wasn't over the moon.
After being back at home for a couple of weeks and getting a bit of a chance to 'unwind', I was keen to stay where I was but I packed my bike back up and headed to the airport. I had no idea where Hainan is and just assumed it was somewhere on mainland China. As it turns out, it is an island off the southern coast of china and is VERY different to the china I had previously experienced.
After landing, I thought I had touched down somewhere in Malaysia or Thailand with a hot and humid day surrounded by palm trees near the beach. It looked nothing like china. The area has beautiful beaches and is a very popular tourist destination so the coast is littered with huge resorts with swimming pools and palms everywhere.
There is a lot less traffic and there seems to be less crazy here. Due to the tourism, a lot more people speak English so it is also easier to communicate and get things done.
Now that I am here, I am very much looking forward to the Tour of Hainan, however, one thing does bother me... If you look out into the distance, there is a lot of mountains in the background and with the tour going all around the island, I suspect some of the 9 stages are not going to be pleasant.