Li Boat Houses in Western Hainan
For those adventurous enough, there is some places of great cultural interest in Western Hainan. One of which are the traditional boat-shaped houses the Li used to live in.
Modern comforts like air conditioning and indoor plumbing have made these old buildings, built fr om mud and grass, obsolete, but they are important relics of Hainan's rich cultural heritage.
These old huts were built and lived in by the Li, Hainan's original inhabitants, and today, the most populated of the island's ethnic minorities.
While not as many of these houses remain as there once were, there is still several places on the island where you can see them.
The easiest and most accessible place is Betel Nut Valley (槟榔谷) in Baoting County just north of Sanya. Betel Nut Valley is a theme park that celebrates the culture of both the Li and the Miao, Hainan's two major ethnic minority groups. It's a fun, educational, and family-friendly place to enjoy some traditional Li and Miao arts and crafts.
Some traditional Li snacks at Betel Nut Valley
But if you want to see some really authentic Hainanese culture and history, you can try to visit some smaller villages in Western Hainan, wh ere you'll likely find you and your company as the only tourists in the area.
First, Baicha Village (白查村) in Dongfang County offers the best preserved houses, and is relatively easy to access if you have your own vehicle. In Baicha, you'll see dozens of houses, the majority of which have been preserved quite well. You can even enter most of them and imagine what life would have been like all those years ago.
Second, Hongshui Village (洪水村) in Ledong County also has some old Li houses, but the road there is not easy and the houses are not persevered as well as they are in Baicha. At the time of writing, there is no public transportation to Hongshui and the mountain roads leading there are difficult, narrow, curving, and sometimes unpaved. However, there is also a massive, impressive cave just outside the village that you'll want to check out if you're bold enough to make it to this remote area.
The Emperor's Cave (皇帝洞)
Third, there is also some boat-shaped houses in Wuzhishan. Stay tuned to Hainan Life, as we have more info about other parts of the island coming very soon!
Ricky Barrett Jamer is a travel writer from Canada. You can keep up with his worldly travels by staying tuned to Hainan Life and following his page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FromChinatotheWorldBlog/
And as always, enjoy exploring Hainan!
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