Wuzhishan is a small but picturesque town (though it’s called a city) in the central highlands of Hainan Island. The town is surrounded on all sides by lush rainforest and mountains.
The town has a population of around 115,000 which gives it a small provincial feel. Over half the population is made up the local Li ethnic group. The Nancheng River runs through the centre with many attractive bridges crossing over.
Due to the size of Wuzhishan, there isn’t much to do in the town itself save for a museum and a pleasant park, however it takes mere minutes to enter the tropical rainforest from the centre of town.
The best way to explore is to hire an e-bike and set off into the rain-forested hills where you will find plenty of paths into the jungle.
Where is Wuzhishan
Wuzhishan City, as it’s officially known is located 60 kilometres north of Sanya close to Baoting Li and Miao Autonomous County. Maps usually detail two Wuzhishans; one is the city and the other is the peak 25km to the northeast. Be sure to check the right destination if driving or taking a taxi!
Things to do in Wuzhishan
- Central Wuzhishan
- Ethnographic Museum
- Nancheng River
- Wuzhishan Park
- Changhao (Changhaoxiang)
- Taipingshan Pubu
- Wuzhishan Tropical Rainforest scenery (park)
Wuzhishan Town Centre
The centre of Wuzhishan is dominated by the Nancheng River which arcs around the town in a U shape and is fed by several tributaries running down from the nearby mountains.
Either side of the river is lined with hotels, shops and restaurants (all of which are Chinese; you won’t find any international brands here). There is a market, town square and large park tat are all worth checking out.
The Hainan Provincial Museum of Nationalities features a host of exhibits relating to the island’s Li, Miao and Hui people. The exhibits include traditional musical instruments, tools, weapons, jewellery, paintings, calligraphy and more.
There are three main exhibition halls plus a room dedicated to calligraphy and a small interactive room where you can play with the native dress and even play native instruments via a large screen.
Entry is free and no passport is required but you will need to sign up via WeChat for entry. You may even be lucky and get given a free tour in English by one of the staff (all displays have English translations).
Tis really is a fantastic museum and the best on Hainan island. If you want to learn about the native tribes of Hainan, there really is no better place. Allow one hour to see everything, less if you don’t have a guide.
The museum is located on Taifei Road close to the bus station.
Wuzhishan City Park
There is a large and pleasant park in the southwest of the town just off Jiefang Road. The park is an island between the Nansheng River and one of its tributaries.
The park has two large footbridges spanning each river, pavilions and fantastic views of the city.
Taipingshan Pubu Waterfall
Taipingshan Pubu, also known as the “Southern Summer Palace” is a waterfall located a couple of kilometres from the town centre.
Edit: May 2021 Access to the waterfall has been blocked due to construction.
If you follow Gangong Road northeast out of the town it traces a picturesque river gorge with large pools suitable for swimming. The scenery here is spectacular.
Changhao (Changhaoxiang) Mountain Rainforest Trail
This is not designated on any tourist maps; however, this round trip will take you through some of the most enchanting rainforest imaginable. You will need your own transport (you can hire an e-bike from any of the dealers or repair shops in town) to get to the start of the trail.
The trail is a neglected paved road that winds up into the mountains and deep into the jungle. You will likely not see another soul here and instead find the company of birds and insects which erupt into a noisy choir.
The trail is a full loop that begins and ends 2 kilometres from the small village of Changhou south of Wuzhishan.
Unfortunately, access to Wuzhishan Mountain is prohibited to foreigners unless they obtain a special permit in Haikou.
Shuiman River Tropical Rainforest Scenic Area
Safety around Wuzhishan
Wuzhishan is completely surrounded by dense rainforest. There are many paths from the town and nearby villages, but it’s easy to get lost so it’s best to take a few precautions before heading off into the wilderness.
Most online maps of the area are pretty poor, so don’t rely on these. Baidu Maps seems to have the most detailed plan.
Take plenty of water with you as once you are in the jungle there aren’t any shops. The area isn’t like other national parks in China where you can find shops and stalls at the top of mountains. Once you are in the jungle, there is nothing! Consider investing in a lifestraw which enables you do drink directly from rivers without the risk of sickness.
As it’s the rainforest, downpours are common, especially in summer. Waterproofs are recommended! Take precautions in thunderstorms by avoiding high ground, open ridgelines and tall trees.
Ensure you use sunblock and mosquito repellent. It’s also a good idea to wear long trousers and boots or sturdy shoes in the jungle to mitigate against mosquitoes and snakes.
How to get to Wuzhishan
Bus: There are daily buses between Sanya and Wuzhishan. The journey time is around two hours and costs ¥30. First bus is at 09:00 and last one leaves Wuzhishan bus station at 18:30.
Taxi: A taxi will take around 90 minutes and cost between ¥300 and ¥400.
Bus: There are daily buses between Haikou and Wuzhishan. The journey time is around five hours and costs ¥50.
Where to stay in Wuzhishan
Yipin Yunjing holiday hotel
Doubles from ¥265 per night. Nice pool. Not so central but still within walking distance from the town.
Qixian Yaochi Hot Springs Resort
This pleasant resort overlooks the impressive Qixian Ridge and is only a couple of kilometres from the start of the trail. The hotel includes a hot spring with lots of pools free for hotel guests. Rooms from ¥265
More Attractions around Wuzhishan
About this author: Steve Rohan has lived in China for six years. He has lived in the frozen city of Harbin, ancient capital of Luoyang and tropical paradise that is Sanya.
After teaching English for a number of years, he now blogs full time for this site and adventure travel blog thetripgoeson.com.