After coming back from a week-long kitesurfing trip to Hua Hin in late March, I had been craving for more kitesurf getaways since the weather in Hong Kong had been miserably humid and rainy. Until some experienced kitesurfers told me that it is Boao’s windy season now so that I checked it up on windguru:
Boao, or Bo’ao, is best known for its nameshake forum called Boao Forum for Asia which has been held annually since 2002. Wikipedia introduces the town of Boao:
Bo’ao (simplified Chinese: 博鳌; traditional Chinese: 博鰲; pinyin: Bó’áo) is a town located next to the eastern coastal city of Qionghai in Hainan Province, People’s Republic of China, near the mouth of the Wanquan River where it discharges into the South China Sea. The town is 17 km (11 mi) away from Qionghai, 105 km (65 mi) away from Haikou and 180 km (110 mi) away from Sanya. Bo’ao is famous for the Boao Forum for Asia, an international organisation whose venue is permanently located on Bo’ao’s largest island, Dongyu Island (Chinese: 东屿岛).
Along with 3 other kitesurfing friends who are as spontaneous as I am, we booked both flight tickets and restaurants just 1 day prior to our departure.
At the time when we arrived at our beachside resort last Monday afternoon, we knew that the flight tickets had been worthwhile – the wind is just so great and consistent.
The beach stretches some 5.3 kilometers. Its sand is so soft and fine that could almost rival the white sand on Hua Hin Beach.
Wind was almost perfect during my short stay at Boao – I was able to use my 7m kite for 4 days out of 5.
Wind Condition: Windy season starts from early April and ends in late May. Good for southerly wind. The wind is side-on shore. Wave is less than 1m so it’s still pretty beginner-friendly.
Water Condition: In April the water was still quite chill, but a 2-1mm half-body wetsuit will do. In May it will get warmer.
Transportation: The two nearby airports are in cities called Haikou and Sanya, located on the northern and southern tip of Hainan Province respectively. Haikou Meilan Airport is preferred because the airport itself is connected to the train station (some 300m walking distance) where you can hop on a train to get to Qionghai station for some 45 minutes at about 50RMB, and switch to a taxi afterwards to get to Boao.
Alternatively, after arriving at Haikou Meilan Airport, you can arrange a hotel pickup if you are travelling with group and do not want to bother buying train ticket and carrying bulky gear around. The airport pick-up costs around RMB250.
Accommodation: The resort we stayed at this time is called Boao Asia Bay Resort. It’s a 5-star hotel (more like a hotel apartment) which is 200m away from the beach. The resort also runs a watersports center by the beach where you can store your gears in it.
This year, two Chinese kiteboarding clubs, China Kiteboard Center and Wanmei Kitesurfing School, co-organized the Asia Bay watersports center from Apr to Jun. If you look to stay at this resort you might want to book the rooms through them for a discount. Additionally, they can arrange airport pickups for you. Contact Ms. Fanfan on Wechat at foreverfanfan21 for more details.
There are other more economic accommodation alternatives in Bo’ao downtown, some 5-minute ride away from the beach.
Food: I always think that a kitesurfing trip is incomplete without some yummy local treats.
Hop on a motor-tricycle, or Tuk Tuk, to head south to the downtown of Boao for just 10RMB to get some:
- Dai Pai Dong, or outdoor food stall, at Pingge Snack Booth (平哥大排档，ping2 ge1 da4 pai2 dang4). Make sure to order their 猪肚包鸡, or Pork Belly with Chicken in Hot Pot Style, it’s a famous local dish.
Find it on Google Map or Dianping.com.
- Tangshui, or sweet soup at 巧娘冷饮店（qiao3 niang2 leng3 yin3 dian4).
Sweet soup are very popular in Hainan province. People usually gather at one of those sweet soup kiosks after dinner.
Try their signature 清补凉 (qing1 bu3 liang, a coconut-y milky soup with all sorts of ingredients ranging from green beans, red beans, corns, longans, lotus seeds, you name it). Also try 芒果肠粉, or mango rapped in rice rolls. Very refreshing after a sweaty kitesurfing session.
Don’t be surprise to run into other kiteboarders in the town. Assembly for tangshui on this street seems to have become a norm for local kiteboarders.
Address: 109 Haibin Street, Boao Town, Qionghai, Hainan
Find it on Google Map or Dianping.com.
For fresh yet cheap seafood, grab a cab for a 10 minute ride north to reach Tanmen Town. The restaurant I tried this time is called 雄记海鲜, or Xiong’s Seafood.
When I said cheap, I was not kidding. For the above assorted seafood platter that got the four of us fed, it costs only 150RMB for total, that is some 45HKD (less than 6USD!) per person.
Photo cred: Some of the photos for Boao Beach (including the cover picture) are adopted from this post by China Kiteboard Center.