Categories: Sanya

Betelnut Park – Li Miao Minority Village : Sanya Hainan

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Sanya is trying to position itself to be the Hawaii of China. Though nothing like Hawaii, it definitely has some of the nicest beaches in China, but with the masses coming in and the beaches overcrowded with people, Sanya needs more to spread out the tourists and make the most of the incoming cash. Which is why you’ll find all sorts of strange parks and attractions in Sanya. One of those tourist traps is the Betelnut Park.

Sure, people in Hainan chew on betelnut. I’ve become familiar with this visually-challenging habit in Taiwan, but atleast over there it’s being sold by hot half-naked girls sitting in neon-lighted boxes, but in general it’s as bad as smoking, if not worse, but it’s unregulated and can be found all over Hainan and Taiwan.

Anyhow, there’s a park for that, and although the theme is betelnut it’s more about the local minorities and what they do with the betelnut. So you can expect to see some traditional arts and crafts, dancing, drumming, and lots of minorities dressed up in traditional clothes acting up for the tourists. There’s both good and bad in that. You can’t help but feel a bit sad for minorities with glorious cultures reduced to being zoo attractions, but on the other hand, it does keep them employed in an otherwise harsh capitalist environment and it does keep a commercialized version of those traditions alive.

Betelnut Park Sanya Hainan (2)

Betelnut Park Sanya Hainan (17)

Betelnut Park Sanya Hainan (26)

Sanya web writes :

Li and Miao Minority Village is located 28 km from Sanya, 49 km from Baoting Country. The lush garden is planted with betel nut tree, a native plant to Hainan Island. Betel nut, also known as Pinang or Areca nut, is the seed of the Betel Palm. The tall palm with shallow roots that looks similar to the coconut tree. It has significant bearing to Li and Miao Minority people. They describe it as a beauty and slim girl. To chew betel nut fruits has become the habit of some natives as it can refresh their mind. Under these beautiful palm trees, you can not miss the handsome boy and charming girl who are ready for the Bamboo Dance. Here you will have a chance to see the real minority costume and entry their old style hamlets. The Hamlets are divided into different type according to the marriage status, for unmarried young girl, there always will be one separated clay-made hamlet waiting for them. It is very interesting the girls like those boy with a good tree-climbing abilities.

For fun or for experience, here you can try their traditional wedding ceremony at extra charge. They said Li Minorities are more friendly and docile than Miao Minorities. Believe it or not, you will find out when you entry some part of this garden, Miao people are somewhere hidden from you, you will be told by the guide that once you meet Miao People, you have to shout “HoHa, Hoha,Hoha” at least three times, the more often, the better, or you will be “shot” by Miao. As a special treat, Miao people will present you with an amazing and incredible “Fire and Knife” performance. It will take about 3 hours to tour through the whole garden. It is very much worth a visit once you are in Sanya.

Yeah, it’s as cheesy as it sounds.

What’s to see?

We walk in…

Betelnut Park Sanya Hainan (10)

Betelnut Park Sanya Hainan (11)

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Walk through some traditional houses…

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Surrounded by tropical nature, with lots of trees and a couple of bridges…

Betelnut Park Sanya Hainan (67)

Betelnut Park Sanya Hainan (69)

Betelnut Park Sanya Hainan (70)

But, probably the main point of interest are the cultural shows and the local people doing their thing… 

Betelnut Park Sanya Hainan (19)

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Betelnut Park Sanya Hainan (60)

It’s a decent way to spend half a day away from the Sanya beaches. If you don’t mind over-commercialization of minorities, then you’ll probably have a blast with this one.

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