Haikou is the capital of Hainan Province and has an estimated population of 830,192 (2006), therefore by far the largest city on the island.
There are two main shopping areas in Haikou City.
The old shopping area around Jiefang Road and the newer area on Easy Haixiu Road. The two areas are seperated by Haikou Park.
Haikou Park has two lakes (East Lake and West Lake). There is a musical fountain in the East Lake that plays at around 8.15PM.
The 22nd day of each month is a car free day around some of the old shopping district.
Haikou is a fairly large tropical coastal city. Haikou has a different vibe to many cities on the Chinese mainland. The tropical climate is probably a major influence on the laid-back atmosphere. Whereas on the mainland many cars drive too fast, in Haikou many drive too slowly. The local Hainanese man has a reputation for being somewhat lazy and can be seen sleeping in the street during the afternoon and then playing cards with friends until the small hours of the night. Silk pajamas can be seen worn during the day and add to the atmosphere. You will not be hassled to buy anything which makes a refreshing change to more touristy cities.
Many streets in Haikou are quite different during the day compared to the evening. Small outdoor restaurants and stalls fill the streets in the evening and many areas are at their busiest from 9PM to 1AM. Local favourites are BBQ stalls which serve cheap local beer till late.
You will soon notice the abundance of coconut trees within Haikou. Most streets are lined with them. Its greener than most Chinese cities and has decent air quality.