Praise the Lord!
My wife and myself first visited Hainan Island (海南岛) in 2009 after the death of my mother. Since then we had traveled back to our ancestor home in Wenchang (文昌) at least once every year.
There is a Chinese phrase in Hainan Island that goes like this… “不到五指山, 不算来海南。” It literally translated as “If you have not been to Wuzhishan, you have not come to Hainan Island.”
We first had the thought to climb up this Wuzhi Mountain was three years ago. We were both in our mid 50s then. Can we really hiked up this mountain at this age? Nonetheless we agreed to give it a try. If we failed we can always return to try again. The mountain will always be in Hainan Island.
So three years later, we again planned our holiday trip back to this beautiful island at the end of November 2016. To us, the period from the end of November to the middle to December is the best time to visit Hainan Island. The temperature during this period ranges from 18 – 24 degree C in the day, and 16 – 22 degree C in the night. We do not have to carry winter clothing for our trip, just a sweater, 2-3 long-sleeve tee shirts and a pair of jeans.
We flew into Haikou (the capital city of this island) on 27 November. Our main goal for this trip was to hike Wuzhishan.
On 29 November, three of us set out to Wuzhishan via the Hainan High-Speed Railway (海南高速铁路). We took the train from Haikou East Station (海口东站) and headed to Lingshui Station (陵水站).
Foreigner buying train ticket:
- A foreigner needs to produce his/her passport to buy a train ticket for himself/herself at the ticketing booth in a train station.
- A train ticket can be bought in advance for today and tomorrow.
The journey to Lingshui Station was about 1 hour 15 minutes.
Alternative way to Lingshui Station:
- For those who do not wish to stay in Haikou, may want to go to Lingshui Station directly upon landing at Meilan International Airport (美兰国际机场).
- The train ride from Meilan Station (美兰站) to Lingshui Station will take about 1 hour.
On arrival at Lingshui Station, we decided to take a taxi to Wuzhishan city. The taxi fare ranged from 300-450 RMB. We managed to find a private taxi (just like Uber) to bring us to the hotel for 300 RMB.
Private taxi contacts:
- Mr. Tam (谭师傅)
Mobile: +86 138-76460216 / +86 132-15726111
Alternative way to go to Wuzhishan City:
- Once you step out of Lingshui Train Station, walk to the right for about 80 m, and you can see the Lingshui Bus Station.
- There are scheduled public buses that you can take to go to Wuzhishan City.
Hotel details in Wuzhishan City:
- Huajue Business Hotel (华爵商务酒店)
No. 18 Yuefeng Road, Wuzhishan City, Hainan 572200, P.R. China
(中国海南省五指山u市越丰路18号, 邮编: 572200)
Tel: +86 898-86666668
- Room rate for a double bed room or a two single beds room: 180 RMB per day
As we were new to the place, we decided to arrive at Wuzhishan one day ahead of our hike. We planned to commence the hike early the next morning. After a quick lunch at an eatery next to the hotel, we set off to recce the route to the starting point of our hike up Wuzhi Mountain.
First, we had to head to the Wuzhishan Bus Station (五指山汽车站). It was about 1.6 km walk from our hotel. From there, we learnt that we had to take a public bus to Shuiman Xiang (水满乡). This bus commenced from a bus stop opposite the Wuzhishan Bus Station. Alternatively, we could take a cab there. We decided to ride the bus.
Bus schedules between Wuzhishan City and Shuiman Xiang:
- Earliest bus to leave the bus stop opposite the Wuzhishan Bus Station: 6:30 am
- Latest bus to leave the bus stop in Shuiman Xiang: 6:30 pm
- Journey distance: 28 km
- Journey duration: 1 hour
- Bus fare: 10 RMB one-way per person, pay in the bus.
We arrived at Shuiman Village. From here, we had to take a ‘Tutuk’ motor ride to the entrance of Wuzhi Mountain.
‘Tutuk’ motor ride details:
- Each ‘Tutuk’ vehicle can take 4 persons in a trip.
- They charged by per trip. Each trip was 15 RMB.
- Ticketing starts at 7:30 am.
- Ticket prices from:
- 1 October – 30 April: 50 RMB
- 1 May – 30 September: 42 RMB
- Ticket prices for students, children and senior adults (60-70 years old): 25 RMB
We completed our recce, and were all set for the hike the next morning.
Background information about Wuzhi Mountain:
Wuzhi Mountain is located at the centre of Hainan Island. It is the highest mountain and regarded as one of the symbols of this island. It is also one of the famous mountains in China. The peaks are waving like saw-tooth and the shape is like five fingers, hence the name Wuzhi (meaning five fingers ‘五指’ in Chinese).
My wife asked me during this trip what was the first thing I could associated with this name ‘Wuzhishan, 五指山’. My immediate response was 孙悟空 (Sun Wu Kong), the Monkey King character with supernatural powers in the famous Chinese novel. But the name has nothing to do with this monkey king. There are many mythological tales about this mountain, simply google to find out.
Yizhi Mountain (the first finger) is like a huge pyramid with elevation of 1,839 m high and the top of the peak is piercing into the sky obliquely.
Erzhi Mountain (the second finger) is the highest peak of the Wuzhi Mountain with elevation of 1,876 m high. There is a ‘Sky Bridge’ built with a natural huge stone between the Yizhi Mountain and Erzhi Mountain. Since it is surrounded with cloud and mist all year round, it is called the Fairy Bridge with a lot of mythological stories.
The peak of Sanzhi Mountain (the third finger) was originally the highest peak. It had been lowered by thunderstorms.
The first three peaks, the fourth and fifth peaks are standing separately.
Wuzhi Mountain is an adventurous area. Most hikers just climb to the first and second peak of the mountain. The third, fourth and fifth peaks are the “dead zones”. These peaks are too steep and dangerous for visitors to hike up.
Standing on the mountain, hikers can have a bird’s view of the whole South China Sea.
We woke up at 5:00 am the next day, took a good breakfast, and were at the Wuzhishan Bus Station by 6:30 am to catch the first bus to Shuiman Village.
We bought our tickets and were all ready at the starting point of Wuzhi Mountain at 8:00 am.
What we brought with us for the hike:
- Hiking stick
- Back pack
- Wind breaker or rain coat
- Mobile phone
- Extra power bank with phone cable
- 1.5 – 2 liters of water
- 3 energy bars
- Small towel
- A pack of wet tissues
What we worn for the hike:
- Long ‘dry fit’ tee shirt (avoid cotton-based shirt especially in cool and windy weather)
- Hiking pants
- Hiking shoes
Thank you Lord! The weather was perfect, 20 – 22 degree C at the foot of the mountain. No rain, rather misty and the surrounding was wet from the mist.
From Leaflet, Side 2, the hike up Wuzhi Mountain consists of 4 stretches:
- Stretch 1 refers to the route from the starting point to a height of 638 m. This is denoted by the red line in the leaflet.
- The red line continues with the green line on the right. This green route is Stretch 2. It will lead to a height of 1,250 m.
- Stretch 3 is not marked in the leaflet. It will continue from the end of Stretch 2 and will bring the hiker to the peak of Yizhi Mountain at 1,839 m.
- Stretch 4 will bring the hiker to the peak of Erzhi Mountain at 1,867 m.
We planned to complete our hike within the same day, finishing the hike by 5:30 pm in time to catch the last public bus back to Wuzhishan City at 6:30 pm. We therefore set out the following targets:
- Start the hike by 8:00 am.
- Complete Stretch 1 in 30 minutes.
- Complete Stretch 2 in 1 hour.
- Complete Stretch 3 and reaching the peak of Yizhi Mountain in 2 hours.
- Complete Stretch 4 and reaching the peak of Erzhi Mountain in 1 hour.
- Take our lunch at the peak for not more than 30 minutes.
- Descend to the starting point in 4.5 hours.
Off we went along Stretch 1.
Due to the mist, the steps along the route in Stretch 1 were rather wet and slippery. While it was rather cooling at about 20 degree C, we started to feel increasingly warm with the wind breaker on after about 10 minutes of walking. Our wind breakers went back into our back pack. It was fresh air everywhere.
Shortly into Stretch 1, we saw a waterfall to our left. In fact, we were told that there was a scenery trail denoted by the Orange route shown in Leaflet, Side 2. Well, maybe the next time, we will come back to explore the beauty along this route.
Target achieved for Stretch 1. We did it in 30 minutes. It was 8:30 am.
This was the beginning point for Stretch 2. This route consisted of a long stretch of red wooden stairs. Each climb of these stairs consisted of about 5 – 10 steps. The completion of these stairs would bring us up Yizhi Mountain from 638 m to 1,250 m. Will we be able to do it in 1 hour?
It was misty and wet. The air was very cooling and fresh. Only can enjoy the beautiful near greenery around us. Make sure you take care of your camera and mobile phone. Although no rain, but the dense mist made the ambience very wet. It was about 18 degree C at this stage. The heat generated from our walk was enough to keep us warm without our wind breakers. In fact we were sweating and drenched by now. Our ‘dry fit’ clothing was perfect for the hike. Cotton-based clothing would have been ‘more wet’ and may even made us felt colder during our regular 5-minute water breaks.
This was the end point of Stretch 2. Why was there a gate at the end of the red stairs? Why was it locked up?
According to what we were aware of, the authority discouraged hikers to go beyond this gate, any attempt to go beyond here would be at the own risk of the hikers.
We jumped over the fence to the left and followed the narrow path that allowed us to squeeze through the blockade.
We were ready to dirty ourselves climbing this Stretch.
The terrains were getting increasing tougher and dangerous.
Someone brought “bak kwa” along, and coconut drinks! After this break, we were doing “monkey climbing” up rooted slopes and metal ladders.
There were about 8 sections of this stretch where we had to climb metal ladders.
This was “monkey climbing” up the metal ladders. When we descended from the mountain, we had to do the reverse to come down.
If not careful, we may end up falling off steep slopes especially when descending from the mountain.
Fresh air abandon at the top.
We had to “monkey climb” up and down these rooted and slippery steps.
We finally hit the peak of Yizhi Mountain at 12:45 pm. It took us 3 hours to complete Stretch 3.
Due to time constraint, we decided to end our Wuzhishan hike at the summit of Yizhi Mountain. We will return to scale the peak of Erzhi Mountain!
We took a 30-minute lunch break before making our way down.
Although very tired with leg muscle starting to cramp up, we gingerly but surely determined to descend to the foot of the mountain, always bearing in mind that “safety comes first”. We reached the foot at about 5:30 pm.
Two bible verses to sum up our hike…
- I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.~ Philippians 4:13
- Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. ~ Philippians 4:4
Praise the Lord!
A week later, we learnt from a relative in Hainan Island that there are a few hotels in Shuiman Village. If so, and had stayed in one of these hotels, then we would have proceeded with Stretch 4 to reach the peak of Erzhi Mountain.
Hotels in Shuiman Village:
- Wuzhizhan Yatai Rainforest Resort (a 5-star hotel)
- Wuzhishan Shuimanyuan Hotel (a budget hotel)
You can still commute from Lingshui Station directly to Shuiman Village.
Indeed, 爬上五指山，才算来海南。Yes, if you have climbed up Wuzhishan, then you have been to Hainan Island.
God bless you. Bye!