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Whole in one

Updated: 2013-03-08 11:54
( China Daily)

 Whole in one

Resorts at Qixian Mountain are built within the rainforest and surrounded by litchi and bombax trees, some thousands of years old. Provided to China Daily

Qixian Mountain, on Hainan Island in the South China Sea, offers a wide range of activities, including golf, spas and hiking, all set among tropical rainforest

Mountain climbing, a round of golf and soaking in a hot spring - have you ever thought of doing all three in the same day? It's a rare combination, but completely possible at Qixian Mountain in southern China. The mountain, which is on the island of Hainan in the South China Sea, is a national park and home to three golf courses and a number of spa resorts.

Weather conditions are cool year round and ideal for getting out the clubs and hitting a few rounds. The annual average temperature is about 23 C.

It's also a good place to take in some fresh air with a hike through the rainforest, and to experience the interesting customs of the Li and Miao ethnic groups.

The mountain's name comes from its appearance. Qi in Chinese means seven while xian means fairy. When the morning mist covers Qixian Mountain, it is said to look like seven fairies wearing chiffons standing under the sky.

It is also sometimes called Qizhi Mountain because it is composed of seven green peaks that resemble seven fingers. Zhi is Mandarin for finger.

Qixian's appearance is the stuff of Li legend. They say their people once lived at the foot of the mountain and were unable to have children. A woman from the village one day prayed to Buddha for a child and that night dreamed that two lights landed in her house. A few months later she was pregnant and had twin boys. The twins grew up strong and were famous figures throughout the village.

The villagers were content, but worried that their homes were in a place where they could be blown away by strong winds. So the two brothers built a ridge to protect the village and in order to see whose part of the ridge was more solid held an archery competition. The elder brother's arrow cut the ridge into seven pieces, creating Qixian Mountain.

Today it is among the best-known mountains in Hainan, alongside Wuzhi Mountain, the tallest on the island.

Here are some of the mountain's main attractions:

1. Qixian Mountain National Forest Park

The park is made up of around 22 square kilometers of tropical rainforest containing numerous hot springs. Located around 9 kilometers northeast of Baoting County, its peaks are also home to rich ethnic customs.

There are around 40 hot springs in the park that can reach temperatures as high as 94 C. The most attractive is a large spring in the north of the park that covers 2,000 square meters and is about waist deep. The water is a moderate temperature and fit for bathing.

2. Litchi Garden Rainforest Hot Spring Resort

Located in the northern suburb of Baoting county and 76 kilometers from Sanya, Litchi Garden Rainforest Hot Spring Resort is a great place to connect with nature. Unlike other spring resorts in the park, this one is built within the rainforest and surrounded by litchi and bombax trees, some thousands of years old.

Villas in the resort are built in the southern Guangdong style and each has its own hot spring within its courtyard, from which guests can watch Qixian Mountain while they bathe.

In the evening the hotel also makes a good site for a cooling stroll through the rainforest. Don't worry, there are no large animals or poisonous snakes to fear, although you are likely to be serenaded by loud bullfrogs.

3. Qixian Mountain Golf Course and Spa

Qixian Mountain Golf Course and Spa - opened in 2008 and designed by American golf architect Mark Miller - stands next to Qixian Mountain National Forest Park. The landscape is unusual for a golf course resort, with a green wooded valley, mountainous areas and rainforest within its grounds.

It includes a 245-acre international standard golf course with 18 holes and a 7,151-yard fairway. The highest drop is more than 50 meters, creating an exciting challenge for golfers.

Most of Hainan is too hot for golf from May to August, but this part of the island retains a cooler temperature of between 21 C and 25 C all year round.

Whole in one

(China Daily 03/08/2013 page22)

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