No Monkey Business on Monkey Island
If you visit Hainan island, Sanya in particular, you’ll see plenty of adverts for the outlying ‘Nanwan Monkey Islet’ (or ‘Monkey Island’). This is supposed to be an idyllic isle (it’s actually a peninsula that can’t be accessed by the mainland) populated by 1000’s of wild monkeys but in reality it’s a tourist trap and while, yes, we did see a few monkeys roaming free, there are also ‘comedy monkey acrobatic displays’, monkeys chained to stakes in the ground where they stumble around looking bored and hungry and a Buddhist temple where a monk thrust a bunch of incense sticks at me – then demanded a ‘donation’.
The worst part, for me, was finding a cage in the middle of the jungle which was inhabited by 2 very angry monkeys – it didn’t seem fair when the rest of their cousins were allowed to hang out in a state of non-captivity just inches from them!
Apparently the best part according to a friend of mine, is the cable car which takes you from the mainland to the top of the mountain – sadly when I visited last weekend this was broken so we had to take a 10 second boat ride instead!
It’s true the scenery is lush on the islet and you do encounter a few primates, however save yourself the not-very-cheap entrance fee of 140 RMB and give this quite depressing place a miss. [more]