Religions of Hainan Dao

Out of the total population, 90,000 are Buddhist Hainanese. 3000 or more are Muslims. Most, if not all, of the Muslims are Utsuls living near Sanya. Because Hainan was a point in the travel route of missionaries, there are many Christians. There is less oppression of Christians in Hainan than in other parts of the country.

Nanshan Park is the centre of Buddhism on Hainan Island. Encompassing more than 50 square kilometres of rainforest, the site includes countless grand temples, statues and spiritual gardens the likes of Saviour Garden and Longevity Valley, with intricately trimmed hedges and abundant in Lotus flowers, a venerated symbol in Buddhism meaning virtue or purity.

At the heart of the valley is the grand Nanshan Temple, its gates flanked by stone figures of Buddha in front of the Tang Dynasty-style entrance. The interior displays images of the Four Heavenly Kings amid statues of other deities enshrined in renderings of stone, gold and jade.

Perhaps the most popular site within the Nanshan Buddhist Cultural Zone is the awe-inspiring stone rendering of the bodhisattva Guan Ying, emerging out of the South China Sea to stand at 108 metres, taller than the statue of liberty.

The Nanshan Buddhist Cultural Zone is visited by thousands of tourists and pilgrims each year who come pay homage to the site that plays a significant role in the religion in China and to sample some of the finest Buddhist vegan cuisine on the island