Found on the island province of Hainan, the Rongtang Village is a historic lava rock village built nearly 900 years ago. Now almost completely abandoned, it offers light hiking and exploration as well as insight into the culture of the province's ancestors. Located near some of the largest lava caves on the island, Rongtang Village is a must see for an active daytrip.
The village is built from volcanic rock, and the houses look much like European stone construction from the 17th Century, but the architecture and feel is pleasantly local. Rongtang is largely abandoned, but a few elders still live in the historic village.
Visitors are sure to get a feel for the culture of the time as they explore the different houses and public spaces. When the village was first settled, there was a shortage of water. Vistitors will note the large water vats around each house. The rich in Rongtang had many water vats, while the poor had only one or two.
Getting Around the Village
Exploring Rongtang is an easy walk for most. There are well-maintained paths and the village is a short walk or light hike from public transportation. Hainan culture dictates that visitors will pay a local resident about 5 RMB to guide them through the village. A guide is well worth the nominal cost, as though Rongtang is navigable, a local is sure to know more about the village than is posted or available in print on site.
Rongtang is appropriate for all ages, and makes a wonderful, moderately active day trip from a city or resort. Located in the north central section of Hainan, the village is about .4 km (.25 mi) north of the government office in Shi Shuan. It is best visited in fair weather during the day, although it does not technically have hours.
From Haikou City, take bus 1, 2, or 7 to No. 14 Middle School. From here, walk to the bus stop on Xiuying Avenue and take the mini-bus to She Shuan Zen. Take the bus to the last stop and continue walking in the direction of the bus. Follow the road as it forks to the right and it will come to Rongtang's entrance.
After visiting Rongtang, also be sure to check out the volcanic cave system located across from the Village's entrance. These historic caves were used as a hiding place by the Japanese during the war and are easy to explore as well.
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I updated this article on December 14, 2012
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