Sun seekers

Source:Global Times Published: 2015-11-26 18:33:01

Passengers from Northeast China arrive at Haikou railway station in Hainan Province. Photo: CFP

China's southernmost province of Hainan is not only a resort for summer holidaymakers, it provides an escape for thousands every year from the arctic temperatures of the country's distant northern provinces.

Every year before winter arrives, many people in Northeast China take trains or fly to the tropical island to escape the snow and terrible air pollution their home region sees in winter. They stay for months and only travel back north when spring springs.

During the travel peak in early November, these migrants pack the trains from Harbin, capital of Heilongjiang Province, heading to Hainan's capital Haikou, before spreading to cities across the island. Many of them are elderly.

It takes three days and two nights to finish the journey on a normal-speed train, which waddles through the country and ferries the travelers across the Leizhou Strait before arriving in their destination.

Upon arrival they are welcomed by the warm, moist air and old friends not seen for half a year.

Many of these migrants have bought apartments specifically for winter use, while others simply rent a place. In order to make up for the higher living costs in Hainan, many take short-term jobs during their stay.

As a seasonal phenomenon that occurs regularly, the migration has contributed to the economy of Hainan while also causing the locals to complain of rising housing and living costs and crowded hospitals.

Global Times

Traveling from Northeast China, the Z114 train is separated and loaded onto a ferry in a port in Guangdong Province before crossing the Leizhou Strait to reach Hainan. Photo: IC

A woman surnamed Li from Heilongjiang Province sets up a makeshift barber shop in Sanya, Hainan to cover living costs. Photo: CFP

People play mahjong in a park to idle away the day in Sanya. Photo: CFP

Returning to their winter home in Hainan after half a year, the Liangs from Jilin Province found that their bicycles rusted in the humid climate. Photo: CFP

A retiree surnamed Liang holds his grandson up to the window of the train from Jilin Province to Hainan. Photo: CFP

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