Pagodas, the Great Wall, modern skyscrapers, smog-filled metropolises: That's China. But on Hainan, as far south as you can stand on People's Republic soil, your mind's imagery of China requires a certain recalibration. This is China operating at a slower pace, where fresh juice from just-hacked-open young coconuts is sold street-side for less than a cup of tea. The food is colored by ingredients that are tropical in nature—pineapples, mangoes, rambutans, that calamansi. You don't normally associate China with coffee plantations, but they grow beans here and drink their brew alongside chewy coconut rice cakes. While air pollution on the mainland is so hazardous that face masks are considered fashion accessories, Hainan's capital city, Haikou, enjoys the cleanest air readings in China. The seaside resort of Sanya sits on the south end of the island, where in recent years the Chinese government invested billions of dollars hoping to turn it into “the Hawaii of Asia.” But outside Sanya, in towns like Wenchang, little tourism infrastructure exists. It's a place where roadside dog restaurants operate openly, the type of business the government might sweep under the rug if more Western guidebooks steered tourists here.