Sanya Travel Guide

Surrounded by rainforests and mountains, Sanya is the southernmost city on Hainan Island in China. With its warm weather and miles of pristine beaches, it is easy to see why this city has been called the Hawaii of the East.

With a history dating back to the Qin Dynasty, Sanya has remained part of China and has historically been of great strategic importance to the military. Today the port is used by cruise ships bringing tourists to the top holiday destination. Sanya has a tropical climate perfect for an island getaway. A pronounced wet and dry season, the average temperature never drops below 70.9 °F (21.6 °C).

With almost 30 miles (50km) of coastline, there are multiple beaches to choose from. Dadonghai Beach is located an easy 1.5 miles (3km) from the centre of Sanya and just off the main road. With good facilities, warm waters, and a multitude of water sports, this beach is popular with locals and tourists alike. Those at Dadonghai beach must be sure to look out for the endangered Chinese White Dolphins that have appeared more and more in the area since conservation began in 1993.

The beaches along Yalong Bay are packed with luxury hotels and resorts such as the MGM Grand, the Ritz-Carlton, and the St Regis. Those on a tighter budget can stay at one of the local hotels a little further inland.

While the beaches of the city are worth visiting, it is the beaches of the nearby islands that are a must see for any visitor to the regions. The butterfly shaped island of Wuzhizhou is known for its incredible coral reefs, an optimum choice for scuba divers

Just opposite the Wuzhizhou Island is the Nanwan Monkey Island, a nature reserve for the macaque monkeys. Converted into a Nature Reserve by the Chinese government, Nanwan Monkey Island is a sanctuary for nearly 3000 monkeys as well as hundreds more creatures and plants indigenous to the area. The reserve can be reached by China's longest oversea ropeway from the Xicun Harbour that is over 7014ft (2138m) long, affording an incredible view over the bay and the surrounding archipelagos.

Visitors must be sure to visit the Nashan Temple, built to commemorate 2000 years of Buddhism in China. Situated on the southernmost mountain in the country, the temple is made up of a series of Buddhist structures intended to engender a quiet atmosphere for reverence and contemplation. The Guanyin of Nansha is undoubtedly the highlight, built on an artificial island 500m into the sea, the statue of the Bodhisattva Guanyin is over 350ft (108m) tall.

Rainforests surrounding Sanya are easily accessible from just outside the city. The Yalong Bay Tropical Paradise Forest Park offers hikes, tours, and mountaineering expeditions to scenic waterfalls and caves. Alternatively, thrill seekers will enjoy zip-lining and abseiling down some of the mountains.

The food of Sanya is historically made using simple seafood and vegetables flavoured with yellow chillies and ginger. Travellers must be sure to try the Dongshan Lamb, Jiaji Duck, and Hele Crab at one of the many top restaurants. For a truly immersive experience, take time to explore some of Sanya's food markets such as the First Market next to Hexi Road. Here shoppers will find a collection of weird and wonderful delicacies including dried seahorses and snakehead fish.

With an extensive public transportation network and large number of taxis, traveling in and around Sanya is relatively cheap and easy.

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