Sanya, at the southern tip of the island of Hainan, is China’s hottest beach destination and a popular vacation spot throughout the year. Tourists come from around Asia to enjoy the city’s sandy beaches and balmy tropical climate. In fact, it’s the only place in China that is situated inside a tropical climate zone.
Resorts in the area are spread out amongst several different regions with the most popular being Yalong Bay. Other popular stretches of sand include Sanya Bay itself, Haitang Bay, Dadonghai and the Luhuitou Peninsula.
Hainan itself is a large island in the South China Sea just a few miles off the coast of the Chinese Mainland. While Sanya receives most of the island’s visitors, the rest of the island does have some worthwhile sights and one way to see the island is to travel on its railroad.
What To Expect
The city of Sanya itself isn’t the most impressive tourist destination, but most tourists will spend their time at one of the area’s many beach resorts and not in the city itself. The nicest resorts are on Yalong Bay, where visitors will find international chains of luxury resorts that are built to the standard one would expect from a tropical paradise.
Beaches like Dadonghai and Sanya Bay provide a more affordable alternative, as the resorts are usually Chinese chains. These two beaches are especially popular with Chinese and Russian tourists. That said, Dadonghai does have a happening nightlife and is a lot of fun.
Who Will Love It
Sanya will be especially appreciated by expats living in East Asia or China who are looking for an affordable tropical escape. Travelers on lengthy tours of China will also enjoy Sanya as it’s a pleasant change of pace from the busy and polluted cities of the Chinese mainland.
Who Will Be Disappointed
Even though it’s sometimes called the “Hawaii of the Orient” or “China’s Miami Beach” it doesn’t quite live up to those lofty monikers, as it is very much a developing world-type destination.
The entire province of Hainan is a Special Economic Zone and it is one of the only regions in China where it is possible for international tourists to visit without having to acquire a Chinese visa beforehand. Tourists from 26 countries, including the USA, Canada, Australia and most of Europe, are allowed to visit Hainan for up to 21 days without a visa if their travels have been arranged by an international travel agency.