History cannot make up its mind about Hainan Island.
Sitting off the southern coast of China and to the east
of Vietnam, it has been both eulogized as "the
Hawaii of the East" and condemned as "the
Gates of Hell". Perhaps the truth lies somewhere
in between. Originally considered by the Chinese to
be the place where the civilized world officially ended
and fit only to send convicts, the Hainan of today is
conversely overrun with Chinese tourists and espoused
by many as China's idyllic island paradise.
Most tourists who come to Hainan skip the commercialized
port capital of Haikou and make a beeline straight for
Sanya, the seaside city where all the good things about
Hainan come together: sun-bleached beaches provide the
island's best sunbathing, hot springs attract pamper
pusses, jet skis and reefs lure water sports aficionados
and butterfly reserves charm nature enthusiasts.
Sanya is located at the southernmost tip of Hainan,
where the South China Sea laps the island's sandy shores.
In Sanya, travelers will find three distinct options
for accommodation: Yalong Bay, Dadonghai Bay and Sanya
Yalong Bay is 30 minutes from downtown Sanya. There
are no local restaurants or markets, as most guests
prefer to dine in the hotel restaurants and arrange
activities through the hotel concierge.
Just 2km from downtown Sanya, the Dadonghai beach area
is brimming with local life. The area attracts many
Chinese and Russian tourists to its more modestly priced
A relatively undiscovered tropical destination, Sanya
Bay provides visitors with the longest beach bay in
Hainan. While similar, Sanya Bay is not as popular as
Dadonghai Bay, making this area a good value for the
With an abundance of fresh catches of the day, seafood
is very popular among visitors to Sanya. Customers can
pick their own and have it cooked to personal perfection
at most local restaurants. The four most famous dishes
in Sanya are Wenchang Chicken from Wenchang city which
is known for its tender meat and succulent bone marrow;
Dongshan Lamb or mutton; Jiaji Duck from Qionghai city
with a special ginger, soy and pepper sauce; and festive
crab, also from Wenchang city, which is best served
steamed to retain its fresh flavor. There are several
good examples of restaurants serving these specialties
between Jie Fang Er Lu and Jj Xiang Lu and Xin Feng
¡¤Chunyuan Seafood Square: near City Park, Hexi Lu
¡¤Dong Jiao Ye Lin Seafood: Yuya Avenue, Dadonghai Bay
Through it's enticing to spend all your Sanya time sunbathing
on the beach, the vicinity offers several interesting
day trips, many of which are perfect for families with
In order to make the most of your time and avoid tourist
traps like the staged "minority" villages,
it's recommended to organize private, small group tours
through your hotel or with a reputable tour company.
Going with a large group tour will undeniably mean lots
of unwanted stops and being herded like cattle to every
kind of pearl, crytal and jade factory possible.
The best experiences usually com from either footing
it yourself intrepidly or going with a small group tour
which has flexible, tailor-made itineraries and guides
who will take you to see the true heart of Sanya: unrehearsed,
natural and factory free.
¡¤Dadonghai Tourist Resort
¡¤Nanshan Cultural Tourism Zone
¡¤The End of the Earth
¡¤Nantian Pearl River Hot-spring