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Earth : Asia : East Asia : China : Southeast China : Hainan : Sanya
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Sanya Wan beach at night time. Hainan locals and mainland tourists relaxing and enjoying the atmosphere.

Sanya (三亚 Sān​yà​) is on the southernmost point of China, at the tip of Hainan island.


Billed as "China's Hawaii", Sanya has 20km long stretches of beach. As the only tropical city across the coastline, it is definitely booming and packed with a lot of water sports such as snorkeling and jet-skiing, rainforest hiking, and innumerable hotels ranging from zero to five stars.

With sunshine all year around, temperatures hover around 25*C even in January and 30*C in the summer time. Its islands and beaches are beautiful and the water in Yalong Bay and Dadonghai are clean enough to have a good swim, but you may also want to head to Wuzhizhou Island or further north to visit unspoiled and natural scenery.

While tourists come in every season, the peak season starts from 1 October to the end of winter. During the winter, Sanya is a popular escape for Russians who primarily stay at Dadong Hai (大东海 Dàdōng hǎi) and Northern Chinese to escape freezing weather. In the Chinese New Year, the city will be flooded with tourists and expect everything to be extremely expensive.

As the southernmost city in China, Sanya along with Yangshuo often serves as the last stop for backpackers who wish to spend the remaining days of their visa in China.


  • Sanya Bay Beach - stretches for around 25 kilometers, but is rather polluted and devoid of swimmers. It is lined with seafood restaurants and hotels costing ¥50-5,000+.
  • Sanya city - filled with souvenir shops and street grills at night. You will see locals dancing along the beach in the evenings, and a range of people selling souvenirs, street food and fairground games. Try the outdoor public karaoke if you dare! Cross the Sanya River (三亚河 Sānyà hé) to reach a less touristy, cheaper, and more fun part of town.
  • Dadong Hai (大东海 Dàdōng hǎi) - has Sanya's best balance between development and natural beauty. The town behind Dadong Hai is more expensive than Sanya, but has better restaurants and a gorgeous beach. The shopping, however, is not as good as Sanya city's. The dominant languages in this area, both spoken and written, are Chinese and Russian.
  • Yalong Bay (亚龙湾 Yàlóng wān) - is farther from Sanya city than Dadong Hai beach and has been developed into an international holiday center with multiple 5 star resorts, golf etc. The long beach is well taken care of by the various hotels. You will find many restaurants in the new shopping area. Definitely worth a visit, but be prepared for higher prices with respect to Sanya.

Get in

By plane

Sanya has an airport with flights to most major Chinese cities such as Guangzhou or Hong Kong. Fares vary significantly, depending on season and the particular tour. You may be able to save money by first taking a bullet train to Haikou and flying out of the provincial capital's larger airport. The Meilan high-speed rail station is in the same building complex with Haikou's international airport. For intercity bus, ticket and overnight lodging can exceed the difference and you should account for travelling 3-4 hours each direction. In addition to the bus, you will easily be able to find "heiche" (黑车 hēichē) taxis that will take you between the two cities, for between 350 and 500 yuan per car. Although strictly illegal, you can find drivers that are courteous, safe and reliable, although this is much more difficult without being able to speak at least basic Chinese.

By bus

The 3.5 hour bus ride from Haikou will cost about ¥80. Buses between Haikou and Sanya depart about every 30 minutes; the last bus from Sanya to Haikou departs around 11PM. Sanya's bus station is along Jie Fang Lu (解放路 jiěfàng lù), a few steps south (away from McDonalds) of the east end of "Shopping Street" (步行街 bùxíng jiē).

By train

Sanya can be reached directly by train from Beijing (35 hours), Shanghai (36 hours) and Guangzhou (15 hours). The whole train is loaded on to a ferry for the journey from mainland China to the Island, then continues its journey around the west coast as far as Sanya. As trains leaving the island originate in Sanya, tickets from this smaller town are easier to obtain than if leaving from Haikou.

High-speed train connect all major cities and towns on the eastern coast. It takes 1.5 to 2 hours from Haikou, travels up to 250 km/h.

The new train station in Sanya is far from downtown, approximately as far as the airport. A taxi to Dadong Bay (大东海), the most popular tourist area) is approximately ¥25-30. A public bus will cost ¥1. Lines 2 and 4 lead through Sanya city proper and continue through (and past) Dadong Bay.

Get around

Many people stay in beach areas with more-or-less everything within walking distance. Darting in, around, and between Sanya city and Dadong Hai is best done by the city bus lines 2 (fastest) or 4 (adds some stops around Sanya River) for ¥1. The buses run along Sanya city's Jiefang Road (解放路), which is the street McDonald's is on, and hit Dadong Bay at Luling Road (鹿岭路), just one stop past the Deer Turns Head Square (鹿回头广场)

Taxi fare starts from ¥8 (The old price was from ¥5) for the first 2 kilometers, as of May 2012. Due to the cheap fare, taxi drivers like to hover around anywhere outside the downtown to avoid short-ride passengers. This makes getting a taxi in the downtown a bit difficult. Taxis are quite well regulated and they are mostly okay with using a meter, but drivers are mainly immigrant workers who may not be familiar with every place. Some of them also try to fool tourists that the place they want to go is closed, and try to take you farther. Within the next few months, the taxi fare would be adjusted to around Y10 for the first 3 kilometers.

There are also numerous motorcycle and sidecar taxis. You must negotiate the price before leaving. Prices are slightly lower then regulated taxis but it depends on your negotiating skills and knowing what the locals pay for the same trip distance.

For trips farther out of town, you can buy bus tickets at Sanya city's bus station or just hail buses on the road that runs along Sanya's beach. Tickets to most destinations will be ¥1-30. You could also hire a van with (or without) an English speaking guide from hotels or people with white and blue displays on the streets of Sanya City or Dadong Bay. If choosing to go with a Chinese tour group, beware that there may likely be several hours of scheduled stops at "infomercial" centers, complete with microphone delivered advertisements.

You can also rent a motorbike or a car of your own. There are several places to do this, with prices per hour (¥60), 4 hours (¥150), 8 hours (¥350) or by week (¥1,500). Discounts are available outside peak times. However, any driver who is not familiar with the traffic norms in Sanya should think twice about renting a motorbike. Traffic rules are practiced half-heartedly and road condition can be dangerous even if you are a good disciplined driver. When you crash into a pedestrian, you as a driver are likely the one to pay the compensation.

When renting a car or motorcycle, you need a valid chinese driving licence (International Licenses are not valid). There is no exemption to this rule and you can be jailed for up to 15 days by driving without a license. In most cases, you will be fine without it, but in the event of an accident, this will be a major issue.


  • Dadong Sea (大东海; Dadonghai). Predominantly Russian (in visitors and signage, there is little English here!) Dadong Sea has Sanya's best balance between development and natural beauty. The town behind Dadong Bay is more expensive than Sanya, but has better restaurants and a gorgeous beach. The shopping, however, is not as good as Sanya city's. The ocean has algae blooms that vary the water from thick green to tropically clear. However, even when "tropically clear" the ocean bed is just sand with a rare school of fish or eel. See the beach both in the morning, at sunset (sets gorgeously over the hills), and at night (when people are very scarce). Check out the trails that lead between tide pools along the Westernmost rocks of the beach. The tip of the trail has a dramatic view of the ocean and a deep and deadly ocean cave.
  • Sea Turtles 911, [1]. The only non-profit organization promoting sea turtle conservation in China, Sea Turtles 911's primary facility is a floating sea turtle hospital in Lingshui near Nanwan Monkey Island, as well as programs in Sanya and Haikou. While on Hainan Island visitors are welcome to volunteer with the sea turtles and the organization's educational programs. Recommended donation. Go to for more information.
  • Nanwan Monkey Island (南湾猴岛 Nánwān hóu dǎo), (From Sanya, take the Lingshui (陵水 Língshuǐ) bound bus from the bus station and then switch to the Xincun (新村 Xīncūn) bus and ride it to the end of the line. The park entrance will be 300 meters away). Actually a penninsula, Monkey Island is home to about 1800 endangered Macaque monkeys whose habitat you get to roam freely through. Be careful, these monkeys will jump on humans (playful) or attack for sweet drinks or food (hungry and thirsty)! There are also some circus-style comedy shows featuring monkeys doing stunts. Entrance ticket is ¥68 and a round-trip ride on the gondola is another ¥60, but well worth the quiet, long, and smooth ride over gorgeous ocean-top fishing villages and jungle.
  • Sanya Nanshan Temple (三亚南山寺). Purposefully-constructed tourist trap began in 1998 with a gigantic statue of Guanyin (a Goddess of Mercy) on a sea-top platform. The park has few interesting spots (save a monastery bells that you can "gong") but demands a hefty entrance fee over ¥150. A trolley car can shuttle you around the park for extra cash, but it is best enjoyed without the trolley as it really is not that big. Nanshan is about an hour outside of Sanya city by city bus, which can be grabbed at the bus station or along the city's beach-side roadway (三亚弯路). The surrounding countryside is much more interesting than the park itself, which is a must-miss.
  • Xisha Archipelago (西沙群岛). Gorgeous, remote, and brimming with tropical life, one of this chain of islands was formerly on exotic vacation spot that is now off-limits to travelers, reportedly due to territorial disputes.
  • Wuzhizhou Island (蜈支洲岛). A popular spot for snorkeling and scuba diving, this island has fallen victim to it is popularity. Water is less clear and fish less plentiful than before, so choose dates and times to maximize visibility when visiting. Scuba diving will cost around ¥400-500.
  • Perfume Bay (香水湾; [[Xiangshuiwan]]), (Two hours from Sanya by bus (see the bus station, tickets less than ¥30) plus a 100m walk from the freeway (ignore all motorbike offers, or pay less than ¥4 per person)). This stretch of beach is rather undeveloped and thus delightfully peaceful (it will probably be only you for a good kilometer on either side). Visiting here is a delightful and mind-cleaning day trip, especially if joined with some hiking around the surrounding farms. Watch out for strong rip tides and pack snacks.
  • Betel Nut Ethnic Minorities Park (槟榔谷). Hainan is home to a large population of ethnic minorities, predominantly the Li (黎) and Miao (苗) Ethnic Groups, and you can find out more about them at this park, about 30km outside of Sanya. The park is very commercial with a large number of shops, snacks for sale and (paid) opportunities for photographs with locals in traditional costumes or with indigenous animals. Despite this, it appears that there has been a genuine attempt to show the traditional life and customs of the two minoritiese, and the park appears less tacky than some other similar attractions elsewhere in China. It is probably also a relatively good way for money to be returned to the local community. There is a steep entrance fee (approximately ¥150 per person) but the park is huge and there are a wide variety of shows; it will take you 3-4 hours to see in its entirety. Be prepared though to fight your way through Chinese tour groups shouting "Blong" as often as they can, the Miao word for hello, and try to eat before you leave as the restaurants outside the park are overpriced. Rental of a taxi from Sanya and backshould cost approximately ¥200 including the wait in between, but you should negotiate this with the driver before departing. There are also one-day tours on offer in all the hotels, which will offer a discount on the overall price of transportation and entrance tickets, but you will be constrained to the timing of the rest of the group and may be taken to shops on the journey there and back.
  • Yanoda Rainforest Cultural Tourism Zone '''呀诺达雨林''', (35km from Sanya (take the road towards Wǔzhǐshān Five Fingered Mountain), [2]. Yanoda, meaning 123 in Hainanese, is a newly developed rainforest park, well organised and nicely landscaped, and as yet not too crowded. An electric bus (an optional 40 RMB) ferries groups of ten to the first base station. Wooden paths then take you on a 40 minute hike up a forest valley, past 1000 year old trees that have grown around rocks, with optional light absailing and rope river crossing. At the top, you enter a landscaped lakeside park with lotuses, colourful flowers and a canteen offering a nourishing herbal buffet (mostly for tour groups). The path continues up into the hills, past labelled jungle trees with huge palms overhead. This park is fairly good value, and in keeping with its subject matter, reasonably natural. At least you know the developers couldn't have manouvered the hefty trees into place, even for the reputed price of ¥3 billion that the park cost to civilize. ¥40-170 (tour or individual entrance prices). (18 degrees,)
  • Tianya Haijiao (天涯海角; Tianya Haijiao - Edges of the heaven, corners of the sea), (30 minutes from Sanya by bus number 25 (see the bus station, tickets ¥4 per person, one way)). There is nothing to see but a few rocks in the sea with Chinese characters. The beach itself is not really beautiful, but famously alluded to by various ancient Chinese writers. ¥70 and ¥35 for students.

  • Sunrise Rock (观日岩). It is located on the cliff in the southeast of the island. Standing on the rock, you can get a bird's view of the whole island and the South China Sea. The Guanri Rock is like a natural stone Buddha facing to the sea. It is also like a huge turtle crawling to the vast ocean. The rock is an ideal place for you to enjoy the sunrise.



Hainan has pretty consistent surf most of the year. In the summer, the south winds bring waves to Sanya's south-facing beaches. In the fall through winter, the peak surf season, Hainan's east coast is the place to go. Hainan does not offer world-class waves, but it offers fairly consistent tropical surf, which is almost completely empty. If you a breaking in to surfing, there are a number of companies to contact.

  • Insight Adventures (鹿回头村第四組203號), LuHuiTou Village (best use email or phone), +86 898 88226130, [3]. Insight Adventures are the largest operator in Sanya and offer surfing as well as many other activities such as kayaking, biking, snorkelling and stand up paddle boards. Insight offers a large staff of foreign and Chinese guides.


Sanya is a popular destination for pro-amateur bikers who are eager to hover around the whole island. However, almost all bikers take their own bike. Bike rental service is not as omnipresent as other touristy places such as Yangshuo or Lijiang. Most bike shops are located at Sanya Hexi Lu (Sanya River East Road), you need to pay Y1000 for deposit and prices start from Y40 for 1 day hiring. Several hostels also have a bike rental service. A route from Dadonghai to Yalong bay, then to Haitong Bay has a well-constructed, -lit and smooth road which stretches over 30KM and make it ideal to ride. However, the urban area of Sanya has some of the worst traffic in China and the local police are notorious for being impotent on cracking down traffic violations.

Water Sports

Yalong Bay, Dadong Bay, and Sanya Bay all have a collection of jet skiing, parasailing, paragliding, snorkeling, scuba diving, glass-bottomed boat, and beach ATV enterprises. Prices aren't generally very negotiable (save for scuba and snorkeling), but duration of the ride, however, can. Do not go too cheap on scuba, for obvious safety reasons.


In Sanya, you may more likely do more walking than hiking. With its pretty flat landscape and well-developed roads, hiking is not particular popular among tourists. Hikers often take a bus in the Sanya Bus Station at Jiefang Road and head to Wuzhishan (五指山)to start their hiking tour. The 90-minute bus is available every hour from 7:00 to 16:00 and fare is around Y16.

Study Mandarin

With such a beautiful environment, relaxing on the beach and studying Mandarin Chinese is a fun and productive activity for those with more time. It's also easier to focus on the studying without the distractions of the big cities.</do>

  • English Corner, near Mingzhu Square, opposite the shopping center, 13637633655 (Jelly). Wednesday, 8pm-10pm. Locals meet here to practice English with each other, expats occasionally visit as well. The level of English varies but is generally good enough for conversation. Good to get inside information on Sanya, many of them will be happy to show you around for a chance to speak some English.


The area produces pearls in abundance and they are sold everywhere. Prices are highly negotiable; overcharging tourists is common. Tour guides get a fat (often 50%!) commission for bringing tourists to pearl shops; try to go without one and beat the price down.

Coconut powders and teas are also popular Chinese buys, but for Westerners looking for something less commercially produced... the cone-shaped hats that women wear here with pictures inscribed are only 5 RMB at The First Market (第一市场 dìyī shìchǎng) in Sanya city. Lines 2 and 4 have a stop there. Don't head into the department store; instead, stick to the side of it and walk down the road filled with small shops and street vendors.

  • Corner Deli, (At Raihai Shopping Park in Dadonghai), [4]. Offers a wide range of imported food and drinks. For anyone living in China and wanting to take back a few western groceries that can't normally be found, this small deli is worth the trip.


Street food

A bit after sunset and well in to the midnight, Sanya city's streets are filled with small barbecue stands, noodle stands, and other snack vendors.

The most popular night food market is located at the 1st Lane of Shangpin Road (商品街一巷) which is close to Jiefang Road (解放路). Most foods are at the fixed price but try to negotiate a bit for the seafood barbecue.

Night markets in Dadonghai are less impressive, but local people likely head to Xia Yang Tian(下洋田) for some quick and simple food which is usually cheap.


Hainan grows a great variety of tropical fruits. Mango, apple, pineapples, durian, jackfruit, mangosteen, lycee are very popular and their breeds are colorfully diversed. Hainan is famous throughout China for its coconuts and they are worth trying, especially the red coconuts (红椰 hóng yē). Away from the beach, expect to pay about ¥4-5 for a coconut. Prices increase as you get closer and you may end up paying about ¥15 for a coconut on the beach. Note that fruit price is fluctuating and cheating on its weight is common. Visit any big and well-established chained supermarkets in the downtown of Sanya along Jiefang Road to check the current market price.


There are plenty of good restaurants, including many Sichuan places and some Cantonese. There is one McDonald's (on the pedestrian street at Jiefang Erlu) and four branches of KFC (105 Jiefang Lu; Duojialian; 63 Guoxing Dadao; Renmin Lu). Seafood is a beach city's speciality. Inspect the tanks for freshness before eating and beware of the different charges that are often handled by different people at the restaurant (fishery, cooking fee, and sitting fee can be separate). Shellfish go for ¥10-25 per jin (half kilo).

  • Continental Restaurant, 5 Hai Yun Road, +86 898 88210035. The Continental Restaurant serves a wide variety of food at very reasonable prices. Soups, salads, western food, chinese food, the variety and decor make this a nice dining experience.
  • Baguobuyi, 117 Yingbin Road, +86 898 88685688. Sichuan restaurant, part of a chain. Good value. Menu in Chinese only but the glossy menus have pictures which give you a good idea of what you are ordering. The giant meatballs are delicious, as is the braised pork. As with all Sichuan restaurants, if you do not like it too spicy ask them to cut back on the chilli.
  • Bohemian (波西米亚Boximiya), 3 Phoenix City (三用凤凰城Sanyongfenghuangcheng) (Phoenix Road (凤凰路 fènghuáng lù)), +86 898 88882333. Newly-opened restaurant with an international menu. Very well decorated and furnished and the service by waitresses wearing faux-Bavarian uniforms is exceptional. Prices range from very expensive (for things like Japanese beef or caviare) to very reasonable for more conventional Chinese dishes.
  • Jing Fu Gong, 4 Phoenix City (Phoenix Road, right next door to the Bohemian), +86 898 38295105. Korean restaurant run by South Koreans. Part of a chain, there is one in Haikou too. Very authentic, to the extent that it is a favourite for Korean tour groups who want a taste of home. Attentive service. Reasonable prices.
  • Marco Polo (Italian restaurant), 8 Haiyun Road, Dadonghai District (Look for the big Marco Polo sign), +86 13518095143. Offers a slightly more upscale take on Italian. There is a large, outdoor seating area and the pizzas are highly recommended. Offers pizzas, pastas, soups, meats and more! The food and the service are great. Expect ¥80-100 for a meal.
  • The Dolphin Sports Bar & Grill (formerly the Rainbow Bar & Grill), 99 Yuya Road, Dadonghai, (86) 898 88215700, [5]. Western restaurant and sports bar with a wide selection of Western favorites such as soups, salads, pasta, Tex-Mex, sandwiches, burgers and much more. There are usually good specials on draft beers and mixed drinks. Very friendly environment with countless big screen TV's showing all major sporting events around the globe. Also has typical bar games: pool, darts, foosball, etc. Meals ¥20-50.
  • Pizza Corner, Herton Hotel at Dadonghai Beach-1st floor (Opposite Resort and Time Hotel), +86 898 88677995, [6]. 10:30AM-11:00 PM. Combo store with Coffee World. Offers pizza, pastas, salads, soups and the tastiest BBQ chicken wings in Hainan. Dining on a lovely balcony which overlooks Dadonghai Beach. Tel: 0898-88677995. The restaurant delivers to customers within a 5 mile radius of Dadonghai Beach. English is spoken. Moderate price.
  • Xinjiang Ren (丝路花雨新疆人), Corner of Sanya Wanlu and Xinfengjie, +86 898 88388883. Very popular Xinjiang restaurant next to Sanya Beach. Has typical Xinjiang dishes such as Dapanji, a wide range of seafood that can be cooked as you wish and Indian Roti. Along the coastal road from the restaurant are a number of very popular seafood restaurants.
  • Tiffany for a good western meal(蒂芙尼西餐厅), Narada Resort Perfume Bay in Xiangshui (Few miles north of Sanya by the Chinese Riviera or East coast Highway), +86 898 83308888, [7]. Excellent choice of western classics with creative use of local ingredient. Also serving first class hamburgers. Moderate for a five star hotel.


The most popular local brew is Anchor (actually Singaporean but produced in Hainan). Ask for the 'red label' or 'old' brew, which is the original. It is very hoppy and can be a great escape from Yanjing (燕京) or Qingdao (青岛) beer. Those are available, of course, as well. There are also local pineapple-based beers. Odd, but worth a try. Red coconuts (红椰) are especially sweet, even if you just pop a straw straight into the coconut!

Coffee Addict Warning The vast majority of coffee shops here open around 10 or 11AM. The Jiefang Lu (解放路) McDonald's has thus become a morning pilgrimage for many Westerners.

  • Coffee World, [8]. 10AM-12:30PM. The coolest international coffee brand in Sanya/Dadonhai Beach with two locations. Moderate prices.
*Dadonghai Beach (In the Herton Seaview Hotel opposite Resort In Time at Dadonghai Beach), +86 898 88677995. Combo store with Pizza Corner.
* (LeFloret Shopping Plaza at Yalong Bay's Crowne Plaza Hotel).
  • Sanya Bar Street, Yuya Lu (In between Dadonghai and Sanya City). 'Sanya's Hai'an bar street has a number of different bars.
  • Reef Bar & Grill. Newly-opened bar and grill in a villa in an ideal location near Dadonghai Beach (behind Wave bar). Good range of bottled beers and spirits, including a unique cocktail based on Hainan rum. Reasonably-priced subs, burgers, pizzas, salads, pasta, baked potatoes, cakes, coffee and smoothies. Room service for local hotels - free delivery in Dadonghai, telephone 88210134. Deli, pool table, free internet, Wi-Fi. Only a few hundred metres from the Bar Wood Walk and the beach. Lots of comfortable seating in a large outdoor area. Best burgers in town!
  • Casa Mia Italian Restaurant, Sanya Wan Road (Down lingji ling Road til the T junction. Turn right and about 300 meters on the right..first floor. Green, white and red sign CASA MIA). A really upscale restauraut with excellent service with authentic Italian dishes. Prices are fair, the presentation is good as is the taste, as is the quality of food. Clean and well run. Recommended for western foods that will delight the palate. All wines and beer served. English speaking staff. Italian owner who is the Maitre D aided by his Chinese wife.



In Sanya city and Dadonghai there are many small, clean moderately priced inns and hotels (¥50-100, even in high season, for 1-3 beds). Some may be located in alley ways just off Sanya's beach street, sometimes several floors up without an elevator (but the view is worth it!).

  • Blue Sky Hostel, 1 Lanhai Alley, Haiyun Road (Take bus 4 to Xia Ri Bai Huo (夏日百货), walk down Haiyun Road and into the alley), +86 13976829281 (). One of the oldest hostels in Dadonghai area. The staff is friendly and some can speak English. The hostel can organize trips to all over Hainan. It has internet access, towels, laundry service, mats and hats for the beach. Scooters and motorcycles can be hired. Dorm Y50, Double from Y160.
  • Sanya TianYa International Youth Hostel, No.7 Nanqi Lane, fourth Lane, Yucun Road, Dadonghai Sanya, Hainan China 三亚市大东海渔村路四巷南七巷七号(鹿岭路“半山锦江宾馆贵宾楼”边下坡的渔村路) (You can take shuttle bus(cost RMB15) or Bus No.8 ,to Dadonghai(大东海)(cost RMB5) from Phoenix Airport 凤凰国际机场,and get off from Lulinglukou (鹿岭路口),when you get off there ,You can catch Taxi to our hostel ,it only cost RMB8.), Tel:0898-88211159 0086-018907605259 (). Set in a series of residential streets eight minutes away from Dadonghai Beach, This new arrival boasts four floors of clean,sparkling rooms. Beds are luxuriously soft-a rarity in china-and conduce to a good night's sleep. Bathrooms, including the shared toilets and showers. are spotless and cleaned every day. All double and twins room Ensuite. Staff are friendly and helpful. but most importantly open to suggestions for improvement. Include laundry, free WIFI, travel information and a picturesque eartyard plans are in place to renovate the common area. and provide a cafe including western breakfasts to guests. Dorm Y40, Double from Y120.

  • Donghai Holiday Rooms, Room 803, Unit 1, Building 3, Haiyun Yuan, 66 Yuya Road (Yuya Lu),Sanya. Hotel address in Chinese: 榆亚路66号华豫苑内海韵苑3号楼1单元803室,三亚, +86 0898-38215158. A friendly family run business of serviced rooms and apartments, clean, within a few minutes walking distance of beach, restaurants etc., wi-fi available, some suites have kitchens. Rooms from 94rmb to VIP Queen for 240rmb.
  • Eagle Backpackers Hostel. Another hostel in Dadonghai. Run by the charming and helpful Jane. They will help to arrange daytrips, activities, tasty breakfasts and plane tickets. Internet, laundry, etc are all available. Decent sized twin rooms with facilities are available for ¥120.
  • Sanya Backpackers, No.1 Type 1 Villa Lu Ming Community Haihua Road, Dadonghai Sanya, Hainan China 572021 三亚市大东海鹿鸣小区一型一号别墅 (Take bus 8 from Phoenix Airport 凤凰国际机场 to Dadonghai Bay 大东海 alight at Luling Lukou 鹿岭路口 bus stop junction Yuya Road 榆亚路 and Haihua Road 海花路.), +86 13198947615 (), [9]. A resort hostel run by a Singaporean couple. 3 minutes away from the beach. The hostel is very clean, has a nice garden, free internet. The owner can speak good English. Also offer PADI scuba diving courses and outdoor adventures. Dorm Y75, Double from Y240.
  • UFO Hotel Sanya, UFO客栈, 瑜亚大道, 海天荟源小区2号别墅, 大东海旅游区 , 三亚市, 海南省, Sanya, Hainan, China 572000 (Take bus 8 from Phoenix Airport 凤凰国际机场 to Dadonghai Bay 大东海 alight at Luling Lukou 鹿岭路口 bus stop junction Yuya Road 榆亚路 and Haihua Road 海花路.), [10]. UFO is a small, safe hotel run by Niko, who speaks English, her boyfriend, Bing, who speaks Russian, and one housekeeper. The place has refrigerator, laundry, bicycle, coffeepot; On the rooftop you can also have small parties and sunbathing. 130RMB to high season highs.
  • Sanya Lama Temple Hostel (三亚雍圣府国际青年旅社), 7 Dazhenling alley (大真岭巷) (Take a bus to Luhuitou square (鹿回头广场), head up the road onto the hill next to the duty free store.), 0898 88224486. Small and quiet hostel about 10 minutes walk from Dadonghai beach. Clean, friendly and dorms far cheaper than anywhere in Dadonghai proper. There is no temple here, the name comes from its affiliation with Beijing's Lama Temple hostel. Dorms Y25-30, rooms from Y130.


  • Guoxi Hotel, +86 899 88254888, [11]. Four-star hotel with rooms with views of the mountain and sea along Sanya's coastline, cable TV, and free internet and breakfast. Shopping mall, night club, outdoor pool, sauna, and Chinese and Western food. Rooms start at ¥418. ”"″.
  • Tianze Beach Resort Sanya, Binhai Road, Sanya Bay, +86 898 88893888 (, fax: +86 898 88893066), [12]. The hotel is right along Sanya Bay, surrounded by a magnificent shoreline and a stretch of coconut palm trees. Best rates on official website start at ¥448+″.
  • Sanya Royal Garden Resort, Luling Road, Da Dong Hai Beach, Sanya, Hainan, China, 86-898-88228888, [13]. Sanya Royal Garden Resort is located at Hainan, China. It offers 239 air-conditioned rooms, all of which have mini-bar, color TV, DVD/ CD player, and high-speed Internet access. Some of its amenities include outdoor swimming pool, sauna, and health/fitness center and massage service. While staying here, you can visit some interesting places like Yalong Bay National Resort, Nanshan Big and Small Caves, and Nanshan Buddhism Cultural Tourism Zone. Best rates on official website start at CNY 388+.
  • Sanya Emerging Seaview Hotel, Jiefang Yi Road (Jiefang Yi Lu), +86 898 88895888, [14]. This hotel offers various pretty rooms. Dining options include an authentic Chinese restaurant in addition to a lobby bar. In terms of recreation, the hotel offers 18 KTV rooms, massage services, a beauty salon.
  • CPAPF Sanya Resort, 6 Sanya Bay Tourism Zone, +86 898 88365598 (fax: +86 898 88333688), [15]. Rooms with sea view. Business center available. Rooms start around ¥500. Broadband is extra.
  • Yinyun Seascape Resort Sanya, Haipo Development Zone, Sanya Bay, [16]. The resort is a charming 80-room hotel that evokes Hawaii more than China. Online booking available on the official website. Rooms start at ¥268.


Out around Yalong Bay and the more Northern end of Sanya Bay are many Western luxury hotels.

  • Banyan Tree Sanya (三亚悦榕庄 sānyà yuèróngzhuāng), Luhuitou Bay, Luling Road No. 6 (20 minutes South of Sanya), +86 898 88609988 (, fax: +86 898 88601188), [17]. checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00. Cradled in the enchanting Luhuitou Bay of Sanya, the southernmost tip of tropical Hainan island, Banyan Tree Sanya commands a magnificent vista of sea and sky. Take in dazzling sunsets and sunrises in this beach destination that has been called the Oriental Hawaii. 3,000-10,000CNY.
  • Narada Resort - ex-Kempinski (凯宾斯基饭店 kǎi bīn sī jī fàndiàn), (30 minutes North of Sanya), [18]. A true five-star hotel on the most secluded and beautiful beach in Sanya. Employees are warm and welcoming, speak English fluently, and groups sift the wide beach's sands to make it even softer. Their pool, which includes an in-water bar, is not heated in the winter and is colder than the ocean. Even if you do not stay, it is an amazing retreat to sip a beer and hear only the sound of waves, unmarred by beach vendors or hundreds of children running to and fro. Rooms start around ¥900; luxury suites range to over ¥6000.
  • Pullman Sanya Yalong Bay (三亚亚龙湾铂尔曼度假酒店), [19]. With its own private beach. Rooms start around ¥1000.
  • Narada Resort & Spa Perfume Bay (香水湾君澜度假酒店), Xiangshuiwan (48km from Sanya Tiandu by east highway), 86-898-833 08888 (), [20]. checkin: 15.00; checkout: 12.00. The Resort is designed in a perfect combination of Han and Tang dynasties’ architectures. Each villa feature private swimming pool. Private beach. All-villa resort Rmb3000-Rmb7300 or US450-US1'100.

Stay safe

As a newly developed tourist destination, Sanya exists solely for tourism which is accompanied by annoyances including pickpocketeting and overcharging.

Before arrival, travelers should be wary of getting the right address and most up to date telephone number for their hostels/hotels. Some hostels are located in a new district whose roads have just be laid out. Not many people, including the police, know where specific locations are in new districts. When you get lost, always ask drivers to call the staff.

Para-sailing, diving, snorkeling and boating are popular but operators may not be trained or certified. If you go for diving, always check air tank pressures before. Some Wikitravelers have reported that they received half-empty scuba tanks and found it difficult to inhale smoothly.

Sanya has a lot of local tour packages. Some tours to outlying islands may look cheap, but once you arrive on the spot, operators may charge you extra money for using their equipment. Masks, snorkels and fishing rods can be shabby and expensive to rent. Other tours are shopping traps, complete with ridiculous commissions for the tour guide. Before you join any tour, ask specifically what is included in the fee (beach chair, drinks, boat, fishing rod, snorkel, mask, transportation, admission fees, return transportation, etc), and what is not (shopping).

Thanks to a heavy crackdown on gangsters, Sanya has become much safer than in the early 2000s. While violent crimes against tourists are rare in Sanya, be wary of pickpocketing, bicycle theft and bag snatching. There are occasional reports of professional drivers zooming alongside a tourist and grabbing their bag. Pickpocketing is common on buses. You should avoid bringing any valuables to the beach as theft is occasionally reported. Note that lockers on the beach, along their showers and beach chairs, are NOT free. They will charge Y20 to Y50, or more, per use.

Sanya is also notorious for overcharging. Scams in seafood restaurants were heavily reported in the Chinese media in 2011. To avoid very unpleasant sticker shock, make sure you know the price of what you are ordering.

That being said, as a tourist area, everything sold close to the beach will be 30%-100% more expensive than in downtown Sanya due to high rents and the law of supply and demand (lots of tourists, limited prime real estate for restaurants). Furthermore, market prices anywhere in Sanya are slightly higher than Haikou due to the cost of transportation. For seafood lovers who just traveled from inexpensive Haikou, do not expect to pay Y10 for 4 scallops or 6 oysters.

Traffic rules apparently do not exist. Cars and motorcycles drive on both sides of the road and careen down sidewalks as if they had right of way. Irritating honking is ever-present, even when driving on sidewalks. Tourists should NOT trust the green traffic light and zebra crossings, because changing lights sometimes encourage drivers to speed up. As elsewhere, do not trust drivers to avoid you; you should always avoid them.

Cars will only stop at red lights. Bikes will only stop at red traffic lights if they are managed by police, otherwise you will watch them zip and weave though all directions of oncoming traffic.

The road dividers on main arterial roads are not there to stop people from running across; they are in place to stop cars from going down the wrong side of the road. Watch a road without these installed and you will see this in practice.

The tap water, even in nice hotels, should not be considered safe to drink as the tap water in Sanya is generally not potable. Bring or buy bottled water if you plan to be outside of your accommodations for long periods of time. If you have access to a kettle in your hotel room or rented apartment, boiled water is fine to drink.

Hainan is considered an active malaria and dengue fever region. Note that while there are pills to prevent malaria, there is no way to grow antibodies against dengue fever. If you plan to visit tropical forest zones, bring your own strong mosquito repellent and coil incense.

Get Out

While most tourists visit Hainan for the increasingly vibrant city of Sanya, the island is large and has many other more remote locations to see. The eastern coast, between Sanya and Haikou is home to Shimei Bay (石梅湾 shí méi wān) and Riyuewan (日月湾 rìyuè wān), the former which hosts the large and very secluded-feeling Le Meridien, and the latter which has become a popular spot for surfers on a budget. The cheaper hotel is Y480 a night, so not super budget. Take the slow (non-express) bus to Haikou from the bus station and ask to be dropped off at the respective highway turnoff (Y30, 90min, pay on the bus). Make sure you show them your ticket first or they will take you to another town where a taxi ride back 5 KM they charge Y100. To get back, walk up to the highway and flag down a bus. Note that express buses won't stop to pick you up. A taxi to either location will cost around Y300.

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