Sanya Wan beach at night time. Hainan locals and mainland tourists relaxing and enjoying the atmosphere.
Sanya (三亚 Sānyà) 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.
- "Haitang Bay" - A relatively new development. Not as crowded as Yalong Bay.
Sanya has an airport with flights to most major Chinese cities such as Guangzhou, Shanghai 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.
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).
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.
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 for the first 2 kilometers, and ¥2 for each additional kilometer. 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. Another problem is that since Sanya is only crowded during winter, there are enough taxis to go around. And the government doesn't hire more taxis because during the summer, there would be too many taxis and the drivers would not make any money. To help with this problem, the government has commissioned another class of yellow taxis that can hailed by phone. Dial 96789 tell them your location and they will pick you up if there is a car nearby you and the rates are the same as regular taxis.
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, . 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 www.seaturtles911.org 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 (19 CNY, about 2 hrs) and then switch to the Xincun (新村 Xīncūn) bus (in Lingshui stay back to main (bus) entrance of bus station and you see street before you face; take right side of this street and try to find bus stop or (i don't check) you can try stop bus on any point of road (4 CNY, about 30 mins) and ride it to the end of the line (be prepared: road in bad condition). Then you arrive in Xincun stay back to bus direction and straight go. The park entrance will be about 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. Last bus from Lingshui to Sanya in 18 20. 163 CNY.
- 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), . Yanoda, meaning 123 in Hainanese, is a newly developed rainforest park, well organised and nicely landscaped. An inner bus (add ¥40) takes groups to the start point which also has a great view of Chitian reservoir. 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 tour or ¥170 individual entrance prices. (18.463979,109.645185)
- 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.
- Luhuitou Park (鹿回头公园), 鹿回头公园 (Pronounced Loo Hway Toe Park, or Deer Looks Back Park,on top of the mountain in Sanya where all the green lasers are shooting out from, take the road toward Da Dong Hai, turn make a right on Li Ling Road, then go up the hill until you get the the ticket booth. From there you can either walk up the rest of the way or pay for a shuttle.), ☎ 88226472, . close 11:30pm. This is one of the tourist attractions in Sanya. On top of one of the tallest mountains in Sanya stands a statue of a deer looking back, flanked by a Li boy and a Li Girl. The legend goes that the boy was hunting the deer until the deer approaches a cliff, looks back, and magically turns into a beautiful girl and they fall in love. This place symbolizes young couples falling in love. At night you will see green lasers shooting out from near the statue that is visible from all over Sanya. Beneath the statue is an outdoor barbecue seating area that closes at 11:30pm. You will see wild monkeys that take food from humans as well. On the back of your ticket, you will see a map of the park so you can guide yourself. There is an abandoned roller coast up here as well. You will see the rusting tracks and closed off entrance area. There is also a wall with chains on it where you can buy a padlock with your names written on it and have your padlocked locked to the chain to symbolize that your love is forever. Or until the lock breaks. ¥45 entrance, ¥15 option shuttle.
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, . 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.
Yalong Bay, Dadong Bay, Haitang 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.
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.
- English Corner, Jie Fang Lu (near Mingzhu Square, opposite the shopping center ,it's on the 3rd floor on a police station, once you are on Jie Fang Lu, you will see an Arch with about 5 or 6 flags on top, go through the arch and you will see a police station on your right. Go to the 3rd floor. After you arrive on the 3rd floor, make a left, you will find the English Corner in a kindergarten room on your left. If you see any white guys in the room, then you are in the right place. There are no signs.), ☎ 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 Summer Mall, fifth floor of south end, in Dadonghai), . 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.
- China Duty Free (CDF). The government set up a duty free shopping center for luxury goods in Sanya. Here you can buy all the Gucci, LV, etc. to your hearts content. You would need proof of a plane ticket leaving Hainan and you must pick up your goods at the airport when you leave.
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).
- No. 1 Agricultural Products Market (第一市场), Xinjian Street # 155. close midnight. This is not a restaurant, but a live seafood supermarket, and it's worth mentioning because of its popularity. You buy seafood here, take it across the street around the corner and all the restaurants will cook the food for you. They have seafood, poultry, lamb, pork - almost anything you can think of besides beef. As you are shopping for food, you will get approached by touts that give you a business card with their price list for cooking your food for you. If you agree, after you finish buying, they will take you to their restaurant around the corner and prepare the food for you. If you want to eat seafood but don't want to pay the outrageous prices at seafood restaurants, this is a great option. Varies.
- Wanjunlong, Yuejin Street #86 (Corner of Shengli Road and Yuejin Street), ☎ 0898-88265889. close when sun comes up. Popular place for late night barbecue and beer. Not as big as Shangping Road, but a good alternative if you get sick of shangping road. various.
- 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.
- 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 (Tell the cab driver to drop you off 100 metres before Summer Mall in dadonghai, and look across the main road, you will see us between a couple of russian retails.), ☎ (86) 898 88215700, . 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 imported beers and international cocktails. Check with the manager and he can probably make something off the menu for a reasonable price. Very friendly environment with countless big screen TV's showing all major sporting event listings. Also has typical bar games: pool, darts, foosball, etc. Meals ¥30-60.
- Pizza Corner, Herton Hotel at Dadonghai Beach-1st floor (Opposite Resort and Time Hotel), ☎ +86 898 88677995, . 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, . Excellent choice of western classics with creative use of local ingredient. Also serving first class hamburgers. Moderate for a five star hotel.
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.
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. There is a well-known seafood supermarket called The No. 1 Agricultural Products Market(第一市场)(See address below). You buy live seafood and then take it around the corner to a crowded street where all the restaurants will cook(Jia Gong,加工） the seafood for you for a small fee per dish. It's the most crowded night market in Sanya. You will find a constant assortment of musicians and kids that sell flowers to proposition you while you are eating. It's a great way to save money on eating seafood because there is no markup for the seafood because you purchased the seafood yourself. It's quite a lively environment with guitarists playing, saxophonists playing, customers singing, beer flowing all night long, garbage trucks to come by to pick up the garbage, and the occasional fight. This street starts dying down around the midnight and the crowds head to bar street.
After Bar Street closes, the crowds head to the night food market located at the 1st Lane of Shangping 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. The food and beer flows until the sun comes up.
Another popular after-hours barbecue place is at Wan Jun Long. Not as popular as Shangping Road, but if you are sick of seeing the same people all the time, this is another alternative.(address below)
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.
Coffee 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, . 10AM-12:30PM. The coolest international coffee brand in Sanya/Dadonhai Beach with three locations. Moderate prices.
- Coffee World - Pizza Corner. Pizza Corner, Herton Hotel at Dadonghai Beach-1st floor (Opposite Resort and Time Hotel), ☎ +86 898 88677995, . 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.
- Bud Cafe (早苗咖啡厅), Shengshixindi Building, Floor 11, intersection Jixiang Road / Sanyawan Road, Sanya Bay, ☎ 089838269388. Realxed Coffeeshop (Taiwanese owned) with a variety of coffee drinks and some food (didn't try the food), Reggae music etc. Nice balcony with great view. Good internet connection, good to hang out and surf.
Alcohol - Times Coast Bar Street
This is where all the hottest clubs in Sanya are, it's one big circle with about 10-11 clubs. The big three first tier clubs with all the tourists are Soho, MJ, and 88. The rest of the clubs are second tier clubs that have mostly locals and are less expensive. To get here, hop in a cab and say "Jiu Ba Jie". 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!
- Soho Bar (苏荷酒吧), 三亚市河东路36号 (First bar you will see on Bar Street, across the bridge from Pizza Hut), ☎ 0898-88706677, . close 3am. The most popular bar for mainland tourists. More attractive people here than other bars. ¥180 for 6 beers.
- MJ BAR (三亚名舰国际娱乐会所), 三亚市榆亚大道时代海岸酒吧街 (exit Soho, make a right, walk half a block), ☎ 15108982345, . close 3am. This is the club with the most foreigners. The bar counter is a Russian hangout. ¥180 6 beers.
- Allen Club (阿伦故事酒吧), 三亚市西河东路山水云大厦 (Next to MJ, second floor), ☎ 0898-88600009, . 3am. second tier club
- Golden Club (金壁辉煌俱乐部), 三亚市愉亚大道时代海岸（市委对面） (Around the corner from Allen Club), ☎ 0898-38215555. close 2am. This is a KTV Hostess club. You have to get a room that has a minimum charge of more than ¥1000. Then you pay for girls to drink with you. The girls charge ¥500 tip. ¥1000+ for a room.
- Gold Baidu (金百度), 时代海岸酒吧街愉亚大道2号附近 (next to Golden Club), ☎ 0898-88609898. close 2am. Second tier club on the ground level around the corner from Allen Story
- 8090 (8090后酒吧三亚店), 榆亚大道2号鸿洲时代海岸内 (next to Gold Baidu), ☎ (0898)88889998. close 2am. Second tier club, they have KTV rooms on the second floor, and a lounge section on the 3rd floor
- 123 Bar (123酒吧), 三亚旅游区榆亚路时代海岸酒吧街(近名舰酒吧) (Before you reach MJ walking from Soho, there is an alleyway, First bar in the alleyway), ☎ 0898-88912398. close 2am. second tier club, but full of people always. mostly locals.
- Wang Jiao (旺角酒吧), 三亚市时代海岸酒吧一条街 (Exit Soho and make a left, walk past rainbow and Eadry Hotel,), ☎ 0898-- 88989898, . close 2am. second tier club, mostly locals, have KTV rooms on the second floor ¥100 dozen beers.
- 88, 酒吧街 (exit Soho, make a left and keep on walking until you see it). close 3am. Franchise club, always packed and they have balcony levels for more private partying. Less foreigners here, but more foreigners than Soho. ¥180 6 beers.
- CC, 酒吧街 (Next to 88). close 2am. They have an outdoor patio lounge on the 3rd floor. :The second floor is a regular KTV.
- Rainbow Bar & Grill, 酒吧街 (Exit Soho, make a left, first bar you see). close 2am. They have both and indoors and outdoors section. The outdoors section is more popular. They have a pool table and a live band. Indoors, they have a foosball table. The burgers here are pretty good.
- Take, 酒吧街 (exit MJ, make a left, go into alley and it's the first bar on the right). close 2am. new bar with a live band.
- Dadonghai Beach (In the Herton Seaview Hotel opposite Resort In Time at Dadonghai Beach), ☎ +86 898 88677995. Combo store with Pizza Corner.
- 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.
- Dolphin (海豚吧), 大东海. close 2am. This is the foreigner hangout in Sanya. Live band and western food. You will find mostly Russians sitting outside and a mix of people sitting inside. More description of this bar in the restaurant section.
- Sanya Surf Circus, 大东海 (In the middle of Da Dong Beach). close 2am. They rent surfboards during the daytime and they have 4 kittens behind the bar. If you are looking to adopt a kitten, go ask them, they only want to keep one. Almost every Saturday or Friday, they have a beach party. During these parties, you will see ALL the foreigners in Sanya. About 25 percent of the crowd will be Russian, another 25 percent black, and the rest a mix of Americans, Europeans, and Chinese. Run by some Italian guys. They send a mass text message out the day before there's a party. To get on the list, send an SMS to Darcy, 13976190715 ¥10 a beer.
- Happy Buddha, Gang Wu Ju (Go to Gang Wu Ju and look for Happy Buddha). close 2am. They have a big lounge area, but this bar is a "high" bar, most people come here to go to the private KTV rooms on the second floor to do their preferred drug of choice.
- Rings Lounge, 文明路107号. close 2am. They have two floors. On the second floor you can sing karaoke where all the customers can hear and see you - not a common thing in China. They also sell Pizza. This is a relatively new bar and they don't have a lot of customers yet. They do have one problem though - because residents live upstairs, they have to turn down the music after 11pm. ¥100 6 beers.
- Sanya 8 o'clock KTV (三亚8点KTV), Gang Wu Ju (Across the street from Happy Buddha). close midnight. Really ghetto KTV and lounge where the locals hang out. Sound system is not good either. But if you want to hang out with locals, this is it. ¥10 a beer.
- 阳光地带 (Yang Guang Di Dai), 520 解放路，4th Floor (Across the street from McDonald's, In the building that says New York Studio or something like that, take the elevator to the 4th floor). close 2am. This is where all the Gay and Lesbian people in Sanya hang out. You will find the men in one corner and all the women in another corner. Most of the women have short hair. They sell Anchor beer. There is a wireless microphone and you can sing karaoke. You can pick the songs yourself from the computer. If you are a good looking male, you will get hit on. ¥120 12 beers.
- Underground Hip Hop Club, 双龙大夏 basement. all night. By day this is a Hip Hop Dance Studio, by night it's an underground private Hip Hop Club. Many professional dancers from the clubs come here after the bars close. It's got mirrors on the walls so you can watch yourself dance. They have a DJ Booth. Once a month they have a huge party here. To get in, you would need to know someone who can bring you or just wander in and knock on the door to see if they are friendly.
- Beer Factory, Intercontinental Hotel. They have their own brewery with German beer. You can see all the big canisters and pipes where the beer is brewed and served to you. There's outdoor and indoor seating. Indoor seating has a live band from the Philippines. If you come here on Wednesdays, all the beer is half price. ¥36, ¥50, ¥80 for small, medium, big draft beer.
- Mos Blues. at the Mandarin Oriental Resort.
- Paulaner Brauhaus (托马斯啤酒屋), No.236 Sanya Bay Road Sanya 572000, Hainan Island, P.R. China (Located inside the Narada Resort & Spa), ☎ +86(898) 3889 8888, . 17:00-01:00. Paulaner Brauhaus is a unique themed restaurant, famous for its traditional German food and freshly brewed Paulaner beer. A distinct feature of the restaurant would be that it offers guests a first hand glimpse of how beer is freshly brewed in-house by their Master Chef. Watch the most beautiful and astonishing sunset on the terrace and live entertainment while you enjoy a sumptuous feast. ¥42 a beer.
- Ajiya (Haitang Bay Gloria Sanya), No. 9 Haitang Bay, 301 Road, Haitang Bay, Sanya 572014, (Highway G98), ☎ (86) 898-3888 8855, . French Teppanyakki
- ACT (Haitang Bay Gloria Sanya), No. 9 Haitang Bay, 301 Road, . Classy Disco with Live band Daily and KTV rooms
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 ([email protected]). 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 ([email protected]). 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 ([email protected]), . 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 Y200.
- 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.), . 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, . 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 ([email protected], fax: +86 898 88893066), . 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, . 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, . 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), . Rooms with sea view. Business center available. Rooms start around ¥500. Broadband is extra.
- Yinyun Seascape Resort Sanya, Haipo Development Zone, Sanya Bay, . 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.
- Banyan Tree Resort. This is a five start resort with it's own private beach. You can have a romantic dinner right on the beach.
- Mandarin Oriental. 5 star resort
- Haitang Bay Gloria Sanya, No. 9 Haitang Bay, 301 Road, Haitang Bay, Sanya 572014, Hainan Province, P. R. China, . 5 star resort
- Narada Resort & Spa (三亚君澜度假酒店), No.236 Sanya Bay Road Sanya 572000, Hainan Island, P.R. China (Located in Sanya Wan, near the airport), ☎ +86(898) 3889 8888, . 5 star resort, use to be called the Kepimski.
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 been 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.
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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