Sanya is located in the very south of China, on the edge of the island of Hainan. With its long white sandy beaches, hordes of sun lovers enjoying snorkeling and jet-skiing and a growing number of high-rise five-star hotels, it's little wonder that Sanya has been nicknamed ‘Hawaii in China'.
The tourist boom has presented some environmental problems in Sanya, with plenty of garbage and various other forms of pollution playing havoc with what had been crystal clear waters and perfect coral reefs. This hasn't seemed to have dissuaded the tens of thousands of visitors who journey here every month.
Sanya is one of the rare parts of China that does not experience cold weather in the winter. It is not unusual for temperatures to reach 30°C, even in the middle of January, and so this makes it a very handy getaway for Chinese and Russian travelers in search of a winter break. During Chinese New Year, the place is absolutely packed.
This is a huge beach that curves around for over 25kms but because it is the main point of entry for the commercial and industrial shipping traffic to the city, the quality of the water here is poor. Swimmers usually go elsewhere, but diners and bar-hoppers make this part of Sanya their first stop.
This is Sanya's tourist central with countless hawker stalls and restaurants with laminated menus selling home favorites to foreign visitors. Neon signs, souvenir shops and over-priced hotels dominate this part of Sanya.
This is one of the Sanya region's more isolated beaches. It is too far to be reached on foot but there are many private buses and taxis that ply the route. Yalong Bay is popular for water sports such as jet-skiing and windsurfing swimmers and sunbathers tend to go elsewhere.
Those in the know bypass Sanya town and head for nearby Dadong Hai, where the beach is exquisite and the shops and restaurants of a much higher quality. The atmosphere here is far more laid back than Sanya town too, especially at night.
Find more information about Sanya and hotels in the area:
Sanya hotels | China hotels