Sanya produces some of the world's finest pearls. Haggling and bargaining for pearls is welcomed, even in formal shops and stores. Tourists should be aware of taxi touts who ferry the unsuspecting straight to a relative or friend's shonky jewelry store. If a visitor has a trained eye and the merchandise is quality, then great bargains can be had.
The traditional cone-shaped wicker hats worn by most local women are an ever-popular souvenir and can be had for a steal at any of Sanya's outdoor markets or at the souvenir stalls at the airport. Visitors should check the quarantine rules of their home country before investing in anything made out of organic fibers.
While in Sanya, visitors may want to sample some of the fascinating herbs and medicinal powders that are on sale at any of the many apothecaries that dot the city. These places are administered by expert herbalists and if their claims are to be believed, almost any ailment can be rectified with the right combination of powders.
The Tourist Walking Street could not be more literally named. It is a pedestrian mall smack in the middle of downtown Sanya that has red Chinese lanterns hanging overhead and dozens of retailers lining either side of the street. Most are souvenir shops but plenty sell quality fabric and genuine pearls.
This major road contains or feeds off to shopping temples like the Jingrun Pearl Shop, the Guobin Department Store, and the Yanglan Crystal Shop. Few hotels and tourist guides in Sanya will not include a trip to Jiefang Road, which is close to the center of downtown, on their must-see lists.
This is the largest agricultural market in Sanya. Everything from fresh seafood to fruits, furniture and fake DVDs and CDs are sold here. It runs off Jiefang Road, in downtown Sanya.
A sprawling mall underneath a Perspex atrium that sells pearls, pearls and more pearls. Tired of shopping for pearls? Sanya Pearl Square also has a cinema, a gym and a bookstore.
Credit cards are welcome in most major shops and all hotels. However, gentle bargaining and haggling is welcome too, and fun, but it can only be done with cash. Even in formal antique stores, a little bit of bargaining is expected but as always, good humor is required and everyone loses face if prices are set too high, or bargained too low.
There are plenty of rip offs to be bought here, just as there are in every tourist mecca anywhere in the world. Shoppers may want to consider whether or not they really need a certain purchase before forking out a considerable sum on something that may be of dubious quality.