I always consider myself lucky that I live in Asia. Back in Canada the only places I travelled to regularly was New York or Miami. However, living in Asia has broadened my travel horizons. For the same price as a flight to Miami, I was about to go to another country, where the beach is 1000 times better!
Hainan Island is a popular resort island for mainland Chinese residents, as well as Russians? I did a lot of research before I went and read a lot of blogs about how Sanya, which is in the southern part of Hainan Island, is the Chinese equivalent of Hawaii. I was very skeptical about this because I've been to China, and well..... So, I didn't expect much from Sanya. I must say, as soon as I got out of the airport I was pleasantly surprised. Sanya isn't the best island I've ever visited but for China it's pretty amazing. It can be difficult for people who are not Chinese to get around, as most people do not speak English. However, if you are up for the challenge, there are a lot of picturesque views, beaches and luxury resorts.
Let's talk about hotels in Sanya. The picture above is from the balcony at the Crowne Plaza Sanya Bay Resort which is a 5-star hotel located right on the beach. You actually do not need to leave the hotel if you don't want to because it's got 3 restaurants, a bar, cafe, tennis court, swimming pool, arcade, pool table, etc. The room I stayed in was actually a club room, which was quite large and had a hot tub on the balcony. Yes! A HOT TUB! However, this hotel is a 5-star according to Chinese standards. For us Westerners it is probably a 3.5~4- star.
The hotel had happy hour and the drinks were pretty good and quite strong. A lot of their food and drink deals were pretty affordable like all you can eat dessert for $20!
Across from the hotel you can find a nice quiet beach. Although, I didn't see many people on the beach or in the water.
Okay, back to the food. For the foodies out there, this hotel has a buffet seafood dinner for around $50. It seems a bit steep but the seafood was amazing! First they bring out a welcome dish which was salmon, shrimp and some veggies. After that you got to pick your own seafood and they would bbq it and bring it to your table. The options were actually impressive because it wasn't limited to just seafood. They had beef, pork, chicken, shrimp, cuttlefish, scallops, clams, oysters, onions, okra and more! It was well worth the $50.
And the sunset was also worth it.
One of the best things to do is to visit the rainforest. Sanya has two popular rainforests; Yalong Bay and Yanoda. It can be quite difficult to walk around in the rainforest because it is so humid, but it is so beautiful. Also, make sure to get add the shuttle bus option~ you don't want to be hiking in the mountains in this heat!
The shuttle buses are great because they take you to different courses in the forest. The forest is very dense and there are a lot of beautiful flowers and trees, but most importantly the impressive views of the ocean.
The rope bridge is also a popular attraction but the line to get on it would take you a few hours. There are also treehouses you can rent!
The glass bottom bridge had the best views of the ocean and surrounding areas. If you are afraid of heights just don't look down!
These views remind of my my trip to Oahu! So beautiful!
Another great thing about Sanya, the hot pot! If you have never had Chinese hot pot it is basically like having two pots of broth, one spicy one not. Then you order what you want to put in it like noodle, beef, pork, veggies, tofu. Steam for a little bit and enjoy! YUM!
Make sure to visit downtown Sanya. Dadonghai beach is a great place to people watch, relax or swim because people actually go in the water here. There is also shopping along the boardwalk incase you forgot your towel, bathing suit or just want some souvenirs.
Look out for the big pineapple. You can't eat it but you can shop here! There are a lot of great stores with cute clothes. They even have a Marvel Miniso store! Plus, the architecture is really cool! One thing I noticed about Sanya was they have amazing architecture.
If you love quirky buildings, check out these places in Sanya:
Make sure to wake up early, Sanya has some of the best sunsets I've ever seen!
Sanya is a very unique experience, but I loved every minute of it. Though at times it was frustrating trying to communicate with people because of the language barrier often it worked itself out. I didn't get to see as many attractions as I would've liked to but I'd love to go back there again because it's such a different experience from the other islands I've been too. Sanya is a great destination to visit, especially if you are going to be in China for a long period of time.
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I’m Hilda, the writer behind Herxtravels. Here you can find travel guides, reviews and tips. Find out more about me here.
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