Sanya, China | Cruise port of call | CruiseBe
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Sanya, China

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 round, temperatures hover around 25*C even in January and 30*C in the summertime. 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... Read more

Sanya, China

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 round, temperatures hover around 25*C even in January and 30*C in the summertime. 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.


The area has a tropical wet and dry climate (Köppen Aw), featuring very warm weather all year around. Monsoonal influences are strong, with a relatively lengthy wet season and a pronounced dry season. The coolest month is January, at 21.6 °C (70.9 °F), while the hottest, unlike much of the rest of China, is June, at 28.8 °C (83.8 °F); the annual mean is 25.8 °C (78.4 °F). Water temperatures remain above 20 °C (68 °F) year-round.

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Sanya, China: Port Information

Sanya has a modern cruise port. It's located on Phoenix Island. A walk to the town along the pier will take you 10 minutes.
Passengers of the large cruise ships are carried to the terminal by tender boats.
There are shuttles in the port, as well as electric cars. 

Get around Sanya, China

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). 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).
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 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 to 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 be 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.  You could also hire a van with (or without) an English speaking guide 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 an electric motorbike or a car of your own. There are several places to do this. One service provider is called TAILG, the address is around #130 on Jiefang St. Petrol motorbikes are almost impossible to rent in Sanya. 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. Also, electric motorbikes may need frequent recharging if the battery is in poor condition.
When renting a car or petrol motorcycle, you need a valid Chinese driving license (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. If renting an electric motorbike, no driving license is required.

What to see in Sanya, China

  • Dadong Sea (大东海; Dadonghai). 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. Several locations and service providers have signage in Russian.  
  • 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 Xincun, Lingshui beside 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. In Lingshui, exit the bus station and walk across the street. Take the right side of this street and walk until you get to the bus stop beside the hospital. Wait for the 新村 Xīncūn bus and ride it to the end of the line. Once you get off the bus in Xincun, ignore the people trying to sell you rides to Monkey Island. Simply walk straight down the road and turn left at the end. The park entrance will be about 50 meters on the right. Take one of the D-class trains departing from Sanya Railway Station to LingShui (25mins). Take a taxi from LingShui station to the ticketing center (they will know where it is). There are a few monkeys around to see, but the "monkey circus" is a disgusting display of animal cruelty. They whip and are violent with the animals (monkeys, pony, bear, etc), forcing them to do the same repetitive show over and over all day. Animal slaves. Anyway, the last bus from Lingshui to Sanya in 18 20; the last train is much later (maybe around 21.00hrs).  
  • 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"). 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 an 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. Snorkeling is strictly regulated, only allowed in designated areas, and only with snorkel companies. Swimming is also confined to a small, roped-off section of the island. Swimming in 99% of the island is strictly forbidden. Signs and patrolling guards will ensure compliance. Take bus 28 from Sanya to the end of the line, then walk forward 200 meters to the parking lot entrance to your left to buy boat tickets.  
  • Perfume Bay (香水湾; Xiangshuiwan), (Two hours from Sanya by bus plus a 100m walk from the freeway (ignore all motorbike offers). 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 minorities, 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 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. 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 have several commercial stops on the journey there and back as well as within the park. The park has excellent signposting in English.  
  • 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 organized and nicely landscaped. An inner bus 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 abseiling and rope river crossing. At the top, you enter a landscaped lakeside park with lotuses, colorful flowers and a canteen offering a nourishing herbal buffet (mostly for tour groups). The path continues up into the hills, past labeled 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 maneuvered the hefty trees into place. Poor signposting in English, especially for the flora and fauna.
  • Tianya Haijiao (天涯海角; Tianya Haijiao - Edges of the heaven, corners of the sea), (30 minutes from Sanya by bus number 25. 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.   
  • 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 ticket booth. From there you can either walk up the rest of the way or pay for a shuttle.), 88226472, close 11:30 pm. 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 11:30 pm. 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.   

What to do in Sanya, China

Ease into island life with a spa treatment at one of the many awards winning venues in Sanya. Please note visiting a spa, like most things in Sanya, is not for the budget conscious. With the beautiful settings and well-trained therapists, you don't want to miss out on indulging at least once. You must book in advance, walk-ins are not very common.
  • The Spa at Mandarin Oriental, 12 Yuhai Road, Dadong Hai, +86 898 8820 9999 (, 10 am-10 pm. Highly recommended for those who want to try TCM in a luxury resort setting, they offer Chinese doctor consultation, acupuncture, cupping, moxibustion, scrubs, wraps, and massages. If you stick to the traditional treatments, the spa uses aromatherapy associates as their product.
  • Mandara Spa (Sheraton Yalong Bay), +86 898 8855 8855. 10 am-11 pm. This beautiful spa was designed by the famous Bensley Design Studios and you will feel like you've stepped into a Thai fairytale. Even if you are not staying in Yalong Bay, a treatment here is worth the trip.
Private Air Tour
Charter a private air tour of Hainan.
  • Sanya is home to numerous world-class golf courses, suitable for beginners and several demanding golf courses for more experienced players. International tournaments are regularly hosted in Sanya golfing venues. Hotels can offer weekly packages where you can golf every day on a different course.
  • Yalong Bay Golf Club.
  • Mystic Spring Golf Club Haitang Bay.
  • Sun Valley Golf Resort.
  • Sanya Luhuitou Golf Club.  
  • Dragon Valley Golf Club.
Hainan is China's only destination with consistent, year-round surf. 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 are new to surfing, there are a number of companies to contact.
  • Sanya Surf Circus, Dadonhai Beach, Sanya, 572000, +86 13976190715, 10:00 am-12:00 pm. Sanya Surf Circus was founded in May 2012 by three Italian men and Darci a surf expert with the distinction of being China’s first professional surfer, a certified ISA Surfing Instructor, and a member of the Swatch Pro Team. Sanya Surf Circus is a surf club with surfboard and SUP lessons and rentals, as well as a full restaurant and bar on the beach, with a complete bar and food menu featuring imported and local beer, and traditional Italian food including pizza, pasta, sandwiches, salads, and more.  
  • Insight Adventures, 0773 811033. Insight Adventures are the largest operator in Hainan and offer surf lessons and rentals, as well as many other outdoor activities such as kayaking, biking, snorkeling and stand up paddle boards. Insight offers safety certified instructors, first aid equipment, sun-protection utilities, and English or Chinese guides. Email  
  • Riyue Bay Surf Club, Riyue Bay, (0898) 62254626 (
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). 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, 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 the 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.

What to eat and drink in Sanya, China


There are plenty of good restaurants, including many Sichuan places and some Cantonese. There are two McDonald's (Pineapple Mall Dadonghai & on pedestrian street at Jiefang Erlu) Several Burger Kings (JieFang Lu, La Floret Yalong Bay, Domestic Airport Sanya) and four branches of KFC (105 Jiefang Lu; Duojialian; 63 Guoxing Dadao; Renmin Lu). Seafood is a beach city's specialty. 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).
  • 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.  
  • Aqua (三亚海棠湾天房洲际度假酒店), No.128, North Haitang Road, Haitang Bay, +86 898 88658888. Only open for Dinner. Great ambiance, its specialties are seafood & steak, An indoor enclosed restaurant offering spectacular views of sea creatures. 
  • Baan Rim Nam (Anantara Hotel Sanya 三亚半山半岛安纳塔拉度假酒店), No. 6 Xiaodonghai Road, Hedong District, Sanya, 572000 (BanShanBanDao, next to Intercontinental Hotel), +86 898 8888 5088. Lunch 12-3 pm Dinner 6-11 pm. The most authentic Thai restaurant in Sanya, great for a romantic night, not a cheap restaurant even for Sanya standards but well worth the trip as the Chef is Thai and the food is as close to Bangkok as you get in Hainan.  
  • The One Chinese Restaurant, Pullman Sanya Bay Hotel No 158 Sanya Bay Road (5 minutes away from Sanya Airport), +86 898 88288888. Lunch 11:00-14:00 Dinner 17:30-22:00. Cantonese style cuisine & daily Dim Sum.  
  • Burger King, Yalong Bay La Floret Mall, Phoenix Domestic Airport & Jiefang Lu near walking street.  
  • Ban Kee (Singapore Restaurant) (万记肉骨茶), 110 Tuanjie Lu (团结街110号), +86 8825 2198. Tucked away on the side street next to Wang Hao supermarket - and close to the Hospital on Tuanjie Street. This Singaporean restaurant, offers the best Laksa in Sanya and other hawker center favorites.  
  • Casa Mia (卡萨米亚意大利餐厅), No 88 Sanyawan Rd (Lansehaian) (Sanya Wan), +86 898 88889828. Authentic Italian cuisine.  
  • 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.  
  • Dolphin Sports Bar & Grill, 99 Yuya Road, Dadonghai (Tell the cab driver to drop you off 100 meters before Summer Mall in dadonghai, and look across the main road, between a couple of Russian retails... you'll spot it.), (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.  
  • Double Happiness Restaurant, Jinru Mall, Hexi Lu (6fl, 100 Hexi Lu, Sanya City), +86 898 8836v9199. Cantonese Hong Kong based chain of restaurants, with another branch close to No1 market, called Pleasant. Very popular with Hong Kong expats in Sanya, has private rooms but beware people smoke inside the restaurant. Reasonable prices.  
  • Gourmand Restaurant (三亚半山半岛帆船港), Serenity Coast Marina (Yacht Club), +86 898 38217100, 11:30-14:30 Dinner 18:00-22:00. Malaysian & French Expensive.  
  • Hutaoli (胡桃里), Behind Pizza Hut (Visun Mall, Yuya Lu) 三亚河西路 & 榆亚路. 11:00-14:00/17:00-21:00. Great atmosphere. Within walking distance of Bar street on Yuya Lu.  
  • 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.
  • Mee & Mian (Mandarin Oriental Hotel Sanya), 11:30 – 5:30 pm. Casual Noodle Bar.  
  • Park Hyatt Sanya Sunny Bay (三亚太阳湾柏悦酒店), 5 Sunny Bay Road, Sunny Bay Yalong Bay National Reserve District. Hyatt's are famous for their restaurants and food and beverage concepts, particularly in Asia. The Park Hyatt Sanya being their most luxurious brand doesn't disappoint. Top score in Sanya.  
  • Pizza Corner, Herton Hotel at Dadonghai Beach-1st floor (Opposite Resort and Time Hotel), +86 898 88677995, 10:30 AM-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.  
  • Wanjunlong, Yuejin Street #86 (Corner of Shengli Road and Yuejin Street), 0898-88265889. Close when the 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.
Hainan is famous for Wenchang chicken or Hainanese Chicken Rice, only chickens raised in Hainan province can genuinely be called as such. The accruements are usually: ginger, vinegar, soy sauce all served along a small portion of rice and chicken broth. Hainan grows a great variety of tropical fruits. Mango, betel nut, pineapples, durian, jackfruit, mangosteen, lychee are very popular. 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. Prices increase as you get closer. Note that fruit price is fluctuating and cheating on its weight is common. Visit any big and well-established chain supermarkets such as Wan Hao or Nan Guo in the downtown of Sanya along Jiefang Road to check the current market price.

Street food
A bit after sunset and well into 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 a fixed price but try to negotiate a bit for the seafood barbecue. The food and beer flow until the sun comes up.
Another popular after-hours barbecue place is at Wan Jun Long. Not as popular as Shangping Road, but somewhere different.
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 11 AM.
  • Aunt Milk Tea, 100 Hexi Lu (Jinrun Mall). 0900-2230. Cheap.  
  • Cafe Bene, (International Shopping Mall, Jiefang Lu, same building as Wang Hao and KFC (across the road from #1 Market)), +86 898 31080211, 10:00-23:00. Korean franchise cafe, great waffles.  
  • Bud Cafe (早苗咖啡厅), Shengshixindi Building, Floor 11, intersection Jixiang Road / Sanyawan Road, Sanya Bay, 089838269388. Relaxed Coffeeshop (Taiwanese owned) with a variety of coffee drinks and some food (didn't try the food), Reggae music, etc. Nice balcony with a great view. Good internet connection, good to hang out and surf.  
  • Coffee World - Pizza Corner, Located on the 1st floor of the Herton Hotel opposite Intime Resort (Dadonghai), +86 88677995. 10:30-2300. The restaurant delivers to customers within a 5-mile radius of Dadonghai Beach. English is spoken. Moderate price.  
  • The Day, Tuanjie Street. 1330-22:30.
  • M-Floral Cafe Sanya, Yuya Lu, Times Coast Bar Street (Bar Street).
  • Starbucks (星巴克), Dadonghai, Jinrun Plaza, Phoenix Domestic Airport Departure lounge & Yalong Bay, 8:30-22:30. The most recognized international coffee brand in the world has opened in three locations.   
  • LAN 43, (20 Tuanjie Lu, Sanya). Beers, imported and on tap, great coffee!! 

Shopping in Sanya, China

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... 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 heart's content. You need proof of a plane ticket leaving Hainan and you must pick up your goods at the airport when you leave. 
  • Summer Mall ((夏日百货), Xiari Baihuo), Dadong Hai, Yuya Lu, +86 898 88223333, 10:00 am-11:00 pm.  
  • No1 Harbour City Mall (Pineapple Mall), No.168 Yuya Rd, Dadong Hai. New mall, with Macdonalds, Coffee Time, Supermarket, bookstore, hair salon, many Korean restaurants and more.  
  • Mingzhu Square (明珠广场), No 668 Jiefang 3rd Rd, Sanya.  
  • Wang Hao Supermarket, (1 JieFang Lu & Walking Street).  
  • Watsons (屈臣氏), Various locations in Sanya along Jiefeng Lu & Yuya Lu.

Safety in Sanya, China

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

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 with their showers and beach chairs, are NOT free.

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.

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 through 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 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.

Language spoken in Sanya, China

Chinese is the official language. English is understood in tourist places.


4:14 pm
May 28, 2022


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