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Sanya

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Sanya is a resort boomtown, with over 100 luxury hotels in just a few decades. It's known as the Hawaii of Sanya. Outrageously good food, like varietal coconuts, tropical fruit, and seafood are the jewel on Sanya's crown. Several beaches with fun watersports can keep a person occupied between meals.
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Sanyawan Rd, Tianya Qu, Sanya Shi, Hainan Sheng, China
At around 25 kilometers, this public beach is a must-visit, though be warned that it gets very crowded and is therefore not the best spot for water sports. In my opinion, it's much better to visit at night, when locals dance on the beach and you...
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Poets, history buffs, and sightseers all rejoice at Tianya Haijiao, the End of the World. This is widely considered the most famous spot in all of Sanya. From the Song to Qing Dynasties, officials who fell out of favor with the Emperor were...
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Haitang, Sanya, Hainan, China
The Miao minority village is run by the local Miao people, a culture completely distinct from the Hans, or what most of us think of as "China." Also known as Hmong people, they come from the mountainous region that spans Vietnam, Laos, and China....
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Dadong Sea, Jiyang, Sanya, China
For me, this area is super interesting because everything is in Russian. I heard that this is the district where Russians come to escape their brutal winter. The beach is nothing special in terms of water sports, but is great for Russian food and...
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225 National Rd, Tianya Qu, Sanya Shi, Hainan Sheng, China
Sanya Tropical Ocean World is like a less flashy version of Sea World in the United States—with a Chinese twist. I like the aquarium area the best, because it's a peaceful respite from the hot outdoor weather. It's a great place to spend an...
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Jiyang, Sanya, Hainan, China
Have you ever wanted to travel in a submarine? How about walking underwater like Jacques Cousteau? Then a visit to Yalong Bay Undersea World is a must. You can ride an Australian "semi-submersible vessel." It goes as deep as 1.7 meters, and you...
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155 Xinjian St, Tianya Qu, Sanya Shi, Hainan Sheng, China, 572000
I think there's no better way to plunge into Chinese daily life than visiting a wet market, although foreigners might find it a raw and visceral experience. Sanya's market is better than most, for the fresh seafood. There are only a few creatures...
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San Ya He Xi Lu, Tianya Qu, Sanya Shi, Hainan Sheng, China
Sanya is a wonderful place to go cycling. It's a destination spot for a lot of pro riders, who whiz around town. Most of the bike shops are located at Sanya Hexi Lu/Sanya River East Road, though many of the hostels also have bike rental. Expect to...
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668 Jiefang Rd, Tianya Qu, Sanya Shi, Hainan Sheng, China, 572000
There is a weekly English corner in Sanya. The participants are often young people–usually college students–and other people interested in brushing up their English and making a cultural exchange. It's a great place to meet new people, and chances...
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Yazhou, Sanya, China
To be completely honest, the Sanya Nanshan Temple is a bit of a tourist trap. Take the bus and dash in a for a quick photo of the sea goddess statue. All is not lost. The surrounding area is gorgeous, and well worth a stroll around to watch the...
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I'm a sucker for odd and overly-specific attractions, so the Sanya Orchid Park is a must-visit place for me. It has over 2 million orchids! More than 3,000 species, including all the really rare ones. Actually, I don't know anything about orchids,...
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Wuzhizhou, Haitang, Sanya, China
This island is a must-visit. There are many sights to check out, including: the Goddess Matsu Temple, the Lover's Bridge, Sunrise Rock, the Gold Turtle Stretching toward the Sea, Lover's Island, and the Life Well. Sunrise Rock in particular is an...
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China, Hainan, Sanya Shi, Jiyang Qu, 鹿岭路
At the top of one of the tallest mountains in Sanya—which is more like a big hill, really—stands a statue of a deer looking over its back. The legend says that a boy was hunting the deer when suddenly the deer glanced back, and magically turned...
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Jiyang, Sanya, Hainan, China
I'm not an avid golfer, so I can't pretend to say how good or not good this golf course is. It's a beautiful course, jutting into the sea, and I've heard that it's very reasonable cost to golf there. There's a large clubhouse with gym and...
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Yalong Bay, Jiyang, Sanya, China
Yalong Bay translates as Asia Dragon Bay, and is a 7.5-kilometer beach area. A lot of people describe it as "Hawaii-like," with gorgeous scenery, coral reefs, and crystal-clear water. The bay has numerous recreational facilities, hosts major...
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China, Hainan, Sanya Shi, Jiyang Qu, Luhuitou Rd, 河东区鹿回头半岛
Sanya is home to a world-class yacht marina, which hosts frequent yacht racing competitions such as the Volvo Ocean Race. The yachts are astonishing: incredibly expensive and simply beautiful. You can ask at your hotel or consult a Sanya event...
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China, Hainan, Sanya Shi, Yazhou Qu, 崖城
In Mandarin this area is called Daxiao Dongtian, or "Big and Small Dongtian." A dongtian is a fairyland. In Taoist culture, there are 10 big dongtians, 36 small dongtians, and 72 blessed fairylands. This is Sanya's most ancient attraction, and is...
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Jianfengzhen, Ledong, Hainan, China, 572542
About an hour or two west of Sanya city is Jianfeng mountain, a national park reserve of beautiful rain forest, clean air, and amazing wildlife. It's around a two-hour hike up to the peak (or you can try to catch a motorbike or car); once there,...
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Mei Li Zhi Guan, Jiyang Qu, Sanya Shi, Hainan Sheng, China, 572000
This is a beautiful theater, built to host various pageants, like Miss World. The acoustics, lighting, sound system, and decoration are all state of the art. The layout is unique as it allows performers to enter the stage on both sides of the...
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Jiyang, Sanya, Hainan, China, 572000
In recent years, Sanya's native bird population has become dangerously threatened, especially the Hainan Egret. Thanks to the work at this reserve, more than a thousand egrets call this place home. Though there is very little English, this is a...
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Hong Qi Jie, Tianya Qu, Sanya Shi, Hainan Sheng, China, 572000
There's a different set of rules when you go on a beach vacation. For example, it's not just allowed, but practically mandatory to buy a tacky $5 shirt in a colorful flower print. An oversized hat to protect from the sun and some shell jewelry can...
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Sanya, China
When souvenir shopping in Sanya, try to buy something from the older men and women who peddle trinkets down by the beach. Chances are that this is their only source of income, and they may have even collected the shells and strung them together...
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1 Haiyun Rd, Jiyang Qu, Sanya Shi, Hainan Sheng, China
Many of us have those overwhelming moments while traveling when we say, "That's it! I can't deal!" We run off to hide somewhere familiar for an hour, to recover from the culture shock. If this happens to you, Summer Mall is your best bet. It's a...
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Tianya, Sanya, Hainan, China, 572000
Sanya is well-known for its fresh, tropical fruit. Back in Minnesota, you'd pay $5 for a flavorless mango; who knows how many weeks old? In Sanya, you can buy them for a dollar a pound, and eat them until you get sick. When I was at university in...
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518 Jiefang Rd, Tianya Qu, Sanya Shi, Hainan Sheng, China, 572000
Sanya is known for its pearls. They are considered to be the highest quality in all of China, so this is not the place to go discount shopping: Pearls at GN Pearl, a reputable pearl shop, cost 500–15,000RMB. If you are just looking for something...
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33 Hairun Rd, Tianya Qu, Sanya Shi, Hainan Sheng, China, 572000
Did you know that Chiarman Mao's coffin was built with Hainan crystal? So it's no surprise that Sanya is famous for its crystals. Everyone here also says that crystals have health benefits, if you believe in that sort of thing. Since convincing...
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88 Sanyawan Rd, Tianya Qu, Sanya Shi, Hainan Sheng, China, 572000
Like many tourist destinations, Sanya can be a tricky place to find good food at reasonable prices. It's not surprising that many people end up eating at Casa Mia several times over their visits. The owner, Benny, takes great care to provide good...
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China, Hainan, Sanya Shi, Jiyang Qu, Luhuitou Rd, 河东区鹿回头半岛
For an excellent, five-star restaurant that is not in a hotel, Gourmand is a great choice. They offer Malaysian and French nouvelle cuisine at the yacht club. The food is great, but the view over the marina is the real draw. Catch a sunset here...
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The Mandarin Oriental was an early arrival to the Sanya beach boom, and their Sunset Bar is a fantastic place to have drinks in the evening. It has a huge open space with a stunning view of Dadong Bay; it really is the best place in town for...
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Yuya Rd, Jiyang Qu, Sanya Shi, Hainan Sheng, China, 572000
Other than filling up on home comforts, it can be a shrewd move to check out the local expat hangout in a town like Sanya. Oftentimes, friendly expats can give great tips and advice on the best places to visit–and what to watch out for. Dolphin is...
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466 Jiefang Rd, Tianya Qu, Sanya Shi, Hainan Sheng, China, 572000
For me, checking out locally produced tea is a must, wherever I am in China. It's nice to mentally slow down and sit for an hour at the tea merchant's hand-carved tea table, sampling a variety of tea. Hainan Specialty Tea Market is a good spot to...
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China, Hainan Sheng, Sanya Shi, Jiyang Qu, Yuya Rd, 2号市委对面 邮政编码: 572000
It's not surprising that a holiday spot like Sanya has a rowdy bar street. Times Coast blasts classic rock and Lady Gaga day and night, and locals and visitors dance on the bars on every night of the week. Rainbow Bar and Grill is my favorite, but...
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Xin Min Jie, Tianya Qu, Sanya Shi, Hainan Sheng, China, 572000
Let me preface this by saying this is a tough restaurant to go to if you don't speak Chinese, though you can probably get by with a lot of pointing and smiling. This restaurant is #147, at the end of Xinmin Street. The staff will offer to take you...
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China, Hainan, Sanya Shi, Jiyang Qu, 海花路19 邮政编码: 572000
DaDongHai is a haven for Russians escaping their brutal winter, so it's no surprise to find a great Russian restaurant in Sanya. There's very solid Russian food and authentic vodka. Fried dumplings, borscht, and chicken soup with meatballs are all...
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Nanbianhai Rd, Tianya Qu, Sanya Shi, Hainan Sheng, China, 572000
Hainan's famous chicken dish is known throughout China, Singapore, and Malaysia. It is actually a national dish in Singapore—but the original is from Sanya. The dish is known as "Wenchang chicken," which is also the name of the chicken itself. It...
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You can find qingbuliang, a Hainanese dessert, served in many hole-in-the-wall shops down by the beach. Traditionally, it's a cold "soup" made with fresh fruit and coconut milk. Usually, dessert stands in Sanya will have a variety of refreshing...
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Tielu N Rd, Tianya Qu, Sanya Shi, Hainan Sheng, China, 572000
Skip the cereal and eat a local breakfast. Hainan's breakfast noodles are served at room temperature with a variety of toppings, such as tahini and roasted peanuts, or meat gravy with shredded bamboo. A Hui Restaurant is a good bet to try these...
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109 Yuya Rd, Jiyang Qu, Sanya Shi, Hainan Sheng, China
This restaurant serves Hainanese food highlighting seafood caught fresh that day. They put on a crazy dance show with the meal, which is advertised as "helping customers can appreciate the song and dance with ethnic characteristics of Hainan".
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Sanya, China
I love alcoholic drinks that taste like juice, even though they can be deceptively strong! Biangjiu, known as the Li minority's version of Maotai, is kind of like sake. It's fragrant, light, and mellow, with only 15% alcohol, and plays an...
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China, Hainan, Sanya Shi, Tianya Qu, 市三亚湾路
For 22 kilometers, this path leads down a red road, guarded by tall coconut trees. Wind blows up from Sanya Bay, blowing at wedding dresses as brides pose for their wedding photos. Sit and watch the sunset, then perhaps join the aunties as they...
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Jiyang, Sanya, China
I really liked stopping in this museum. It's a fun place, especially to take kids. Even if you only spend a half-hour or so there, make sure to see the world's largest shell (supposedly). The gift shop is a great place to buy inexpensive shells...