Perched on the south coast of Hainan Island, Sanya is China’s most popular resort city. Attracting both locals and international holidaymakers alike, the city boasts golden sand, balmy weather and swaying coconut palms. Locals have proudly nicknames Sanya the “Hawaii of China”, and it’s easy to see why.
In Sanya Bay, a postcard-perfect stretch of sand is fringed by high rise hotels on one side, and the dazzling South China Sea on the other. Upscale Yalong Bay is home to some of Asia’s top luxury resorts, while Dàdōnghǎi Bay is a firm family favourite. Just off the coast is the gorgeous Wuzhizhou Island. Home to colourful coral reefs, great surf and a string of water sports, it’s an ideal base for those seeking a quieter atmosphere.
Officially, Sanya occupies a 40 kilometre stretch of coastline on Hainan Island. Most holidaymakers arrive via Sanya Phoenix International Airport, with the drive to Sanya Bay taking around 30 minutes. Local buses are a great way to beach hop, though others prefer taxis or private drivers. For a scenic tour, cycling is a fantastic option.
Beyond sun, sand and salt water, Sanya also has its fair share of cultural attractions. Rising from an artificial island, the city's sprawling Nanshan Temple complex is anchored by a 108 metre high Guan Yin bronze statue. It’s impossible to miss, and was built in 1988 to celebrate two thousand years of Buddhism in China.