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Sanya is a popular tourist destination in southeast China, known for its tropical climate. It is the training site of the national Chinese beach volleyball team and is a favorite destination spot of many retirees from northeast China, leading to its nickname, “China’s Florida.” This is a perfect part of China to visit if you’re looking for a relaxing, chilled-out beach holiday.

Tours and activities in Sanya

Sanya is an ideal destination for a slow, relaxing vacation, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty to see and do! Consider taking an organized tour of some of the best locations in the city, or have a local guide who can give you historical background, advise on the best places for gorgeous, fresh seafood and help you book tickets for attractions.

Best time to visit

Known as the “Oriental Hawaii,” Sanya has great warm weather all year round. While you can visit any time of the year and enjoy a tropical climate, the best months for visiting would be between November and April, as outside of those times there is a chance of occasional monsoons.

Top Attractions in Sanya

Explore the limitless fun and never-ending natural beauty of the city with a twist of cultural heritage and erotic climate.The city of Sanya is a mini package to heaven.

Tianyo Haijiao
1. Tianyo Haijiao
Landmarks and icons

Tianyo Haijiao is the most popular spot in Sanya. An area of stunning natural beauty, many young couples travel here to marry. A gorgeous white-sand beach and crystal-blue waters await you here, and you can see carved stones telling the tales of legends and myths from history.

Wuzhizhou Island
2. Wuzhizhou Island
Landmarks and icons

Wuzhizhou Island is another beachfront area with many places of interest. You can visit Sunrise Rock, Lover’s Bridge and the Life Well, and there are also opportunities for water sports such as surfing, sailing and canoeing.

Buddhism Culture Park
3. Buddhism Culture Park
Museums, galleries and exhibitions

Buddhism Culture Park is part of the Nanshan Tourism Zone, and was developed to tell the story of Buddhist culture to visitors. It includes the South Mountain Temple and the statue of the Kwan-yin Bodhisattva. 

Hainan Custom Culture Park
4. Hainan Custom Culture Park
Museums, galleries and exhibitions

Hainan Custom Culture Park allows you to see local customs and traditions delivered in an authentic style .

Nanshan Temple
5. Nanshan Temple
Museums, galleries and exhibitions

Nanshan Temple contains replicas from the Tang Dynasty and an incredible 3.8-meter high statue of the Golden jade Kwan-yin, covered in gold, silver, diamonds and other jewels. You’ll also find information on Buddhist history in the area and plenty of historical paintings, statues and artefacts.

Binglanggu Li & Mao Cultural Heritage Park
6. Binglanggu Li & Mao Cultural Heritage Park
Museums, galleries and exhibitions

Binglanggu Li & Mao Cultural Heritage Park is a perfect opportunity to see local crafts and traditions such as embroidery spinning, weaving and dyeing. You can also visit Ocean Culture Hall on Boundary Island for many salvaged porcelains and exhibitions of natural maritime history.

Boundary Island
7. Boundary Island
Nature, parks and outdoors

Boundary Island is a beautiful untouched island with a soft beach and bright blue water. It sits on the boundary between two climates, one wetter, the other drier, meaning the two ends of the island can have completely different weathers. Incredible tropical scenery can be found here including coral reefs, and there is also entertainment close by.

Asian Dragon Bay
8. Asian Dragon Bay
Nature, parks and outdoors

Asian Dragon Bay is another outstanding natural site, with tropical scenery, crystal-clear ocean and coral reefs filled with tropical fish.

Monkey Island
9. Monkey Island
Things to do with kids

Monkey Island is China’s only nature reserve for the protected macaque monkeys. With rope bridges that you can cross, beautiful birdsong surrounding you and stunning tropical landscapes at every direction, you can watch the entertaining macaques at play. Home to over 2,000 monkeys, the island is a perfect natural reserve with performances and informative guides.

Shopping in Sanya
10. Shopping in Sanya
Leisure and shopping

Shopping in Sanya is, like much else about the area, heavily influenced by the sea. You can buy beautiful decorations and artworks made from shells, as well as seawater pearl and crystal jewellery. Tropical fruits are also very easy to find including guava, mangosteen and jackfruit.

Jiefang Road
11. Jiefang Road
Leisure and shopping

Local shopping centres include Jiefang Road which has many department stores and a variety of restaurants, including Western chains. Hongqi Street, meanwhile, is home to more affordable and discounted items as well as the First Market, where you can buy local produce and seafood.

Water sports in Sanya
12. Water sports in Sanya
Sports and leisure

Sanya is the perfect place for water sports – you can go diving with or without air tanks to different depths depending on your taste and stamina, and night diving is particularly mysterious and captivating. You can also go fishing, take a sightseeing boat, take in a game of golf or just enjoy the clubs and pubs of Sanya’s nightlife.

Getting here and getting around

Sanya’s airport is the Phoenix International Airport, which services flights to over 80 domestic and international cities. An airport shuttle bus and taxis will convey you from the airport direct to the downtown of the city, and long-distance buses can take you from Sanya to many other parts of mainland China.

Sanya Railway Station is close to the airport and allows for travel across the city and to other destinations. You can connect from there to Yuehai Railway which runs cross-sea with high-speed rail options available.

Getting around the city is very easy, with plenty of city bus routes. Most major attractions are available by the local bus service, and you’ll also find plenty of specific tourist minibusses. Double-decker buses are available for sightseeing for as little as ¥8 per person.

Taxis are plentiful too, and they are efficient and cheap. It’s a good idea to negotiate a flat fare if you’re traveling a long distance, but flag-down rates start at ¥11.

Eating and drinking

Sanya has a reputation for delicious, pollution-free seafood, including sea urchins, shrimps, crab, and fresh fish. It’s no surprise, then, that the majority of local dishes use seafood as a base. Dabianlu is a popular style of cooking seafood, similar to a hotpot, while fried dishes are common too. Lailiao shrimp is quick-fried with chili and is particularly delicious.

Chunyuan Seafood Stall is popular with both locals and tourists, and stall-keepers are friendly and informative about what they sell. Mingji Stall is a great place for Lailiao shrimp as well as seafood gruel. For a more upmarket dining experience, try Dadonghai Coconut Seafood City.

Getting a good night's sleep

Sanya Marriott Yalong Bay Resort & Spa is a perfect place to spend your stay if you’re looking for luxury. With the ocean and mountains as a backdrop, this hotel also has 2 outdoor pools, yoga lessons, and pampering sessions, with beautiful rooms.

A tremendous mid-priced hotel is Bao Hong Hotel Sanya, with an outdoor pool and private beach, gorgeous rooms and stunning views over the city from private balconies.

If you’re traveling on a budget, the Universe Traveller International Youth Hostel has a relaxing garden, private rooms and countless activities on-site, such as hiking, windsurfing, and snorkeling.