China's Hawaii offers year-round sand, sea and sun

Often described as the Hawaii of China, Sanya is a 40km stretch of aquamarine waters, white sand and lush, rainforested mountains perched on the southernmost tip of Hainan. With year round warm weather, China’s mainlanders flock to the city’s inviting shores to indulge in snorkeling, diving, jet skiing and rainforest hiking.

Sanya Bay is the city’s transport hub, home to the main bus services and the island’s high-speed railway. Dadonghai Bay, about 3 km southeast of Sanya Bay, is where most international travellers stay, and ideal for watersports. Pristine beaches meet luxe international resorts at exclusive Yalong Bay.

When it all gets too warm, travellers head to the world’s largest duty free shopping centre, the Haitang Bay International Shopping Complex, to browse high end brands – and enjoy the air conditioning.

Back to top

Things to do

  • Sanya’s Buddhist soul

    Built in 1998 to commemorate 2000 years of Buddhism in China, Nanshan Temple is the biggest Buddhist site established since the founding of the People’s Republic of China. The centrepiece of the complex is the white, three sided statue of Guan Yin Buddha, perched beside the South China Sea. 

  • Coconut dream walk

    Sanya Bay’s Coconut Tree Dream corridor is a scenic walkway sometimes called 'Asia’s first street'. At sunset, the walkway is especially romantic and is the perfect place to watch the sky turn orange and red and the sun sink into the still, blue water.

  • Picture-perfect coastline

    With turquoise waters surrounded by rainforested hills, Yalong Bay is the beach of your dreams. For those seeking high-end luxury, it’s also the best place to indulge in a stay at one of the many international resorts. Nearby, Sanya Butterfly Valley is worth a visit for the experience of being surrounded by vibrantly coloured butterflies. 

  • Shop ‘til you drop

    To escape the beach   just for a little while  head to the world’s largest duty-free shopping mall, the Haitang Bay International Shopping Complex. This air-conditioned shopping mecca is home to more than 300 international brands including Prada, Rolex, Giorgio Armani and Gucci. 

  • Under the sea

    Butterfly-shaped Wuzhizhou Island lies in Haitang Bay, and as a tropical marine zone is the best place to explore nature above and below the water. There are more than 2700 plant varieties on the island while below the water, coral reefs are rich with conches, sea urchins and tropical fish. 

Back to top

Airport information

Sanya Phoenix International Airport opens in new window (SYX)

Distance to city centre 16km

Taxi A taxi to Sanya Bay takes about 30 minutes and costs around CNY 50-60; to Dadonghai it’s around CNY 60-80.

Train The train to Sanya takes 10 minutes and costs around CNY 8.

Bus Bus line 8 takes around an hour to Yuya Lu and costs around CNY 5.

Shuttle The airport shuttle travels to Dadonghai every hour, and costs around CNY 15.



Back to top

When to go

For sun seekers, Sanya’s climate is near perfect year round with an average annual temperature of 25°C. The mercury peaks in June when temperatures can reach 28°C while summer (May–September) sees the occasional typhoon reach the island. The best time to travel to Sanya is between November and April.

One of Sanya’s biggest festivals is the Tianya Haijiao International Wedding Festival (November–December) when couples gather in Sanya to be married in one huge wedding celebration. Come August (according to the Chinese Lunar Calendar) , the End of the Earth Moon Happy Festival takes place with folk singing, dance and a lantern show. In September according to the Chinese Lunar Calendar, Sanya celebrates its long, average life expectancy with the China Nanshan Longevity Culture Festival.

Back to top

Getting around

Most public transport is centralised in the Sanya city centre. For travel from Sanya to Dadonghai Bay take buses 2 or 8, and from Dadonghai Bay to Yalong Bay, catch bus 15 (45 minutes). Bus fares are around CNY 2-5. A taxi from Sanya to Dadonghai Bay will cost approximately CNY 15-20.

Back to top