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If you're going to Sanya City on Hainan Island, China then you'll have a better trip if you have some idea of ...

"Where to go, How to get there and, Where you'll save some cash"

The Miss World 2007 competition was held on this part of Hainan Island.

Maybe that will invoke some mental pictures. If it's good enough to sport bikinis then you can be sure that ou'll be comfortaable in shorts and a shirt.

They say Sanya city is China's version of Hawaii.

It boasts long stretches of beach, palm trees that line the roads and massive rain forests.

Walk down to the beach and you'll see jet skis in the water and people hanging from parachutes being hauled behind speed boats.

I thought it looked like Hawaii first time I saw it but there are still some great beaches that aren't yet too overcrowded.

Where is Sanya China?

sanya map

Sanya city is located on the tip of Hainan island, which is located in the Southern most point of China. If you swim directly West from Hong Kong then you'll eventually hit Hainan Island.

Hainan Island is part of a great chain of Islands that include the Spratly and Paracel islands. But Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also claim the Spratly and Parcel islands as their own.

Should be interesting to see how that ends!

This city enjoys tropical weather much like that of the Hawaiian Islands.

Do I need a Visa?

A single-entry visa to China is also valid for Hainan Island. If you get an entry visa to China and entered China in Beijing, you could fly to Sanya without need of a visa and then you could travel back into China on the same single entry visa.

That's because you'll never actually leave or re-enter China.

Just remember that the Visa you got to enter Hong Kong is not a Chinese visa. You'll have to apply for and wait to receive our Chinese visa. This can all be done in Hong Kong.

Better yet would be to obtain your Chinese Visa in your home country. That way there is no 3-5 day wait in Hong Kong.

Read the Hong Kong Travel page if you plan on getting a visa for China while you are in Hong Kong.

How to Get There

  • Flights into Sanya

You can get on a plane and fly direct from Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Beijing or X'ian into Sanya, China.

The airport is not far from the center of the city. Flying is probably the most hassle-free way to get here. It is also mandatory for those on a tight schedule.

Fares vary significantly depending on the season. You may be able to save money by landing in Haikou City instead of this city. This is because Haikou has a larger International airport and thus more frequent flights in and out of Haikou.

Just keep in mind that the price of the bus ticket from Haikou city plus any overnight lodging can exceed the difference. But it is a beautiful bus ride and there is lots to see along the way.

The best place I know to find great deals on flight ticket is at

  • Train to Sanya city, Hainan Island

The way to see it all is by train. This city can be reached directly by train from Beijing (35 hours), Shanghai (36 hours) and Guangzhou (15 hours).

But don't be turned off by the long hours on the train. You'll get to see the real remote countryside of China and if you have the time, it gives you a real taste of China that you can't get from just flying from city to city.

But I would never take the train all the way from Beijing without a sleeper bed.

Once the train arrives on the Chinese coast, it drives right on to the ferry. The ferry then sails around the West Coast of Hainan Island to Sanya city.

Then the train drives off the ferry and directly to the new train station.

The new train station is pretty far from downtown. It's about as far away as the airport so a taxi to Dadong Bay, the most popular tourist area, is approximately ¥40RMB - ¥50RMB.

The public bus will cost ¥2RMB. Lines 2 and 4 lead through the city proper and continue to (and beyond) Dadong Bay.

Areas of Sanya City Worth a Visit

sanya beach

This city can be divided into four distinct areas of note for the budget tourist. They are Bay Beach, Downtown, Dadong Hai, and Yalong Bay.

Each has both good and bad points so it is best to choose which best suits your likes and the length of your stay in the City.

  • Dadong Bay

Dadong Bay is the most popular tourist area in the entire city. You'll find the most budget accommodations available at the lowest costs, but it is a backpacker hotspot.

I like backpackers. Not just because I am one of them but because they are usually the only ones that truly travel and venture. They are usually unpretentious and full of good advice.

Maybe I'm prejudice!

Some of the best hotels are located in alley ways just off of Sanya's Beach Street. You might have to climb a lot of stairs to get to the rooms (Elevators are Scarce) on the top floors but the views are worth the hike.

Some places even have patios on the roof!

Check out TripAdvisor for hotels in the City.


See our Reviews of the best Budget Hotels on all of Hainan Island

  • Sanya Bay Beach

This is the main beach which runs about 25 kilometers in length. It isn't a place for doing any quality swimming because the water and beach are pretty polluted compared to others.

It's a great place to go looking for seafood restaurants and good budget hotels as well as the very expensive.

  • Sanya City

This city is jam packed with aggressive souvenir shops during the day but at night the street grills come out, serving up some pretty delicious Chinese food.

On the other side of the river you'll find a less touristy and cheaper part of town.

  • Dadong Hai

The Dadonghai area is a good balance of both development and natural beauty. The area just behind Dadonghai is more expensive than in the city but the restaurants are better and the beach is gorgeous.

Gorgeous so long as you can look past the crowds and pollution that are a result of mass tourism. Especially from Hong Kong.

The city may boast better shopping than Dadonghai but little else.

  • Yalong Bay

Yalong Bay is located to the Southeast of the City. The beach At Yalong Bay is over 7Km long and is sometimes called Yalong Bay National Resort.

Our definition of Yalong Bay is beautiful, sandy, crowded and vendor filled with a 5 star hotel (St. Regis) right on the sand.

There are very few restaurants around Yalong Bay. The beach in Yalong Bay is longer than in Dadonghai but the water is colder and they got Jet Skis flying through the water everywhere in Yalong Bay. All the 4 star hotels in Yalong Bay let out the jet skis to their guests.

Choose the area that you most want to stay and then start looking for a hotel in that area.

There are good and bad hotels everywhere but we have made a list of the ones that have proven to offer the most for the money.

Get more information on available Hainan Hotels.

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