Sanya features long summers and short warm winters, making this a beautiful city to visit anytime of the year. A tropical paradise, complete with fresh seafood, white sand beaches and more coconuts than you can count.

Being one of the furthest cities from the capital of China, it has long been known in Chinese as ‘The End of the World.’ It borders Lingshui county in the east, Ledong county in the west, Baoting county in the north and the South China sea on the south, and has a resident population of about 685,000.

The city features 19 bays and ports, the main bays are Haitang Bay, Sanya Bay, Dadonghai Bay, Yalong Bay and Moon Bay. Sanya also has 40 islands, the largest of which, West Island, is just over 2 km across.

Top 5 Attractions in Sanya

  1. Tianya Haijiao

    Tianya Haijiao, or “Edges of the heaven, corners of the sea”, is about 23 kilometers from the city center of Sanya, at the base of the Xiamaling mountain in Tianya town.

    Two massive rocks that stand over 10 meters in height and about 60 meters in length catch the visitor’s eyes as they enter this area. Past the rocks is the striking scenery of the South China Sea blending into the clear blue sky.

    The large stones have been the inspiration of many famous Chinese poems, and is one of the most popular sites in Sanya. There is a belief that if newlyweds visit this site during their honeymoon, they will be together for all time.

    Entrance fee: CNY 89
    Opening Hours: 8:00-18:00

  2. Nanshan Temple

    Nanshan temple is the most famous Buddhist temple in Hainan province. It is about 40 kilometers west of Sanya city, in the Nanshan Culture Tourism Zone. Covering an area of 40,000 square meters, this beautiful temple is surrounded by mountains and features a view of the sea, while also showcasing replicas of Tang Dynasty architecture.

    The entrance to the temple is called the Renwang Gate, and is guarded by two figures of Buddha, with seven more Buddhist figures enshrined in the Doushuai Adytum. The majestic Maitreva Buddha greets you when you enter the main hall, with two Bodhisattvas on either side.

    Entrance Fee: CNY 150
    Opening Hours: 08:30-17:00

  3. Luhuitou Park

    Located on a hill at the southern end of the city, Luhuitou Park is a tranquil destination that offers a panoramic view of the city as well as the South China Sea. Explore this park’s manicured grounds and you will come across an impressive 12 metre high statue, which tells the romantic legend of a brave and handsome hunter who hunted a mountain deer that magically transformed into a beautiful young girl.

    Meandering pathways across the park lead visitors to strategic spots like the Halley’s comet observation station, the red Guanghai kiosk, view of the Lover’s Island, Monkey Mountain, Deer House, Turtle’s Heaven, the Immortal Pond and the Hut of Li People.

    Be sure to try the red coconut, as it is considered to be a delicacy of this area. At the base of the park’s hill is Luhuitou Bay, where visitors can view sea life, such as sea cucumber, sea fans, coral, jellyfish, and more.

    Entrance Fee: CNY 45
    Opening Hours: 07:00-22:00

  4. Guanyin of the South Sea of Sanya

    The Guanyin of the South Sea of Sanya is a statue of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara. This magnificent statue is 354 feet tall and it is the fourth tallest statue of its kind in the world. It stands on the south coast of Hainan, near the Nanshan Culture Centerof Sanya.

    Bodhisattava or Guanyin is depicted as a trinity representing wisdom, peace, and mercy. The serene statue has one face towards China, while the other two look out to the South China Sea, conveying the message that the blessings and protection of Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara on China and the rest of the world. Visitors can see Guanyin having a sutra in the left hand, symbolizing wisdom; the left side shows Bodhisattava with crossed palms holding a string of beads symbolizing peace; and the third side is shown holding a lotus, symbolizing purity.

    The statue took six years to build and it was enshrined on April 24th, 2005, under the guidance of 108 Buddhist monks from Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macao and mainland China.

  5. Wuzhizhou Island

    Located about 30 km north-east of Sanya, Wuzhizhou is located in picturesque Haitang Bay.

    Wuzhizhou Island, with water visibility up to 27 metres, attracts numerous tourists who come to enjoy the pristine water and diving. Originally the island was used as a home for a Qing-era temple built for the originator of Chinese characters, Cang Jie. Later the temple was converted to worship seafarer Goddess Mazu (Matsu), and then as a strategic defense zone. In the 90s, as Hainan’s tourism sector began to develop, the site was converted into a major tourist attraction.

    The easiest way to get to the island is to take a taxi to the Wuzhizhou wharf and from there the ferry will transfer you to the island. There are ferries every 20 minutes with the last ferry departing the island is at 18:00.

    If a day-trip isn’t enough, the island features a number of rooms for rent.

Shopping in Sanya

Sanya is surrounded by pristine waters and visitors will find beautiful decorative handicrafts made from sea shells. While coral made into souvenirs can be commonly found in boutiques around the city, it is not advisable to buy them as they are endangered and illegal. Likewise any handicrafts containing turtle shell, or made from sea turtles. Please shop responsibly.

Browse through the boutiques selling seawater pearls, cultivated pearls and traditional crystals of Sanya. Most of these stores sell pearl powder, an ancient beauty care that is said to help women maintain their youthful appearance. If your tastes lean towards the tacky, tropical “Hawaiian-style” clothing featuring bright coconut trees, sea and sun prints. Local shopping centers are available in Dadonghai and Tianya Haijiao, but the main shopping areas are in the city on Jiefang Road and Hongqi Street.

Food & Drink in Sanya

Featuring some of the freshest seafood in the region; visitors can taste fresh lobster, oysters, or prawns served in fine dining restaurants, seaside hotels, or the charming boat restaurants. Visitors to Sanya can also try exotic and rare seafood like abalone, sea cucumbers, or sea urchins.

Qīng bǔ liáng is a popular local street food. The cold, sweet soup is perfect after a hot day. Ingredients include barley, mung beans, quail eggs, glutinous rice balls and watermelon served with iced coconut milk or sweetened ice water. Some other famous dishes are Lin Gao ru zhu (Lingao roast suckling pig), yezi fan (coconut rice), teng qiao pai gu (deep fried spare ribs), and Hainan fen (Hainan rice noodles).

Also, if you’re not planning to visit Wenchang, at the northern-end of the island, be sure to try and track down a plate of Wenchang (Hainan) Chicken, which though it doesn’t come from Sanya, does originate in Hainan.

Sanya Transportation

  1. Air

    The Sanya Phoenix International Airport (SYX) is about 20 kilometers on the northwest of this city. There are shuttles and taxi that will take you to the city center or even the railway station that is just under 6 kilometers from the airport. Visitors can fly to over 80 domestic and international airports from Sanya.

  2. Train

    Sanya Railway Station is on Yuxin Road in Jiyang District. Most of the trains are high speed except T201/2. The trains connect Sanya to Haikou, and on to Guangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing.

  3. Long-distance Bus

    The Sanya Bus Station is on Jiefang Er Lu, where visitors will find a number of buses that ply the route between Sanya and Haikou leaving every 20 minutes. Buses can also be caught to the mainland and on to other provinces like Hunan, Guangxi, and Guangdong.

  4. City Bus

    The city bus connects the entire city and several tourist attractions. It takes the route from Dadonghai to Civil Aviation and the ticket fee varies between 1 to 4 RMB depending on your destination.

    Bus No. 2 and No 4 go to Dadonghai via the main bus station and the First Market. Bus No 104, with a frequency of every 15 minutes, covers Tianya Haijiao, Ancient Yazhou City and Nanshan Temple. Tourist mini buses begin from the Western Bus Station and take the road towards Yalong Bay, Tianya Haijiao or Nanshan Temple. There are special double-decker sightseeing buses that let you explore the entire city in about 70 minutes, which run every 10 minutes from Yalong Bay starting from 7:15 am running until 7:00 pm.

Sanya Photos

Lily's dark side by ⓨⓥⓔⓢSanya, Hainan, China by Lex KravetskiThe beautiful sea view in Sanya by allen_bao_DSC4097 by Cenwei.LImpressions of the Pullman Hotel by holliberlin66DSC_3172 by Mita09紅色的祝福 Red wishes / 中國海南三亞 Sanya, Hainan, China / SML.20140506.6D.32060.P1 by See-ming Lee (SML)黎苗族籐藝 Rattan arts by Li and Miao minorities / 中國海南三亞 Sanya, Hainan, China / SML.20140506.6D.32024.P1 by See-ming Lee (SML)
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