Sanya: Beach Break

We had a great little holiday for about a week at Sanya, the Southernmost city in China. It’s on the Island of Hainan, and is further south than Hanoi. It’s a beautiful island, and we needed a little sun and sea after a year of working our arses off teaching.

It’s a tropical place, with coconuts everywhere. The food from the island itself is delicious and unique. Sanya4

It was beautiful and so relaxing. We had no worries except what to eat! For the first six days we stayed at Sanya Backpackers, which is a nice hostel. We sweltered in the tropical heat, but on the third day we walked 12km around the city, trying to get to a mountain park ostensibly close by. We eventually found it and had a nice walking tour of some non-touristy areas.


The beach is great, and despite the constant warnings in Chinese and the signs everywhere saying that swimming is strictly prohibited, very safe. There are occasional riptides (as at most beaches), but it seems that the warnings are more meant for the large numbers of Chinese who are not strong swimmers. People wearing inner tubes and floating along with a clear inability to swim made me a little nervous, but for those who swim well the water is perfectly normal.


Do listen to the lifeguards, though. They are there to help.

There is a great beachfront bar called Surf Circus, run by several transplanted Italians. The staff are super friendly and the beers are cheap. They also have well-prepared and tasty snack foods like pizza and sandwiches. They rarely seemed to close, so drop by for conversation and fun!

We also went to a ‘Hot Spring’ in the area away from the beach. It is not a natural hot spring, but NanTian was nice anyway. There are more than 40 different pools to try out, and many of the pools have Traditional Chinese medicines in them. My personal favourite was the Lemon Pool, followed closely by the Fish pool. Yes, Fish pool.


They come over and eat the dead skin off of you! It was so ticklish as to be painful, but really fun.

Beautiful flowers fall from the trees all the time, and I used them in my hair. 1940s-style!

Hair styled for the heat

At the end of our trip we moved to the Sunshine Intime resort, a Chinese Five-Star hotel down the road nearer to the beach. It is something that we like to do about once or twice a year, to treat ourselves to something we normally couldn’t afford. The room was much bigger and the place was very nice. They even gave us shell keychains as souvenirs with the afternoon turn-down service!

Shell Keychain

It was a great holiday, and I highly recommend Sanya to anyone in the region. Families are definitely welcome at this beach, too! So man sweet little potato heads running around and having a great beach time.

Have you been to Sanya? Where do you go to relax? 

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