Sanya is the second largest city, after Haikou, in Hainan. It is situated on the southern most tip of the island. Central Sanya has a population of around 150,000. If you include the surrounding area the population is more like 400,000. This population includes Han, Hui, Miao, and Li nationalities.
Sanya is the main tourist area on Hainan. You can divide Sanya into 3 areas: Sanya city, Dadonghai Bay, and Yalong Bay.
This is a beautiful semi-private bay and home to the most expensive hotels. The hotels here tend to be 4 and 5 star. Even if you are not staying at one of the posh hotels, it is worth coming to this area and having a stroll around the beautifully landscaped beach front resorts. However there are no restaurants, shops or bars here apart from the hotel ones.
Dadonhai is not as attractive Yalong, but there are many cheaper budget hotels, including a youth hostel. You can get a room in the cheaper hotels for 80 RMB. One advantage of Dadonghai is that there are many restaurants, shops and bars here. There is a bus that runs between Dadonghai and Yalong every 30 minutes. It costs 5 RMB. You can also get a taxi which should cost no more than 35 RMB if you haggle
You can take part in many water activities in Sanya including jet-skiing, sailing, snorkling, paragliding, and scuba diving. The waters around Sanya are very clear and there are coral reefs with many tropical fish and so is a good place for diving. You can do a half hour beginners scuba dive with your own instructor (Chinese speaking) for around 250 RMB. There are also a few companies that do full PADI courses.
- Monkey Island
- Wuzhizhou Island
- Tianya Haijiao
- Luhuitou Peninsula