Surrounded by mountains and rainforests, Sanya is the southernmost city on Hainan Island. Its warm weather and miles of pristine beaches make it perfect for sun-chasers.
Sanya's history dates back thousands of years. Today, cruise ships grace the port and deliver tourists to a superb, tropical-island getaway.
With almost 30 miles (50km) of coastline, there are multiple beaches to choose from. Dadonghai Beach is located an easy 1.5 miles (3km) from the centre of Sanya. Good facilities, warm waters, and many water sports make this beach popular with locals and tourists alike. Visitors must look out for the endangered Chinese White Dolphins, which have appeared more and more in the area since conservation began in 1993.
Beaches along Yalong Bay are packed with luxury hotels and resorts. Travellers with tighter budgets can stay at hotels farther inland.
While the city's coasts are worth visiting, they're not quite as good as beaches found on nearby islands. The butterfly shaped island of Wuzhizhou is known for its incredible coral reefs, and is a fine choice for scuba divers
Nature lovers may enjoy Nanwan Monkey Island: a reserve for the macaque monkeys. The reserve can be reached by China's longest oversea ropeway, which affords an incredible view over the bay and the surrounding archipelagos.
Nashan Temple is a must-see. Built to commemorate 2000 years of Buddhism in China, it's situated on the southernmost mountain in the country, and comprises a series of Buddhist structures meant to create a quiet atmosphere for reverence and contemplation. The Guanyin of Nansha is undoubtedly the highlight. Built on an artificial island 500m into the sea, the statue of the Bodhisattva Guanyin is over 350ft (108m) tall.
Rainforests surrounding Sanya are easily accessible from just outside the city. The Yalong Bay Tropical Paradise Forest Park offers hikes, tours, and mountaineering expeditions to scenic waterfalls and caves. Alternatively, thrill seekers will enjoy zip-lining and abseiling down some of the mountains.
Sanya's food is historically made using simple seafood and vegetables flavoured with yellow chillies and ginger. Travellers must be sure to try the Dongshan Lamb, Jiaji Duck, and Hele Crab at one of the many top restaurants. For a truly immersive experience, visitors should explore some of Sanya's food markets, such as the First Market next to Hexi Road. Shoppers will find weird and wonderful delicacies, including dried seahorses and snakehead fish.
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