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You wouldn't go all the way to China for beaches, but you'll find them - and spectacular ones at that - in the shoreside city of Sanya. Located on a peninsula at the southernmost tip of Hainan Island, Sanya boasts a dazzling white-sand shoreline, bright-blue surf and a colorful underwater world. The visibility of Sanya's South Sea waters and its protected coral reef accounts for its growing popularity as a dive site.Find Cruises Sailing to This Port
Besides its obvious natural beauty, the silvery beach at Tianyá Haijiao is best known for the engraved rocks that sit along its coast, one of which graces the back of the RMB 2 note. According to legend, the rocks form "the edge of the sky and the end of the sea" where Song dynasty officials were exiled in the late 13th century.
Water sports of all kinds abound in Sanya, especially scuba diving, windsurfing and kayaking. A word to the healthwise: be sure to use plenty of sunscreen - the sun can be very intense at this latitude.
Naturally, the best eats in Sanya come straight from the sea, although Hainan, Hunan, Sichuan, Yunan and Guizhou cuisine are all readily available here too. As far as seafood goes, the more exotic the better (sea cucumber, anyone?). The food stalls around Sanya harbor offer an array of fresh ingredients, cooked to order.
Pearls and coral jewelry are the best things to take home from Sanya. Look for the pearl farm in Tianyá Haijiao, a good place to buy Hainan's famous seawater pearls. For the best bargains - and loads of atmosphere - check out the night market at Sanya harbor.
China's legal tender is the renminbi (RMB). The basic unit of RMB is the yuan. One yuan (or kuai) = 10 jiao (or mao). RMB are available in both paper notes and coins. The denominations of paper notes are 100, 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 yuan; 5, 2 and 1 jiao. The denominations of coins are 1 yuan; 5, 2 and 1 jiao.
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Learn more about this port city with these tourist information guides.