People enjoying a beach in Sanya, China

Cruise to Sanya, China

Situated on the southern tip of Hainan Island, Sanya is the Hawaii of China. The area's main draw is its beaches: Head to Tianya Haijiao (its name means "Edge of the Sky, End of the Sea"), where you can surf, kayak or hike to waterfalls in the nearby rain forest. Keep an eye out for the engraved rock that appears on China's 2 RMB note. Later, go pearl shopping in town, or explore the Nanshan Cultural Tourist Zone, where you'll find the Buddhist Culture Park — built to commemorate 2,000 years of Buddhism in China, it features 108-meter-high statue of the Guanyin Buddha seated above Nanshan Temple.
National Language Mandarin
Currency Accepted Renminbi (CNY)

Things To Do in Sanya

A lake in the Yanoda rain forest in China

Sanya, China, Yanoda rain forest

Hello Rainforest

Hello Rainforest

Go hiking, ziplining and waterfall viewing in the Yanoda Rainforest. "Yanoda" means "one, two, three" in the local dialect, but it's often used as "hello" to welcome visitors. You'll find a collection of waterfalls in Dream Valley, where you can also trek in streams wearing straw sandals. Rainforest Valley has a wide variety of plants including 30 different kinds of orchids. Hop on the two-minute zip line to see a world of green streaming by.

Elephant statues at the Romantic Park in Sanya, China

Sanya, China, Elephant sculptures at the Romantic Park

Cultural Romance

Cultural Romance

Explore Sanya Romance Park, a collection of themed spots — there's even a snow park — and cultural attractions celebrating local cultures such as the Li and Miao peoples. You'll be amazed at the costumes, acrobatics and technical staging of the shows, even if your Mandarin isn't strong enough to catch all the nuances of the history. Look for the animal sculptures throughout.

A statue of Quan Yin on the coast of Sanya, China

Sanya, China, Quan Yin statue

Buddhism by the Sea

About 25 miles from Sanya, you can find the Nanshan Temple and Buddhism Cultural Zone. It features a 354-foot tall statue of Guanyin, a Buddhist goddess, looking toward Nanshan Mountain with the sea behind her. You can relax in green parks, see several Buddha statues and witness domestic tourists praying during your Sanya cruise. The area is famous for excellent vegetarian food, such as rice noodles with steamed spinach, tofu and legumes.

A bowl of rice noodle with braised beef

Sanya, China, Rice noodle with beef

Local Cuisine

Thanks to the abundance of fresh seafood, produce from the rich farmland and wild vegetables from the jungle interior, Sanya's cuisine is lighter than in many other parts of China. Cruise to Sanya and look for Hainan rice noodles, often served with pork or braised beef and topped with fried peanuts, or go in for local Hele crabs steamed with ginger and vinegar.

Coconut shell bowls for sale at a market

Sanya, China, Coocnut shell bowls


Locals harvest pearls around the waters in Sanya, so you'll have plenty of selection when looking for something beautiful to bring back home. When hunting for the perfect pearl, you'll secure a better price going on your own rather than with a guide, who will take a large commission from the price you negotiate. Or pick up tropical-themed souvenirs like decorative seashells and coconut shell bowls.

Insider's Tips
Insider's Tips
1 Be careful crossing the street in Sanya — scooters don't always respect the red lights.
2 Most attractions in China require an entrance fee in the $20–$40 USD range; think of it as a method of reducing crowds.

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