Sanya, Eastern “Hawaii”
Aggiornamento: 19 feb 2021
Di Margherita Maestripieri
Have been in China for a long time and you’re missing the sea? Do you want to leave for some days of disconnection and travel somewhere “exotic” without spending too much? Why not try Hainan 海南岛, an island in the south of China with capital Haikou 海口.
Hainan is the southernmost province of China that has been part of the Guangdong Province for centuries, until it finally separated in 1988.
The climate of Sanya 三亚 is tropical and monsoon, for this reason it is considered eastern Haiwaii. The best period to go would be between February – May or September – December, as summer is not really suggested.
Mandarin Chinese is one of the most spoken languages, along with Cantonese; if you do not speak any of these languages I would advise you to use Russian, even before English: because of many Russian tourists, many menus in restaurants and road signs are written in Cyrillic!
What to see on the island?
First thing, as soon as you arrive on the island (most likely if you take the plane you will land in Haikou) take a fast train (gaotie 高 铁) to go to Sanya, since it will then be easier to explore the island from there.
The beaches of Sanya city are not bad at all, but if you are looking for a Caribbean sea, go to the Yalong bay which is located about 20 km from the city of Sanya: crystal clear sea, the possibility of diving and … Chinese people at the beach! You might be surprised to see that the majority of people will stay dressed at the beach with long-sleeved shirts. In China, girls must have white skin, at any cost. It is a canon of beauty not much appreciated in the West, as much loved in the East.
Another part of the island to recommend is Dadonghai: excellent for relaxing and also being surrounded by restaurants, shops and bars. Very nice also if you want to walk to the Fawn Park.
If you are looking for a slightly spiritual destination, I recommend the Nanshan temple; it is located more than 35 km from Sanya center, easily reachable by bus. The temple was completed in 1998 and is dedicated to Avalokitesvara, Bodhisattva of compassion which in Chinese Buddhism is associated with Guanyin 观音 (the one who watches by hearing a sound, or the one who helps those who call her to help). According to the Buddhist Sutra Avalokitesvara, he would have expressed twelve wishes, one of which would have been to be able to live by the sea. The imposing statue that can be seen from the entrance of the temple is 108 meters high, but the real wonder is the statue of over 100 kg gold and 120 diamonds always dedicated to Avalokitesvarache located inside the temple.
Don’t miss the chance to eat fish in Hainan! You will never find such fresh fish in China.
If you have visited other parts of the island that have not been mentioned, do not hesitate to let us know! If you pass through Sanya, take some pictures and tag us 😉
Italian version: here