TOP 10 Tropical Beach Destinations in ASIA- no.10: CHINA, Sanya

I’ve been living in tropical Asia for a few years already and my European friends keep asking me for holidays recommendation in this area. Thus – I decided to prepare a very special series of posts proposing few quite amazing tropical beach destinations.

So there you have it – a completely subjective list from a person that tends to buy flight tickets to random Asian destination only because it’s cheap, and then figure out what’s there to do!

And the number 10 on the list goes to…

CHINA – and its beautiful resort city – Sanya !

If you didn’t know that China even has a tropical destination or a resort cities – high 5! We found out about it when we were planning trip to completely different place, a mountainous region of Guangxi nearby. Sanya did not disappointed – it had everything that I am looking for in life in general – challenge, little chaos, and palm trees.

SCORES:

  • nature: 3/5 ->the green hills surrounding the city & vast empty beaches
  • party: 1/5 -> zero beach bars and clubs, BUT there are Chinese ladies practicing dance routines to Chinese pop songs on every free spot of the promenade 😀 (check out the video at the end of the post)
  • atmosphere: 3/5 -> nice people, cool holiday vibe, the city and beach coming to life in the evenings
  • ease of travel:  0/5 -> complicated visa process, Chinese signs instead of alphabet,  no google or google maps

FOR WHO?

It’s a perfect place for people who want to escape from Western style holidays –  beach parties, Justin Bieber songs, bikinis, and banana pancakes. Such as this guy:

::: Michal -happy to be in a Chinese resort (note the empty beer can in a back pocket) :::

WHERE IS IT?

Sanya is the southernmost city of a little island Hainan, the smallest and southernmost province of China. Historically, known to Chinese as Tianya Haijiao (天涯海角), meaning “the end of the sky and ocean” or “the end of the earth”.

THE BEACH:

The beach is vast, clean and empty – what else do we need?

::: My favorite view::

You don’t have to worry that you won’t find a place for yourself on the beach – in Asian culture the most beautiful and appreciated skin tone is ghostly white. Big plus for no tourists from other cultures (besides us 😉 )  

::: beach babes in China:: 

:: The beach came to life only when the sun was setting down ::

BESIDE THE BEACH

  • as always- rent a scooter (no license needed) and explore the city !

It’s quite interesting how modern the main streets are and how simple and basic it is becoming as soon as you enter the side street. As we rode along the streets and promenades, we could spot many older ladies practicing their dance routines to pop Chinese songs, which was really cute.

Fun facts about scooters: we got the electric one and of course-  it died on us JUST before reaching our destination :

  • Deer Turning Head Park (Luhuitou Park 鹿回头公园).

Climb the hill outside of the city for the amazing views above Sanya harbour:

Half-way through you can stop to feed the deers in a small enclosure (if you don’t mind their sad faces):

At the very top of the hill you will find a large stone statue, to commemorate the local legend. According to the story,  the hunter chased a deer to an isolated headland near the sea. When the deer could not escape, it turned its head to look at the hunter and suddenly… turned into a beautiful woman! The hunter could not kill the deer-girl and instead- fell in love with her. What’s the moral of the story? I have no idea, but it made such an impression on locals that they named a park after it.

HOW TO GET HERE:

:: Haiku Train Station ::

This was a bit tricky. We took a flight from Singapore to Haiku- the province’s capital. Then, we took a taxi from the airport to the train station, hoping that we will find a quick transport to Sanya. At the train station we found a huuuge que and a big display board, obviously all in Chinese. Luckily, smart Michao figured out which signs stands for Sanya and noted what appeared to be the time of departure, so later he could point on the train number we wanted the tickets for. Thanks to the huge que we missed the earlier train and got a chance to walk around Haiku until the next one in the late evening.

 :: Display board at the train station ::

ACCOMMODATION

You would think that in the age of booking.com, you can book a place anywhere in the world easily, right? We also thought so, and easily booked a hostel online that … didn’t existed. When we arrived to the place it turn out to be a giant construction area. We were roaming in the dark allays for quite some time, until we finally found another place to stay for the night . It’s name turned out to be coldly ironic:

FOOD

Personally, I am not a fan of Asian cuisine (lightly speaking). But, if you are at least minimally tolerant person, probably you will find few things for yourself, eg. famous Chinese dumplings:

Ordering is quite easy – simple restaurants often have images of the menu options displayed on the wall, so you just point on what you want.

:: white Coca cola? Nope, just a soy milk in a suspiciously similar bottle ::
You can also find some healthy snacks in convenience stores :

::: chicken feet- yum! :::

::: mmm dried fish – even better :::

::: yyy..a fancy ant delicacy..? :::

OTHER FUN THINGS ABOUT BEING IN CHINA

It’s hard for you to distinguish between the Chinese faces? Well, it works the other way too! Don’t be surprised when people would want to take a photo with you because -to them- you look like a Hollywood star or a famous soccer player 😉

::: Michao and David Beckham- find 3 differences :::

It’s funny how everything have some peculiar equivalent in China. You’ve seen healthy snacks already, but here’s 2 more examples:

:::  Chinese version of the Apple Store  :::

:::  Who needs roses when you can get a bouquet of… bears :::

:: Luckily one thing is universal – I always (always!) appreciate good-old hipster coffee shops where I can have my cappuccino ::

That’s it for the Chinese beach resort. Let me know if you curious about anything I mentioned in the post. As you can see my holidays rarely stop on the beach. I would rater rent a scooter to go check out the beach, stay there for some time, get bored and then go ride around the city/island to see what else is there.  Luckily I am not alone and I can share the adventure with like-minded Michao!

 

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