10 Things To Do in China’s Hawaii – Sanya

Sanya is a city in the south of the island of Hainan, China. China’s top beach holiday destination is known as the ‘Hawaii of China’ because of the tropical climate. Similar to Hawaii, it sits at a latitude of 18 degrees North with an average daily temperature of 26 degrees Celsius and has vast golden beaches, rainforests and mountain trails. Sanya is a popular tropical escape for the Northern Chinese and Russians during the harsh winter months. For those who don’t want to go as far as Hawaii, Sanya is definitely an alternative. 

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Sandy beach, Sanya

1. Try New Water Sports

As Sanya is on the coast of Hainan, naturally there are many water activities to do. With year-round warm waters, Sanya is paradise for water sports lovers. Snorkelling, paddle boarding and surfing are the most popular activities. From May to October when the waters are calm, it is perfect for snorkelling. For surfers, November to April is the best time to go when the waters have bigger waves. 

Scuba diving, Sanya

High-speed boat ride

Flyboarding, Water Jetpack

2. Luxury Boat or Yacht Day

If you prefer something calmer than water sports, sailing and yachting is another great way of exploring Sanya’s beautiful waters. With the sea breeze blowing in your hair, sailing and yachting is a fun full-day activity for everyone.

Boat in Sanya

Yacht in Sanya

3. Hike Through the Mountains

In addition to the beaches, in the central region of Sanya there is a mountainous jungle filled with hiking trails. Hiking is an active and enjoyable way of seeing the different landscapes of Sanya. Depending on the trail you take, you’ll see different scenery such as: beaches, rainforests, rivers, mountains, cities and villages.

View of rainforests in Sanya

Observation deck on Mountain

4. Try Hainan’s Seafood Delicacies!

Since Sanya is on the coast and has an extensive local fishing industry, there is a wide variety of fresh seafood available in the seafood restaurants throughout the town. The fresh seafood can be enjoyed year-round. 

Seafood Hotpot

Fresh Lobster

5, Eat Hainanese Chicken Rice in Hainan

Hainanese Chicken Rice is well known and loved in Singapore and Malaysia where many Hainanese people immigrated to Southeast Asia. It is inspired by another Hainanese chicken dish, the Wenchang chicken dish. The name of the dish comes from the way the chicken is cooked as they were raised in Hainan. The fragrant chicken (either poached or roasted) comes with fragrant rice and garlic, chilli or soy sauce dip.

Hainanese Chicken Rice

6. Golf on World Class Courses

On the island of Hainan, Sanya is known as the place to go to play golf. Frequented by many golf lovers, Sanya has ten public world class golf courses with more under construction and being planned. As there are so many excellent golf courses, Sanya is emerging onto the domestic and international golf map with tournaments that include Sanya Ladies Open and Volvo China Open qualifying. A cult favourite course would be the Robert Trent Jones-designed 18-hole Yalong Bay Golf Club, renowned for the “dragon claw” layout. Another favourite would be the Valley Sanya Golf Resort, complete with 27 championship-level holes.

Yalong Bay Golf Club

Valley Sanya Golf Resort

7. Climb up to Lin Chun Ling Park Observation Deck

This observation deck is located in a nature reserve park with a tremendous amount of greenery. To get to the observation deck, there are steps you can climb that will take you to the top. As the path leading to the top is long, there are benches along the way where people take breaks and rest. Halfway towards the top, there is a tea house in the lookout that sells refreshments for hikers to enjoy. From the observation deck you get a view of the city, sea and surrounding forest.

Stairs leading to Observation Deck

Observation Deck

8. Explore Yalong Bay Tropical Paradise Forest Park

This Tropical Paradise spreads over 15 kilometers and is the first forest park in Sanya city as well as the first forest park for coastal mountain ecological tourism and resort. This Forest Park is the ideal place for mountaineering expeditions, leisure and sightseeing. The forest has over 1,500 varieties of tropical plants and more than 190 breeds of wild animals. Scenic spots in this tropical paradise include Orchid Valley, Canghai Tower and Giant Buddha Stone.

Bridge on the trail

Glass walkway

9. Luhuitou Park – Deer Turn Back Park

The name Luhuitou translates into Deer Turn Back in English. This name came from a story where a tyrant named Ahei wanted a pair of deer horns. When Ahei was hunting, he saw a deer being hunted by a panther and after shooting the panther, he continued to chase the deer. After chasing the deer for nine days and nine nights, the trapped the deer and just as he was about to shoot, the deer turned into a beautiful woman. Ahei fell in love and married. The woman then gathered Ahei’s brothers to defeat Ahei so she may continue to live out her life on the mountain.

There is a 9 metre long, 4.9 metre wide sculpture of a deer turning its head with a woman in the park. As the only mountain-top park in Sanya, it is a beautiful place with a panoramic view to overlook Sanya.

Luhuitou Statue

10. Relax in the Nantian Pearl River Hot Springs

The Nantian Pearl River Hot Springs has a big variety of pools to choose from and has a high hygiene standard compared to other hot springs. The Nantian Hot Spring has high concentrations of minerals that are believed to be good for your body. It is recommended that you start from the lower temperature pools and  gradually increase the temperature. As well as the hot spring facility, there are swimming pools at normal temperatures, massage parlours, spa area and a place to eat.  Water is free and available throughout the hot spring, remember to stay hydrated to prevent yourself from getting too hot and dehydrated.

  • Opening hours: 10 a.m. – midnight
  • Entrance fee: 198元 per person
  • Note: Lockers are available, slippers/towels are supplied and swim wear is requested for everyone.

Hot Spring

Spa facility

Swimming Pool

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