Sanya City Guide: Things to Do, See and Eat traveling in Sanya

Sanya Travel Guide

Sanya Travel Guide
Photo by duxing_77 on Pixabay // CC0


Situated on the southern coast of Hainan Island, Sanya is the biggest resort city in this tropical Chinese province.

Despite being known as a place for rest and relaxation, it also has its fair share of cultural attractions, as it is home to a seriously impressive Buddhist temple and a heritage village which highlights the livelihoods and culture of this region’s indigenous peoples.

Come check out our Sanya travel guide as we cover the best things to do in Sanya, China.

Top Attractions

Begin your visit to Sanya by taking in some culture by dropping by Nanshan Temple. Situated 40 kilometres out of the city centre, it is a day trip but it is a worthwhile one even for those who aren’t fervently passionate about religious points of interest.

Occupying 66 acres of land between the base of Nanshan Mountain and the turquoise waters of the South China Sea, it is the biggest temple built since the establishment of the People’s Republic of China.

Opened in 1998, it was built to honour the 2,000 year anniversary of the arrival of Buddhism in China. Check out the Golden Jade Guanyin Statue first; regarded by the government as a national treasure of China, this 13 foot high Buddha statue is coated in gold, silver, and is studded with countless gemstones, including 120 carats worth of diamonds imported from South Africa.

However, we think you’ll find the 354-foot high statue of Guanyin Bodhisattva to be the most stunning sight on the premises. Situated on a terrace jutting out into the South China Sea, its grandeur amidst stunning tropical scenery makes this place one of the more Instagrammable spots in the Sanya area.

Let’s be real, though – you probably came here to hit the beach. While there are many stunning specimens in Sanya city and the surrounding region, Yalong Bay is one of best jewels in its crown. With crystal clear water, droopy palms, over 7.5 kilometres of sand, and a year-round average air temperature of 25 degrees Celsius, it is easily one of the most relaxing places to be on a visit to China.

Whether you decide to rest under a palapa, rent a jet ski to go for a rip amidst the warm surf, or sample fresh, grilled seafood that is brought to you by beachfront vendors, you are sure to have a leisurely day when you spend it at Yalong Bay.

When you are ready to do some exploring away from the beach, make time in your schedule for a visit to Yalong Bay Tropical Paradise Forest Park. Set in the rainforest in the hills behind Sanya, it mixes a hillside eco-resort with mountain trails which give day visitors the chance to experience 133 different plant species, 30 species of mammal, 100 kinds of birds, and 60 different varieties of amphibians.

When you aren’t spotting these creatures, there are a number of adrenaline activities you can take part in. From crossing rope bridges to riding a zip line high above the jungle, these diversions will help make your day up here a fun one.

As wonderful as the beaches are in the Sanya area, they don’t hold a candle to the ones that can be found in the outlying islands. Of these, Wuzhizhou Island is by far the most popular, as its bleach-white sands and coral reefs make it a hit among foreigners and domestic tourists alike.

Avoid it during peak tourist times (weekends, winter, and holidays), as this place has a tendency to get packed during these times. Moreover, there is a designated swimming area for safety reasons, so keep this in mind before travelling here to avoid disappointment.

Other Attractions

Get a sense how the indigenous people of Hainan live by spending some time experiencing Binglanggu Heritage Park. Translating literally as ‘Betel Nut’ Park, this Sanya area attraction gives visitors an insight into the culture of the Li and Miao peoples, who inhabited this isle before the Mainland Chinese colonized it in more recent times.

Here, you’ll get to see how they craft clothes, farm the land, fish the sea, and play musical instruments that are unique to them. Stick around for a live show if you have the chance, as the feats of balance and strength they perform and their traditional dances will leave you in awe.

Near Sanya, you can stand at the southernmost point in China by swinging by an attraction named Tianya Haijiao. Roughly translating to the ‘edge of the sky and sea’, this spot has romantic significance for scores of Chinese citizens, as they flock here to hold destination weddings here.

Don’t forget to take an Instagram photo with the Southern Pillar, a large granite stone which represents the southern edge of this great country.

Get a bird’s eye view of Sanya city and vicinity by making your way up to Luhuitou Park. With sweeping views over the entire area, this is a must-visit spot for photographers and admirers of dramatic vistas.

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