is located on the southernmost tip of Hainan Island, Sanya is the island's most famous tropical resort, wonderful in the baking summer months and also a popular spot in winter too. Once home to China's most reviled
Sanya has been transformed from a spot that no one wanted to visit at the 'end of the world', to become one of China's most popular, most beautiful and relaxed areas.
Sanya town is situated on a small peninsula, connected to the mainland by two bridges. The town itself is a noisy and atmospheric place. This is an active naval base and men in uniform, 'ladies of the night' and fishermen all mingle together around the docks and wharf area.
This is a great place to soak up some atmosphere and the night market here is especially lively with seafood thrown on the streets, stores selling all types of weird and wonderful wares (including smuggled goods from Vietnam) and huge tea warehouses, all adding to the chaotic feeling about this place.
The Hui minority (the only Muslim group in Hainan) inhabit the countryside around Sanya. A traditional reserved and very shy group, these people have come out of their shells in recent years and can now be found hassling tourists on the beaches of
And it is the beaches that are the biggest attraction here. Sanya has some of the most beautiful and well-maintained stretches of sand not just in China but in southern Asia. The sand here is white, palm trees provide shelter from the sun and the sea is wonderfully blue and warm.
This is just about the only place in China with a really laid-back feeling and atmosphere. You could spend anything from a few days to a week or so here, soaking up the sun, relaxing and just enjoying the unique and relaxed ambience that dominates this place.