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Sanya is on the southernmost point of China, at the tip of Hainan island. Billed as "China's Hawaii", Sanya has 20km long stretches of beach. As the only tropical city across the coastline, it is definitely booming and packed with a lot of water sports such as snorkeling and jet-skiing, rainforest hiking, and innumerable hotels ranging from zero to five stars.

Its islands and beaches are beautiful and the water in Yalong Bay and Dadonghai are clean enough to have a good swim, but you may also want to head to Wuzhizhou Island or further north to visit unspoiled and natural scenery. While tourists come in every season, the peak season starts from 1 October to the end of winter.

Dadong Sea has Sanya's best balance between development and natural beauty. The ocean has algae blooms that vary the water from thick green to tropically clear. There's a beach party here on Saturday nights. Just look for music, foreigners, fire torches for light, and dancing after midnight. Wuzhizhou Island is a popular snorkeling and scuba diving spot.

Nature lovers would enjoy a hike through the Yanoda Rainforest Cultural Tourism Zone. It is a newly developed rainforest park, well organised and nicely landscaped. Wooden paths then take you on a 40 minute hike up a forest valley, past 1000 year old trees that have grown around rocks, with optional light abseiling and rope river crossing. At the top, you enter a landscaped lakeside park with lotuses, colourful flowers and a canteen offering a nourishing herbal buffet (mostly for tour groups). The path continues up into the hills, past labelled jungle trees with huge palms overhead.

The area produces pearls in abundance and they are sold everywhere and prices are highly negotiable. Coconut powders and teas are also popular Chinese buys.

After sunset and well into the midnight, Sanya city's streets are filled with small barbecue stands, noodle stands, and other snack vendors. There is a well-known seafood supermarket called The No. 1 Agricultural Products Market. Buy live seafood and then take it around the corner to a crowded street where all the restaurants will cook it for you for a small fee per dish. It's a great way to save money on eating seafood.


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