Hainan Sanya Trip, Beach It Is

Hainan, touted as the Hawaii of China, isn’t as bad as I had expected. I had visions of Phuket, overcrowded beaches, ugly beach developments, basically mass tourism at its worst. It wasn’t and I’m happy for it.

Hainan Yalong Bay

Yalong Bay is one of the better parts of Hainan. There are only 4 star and above hotels plus beach. A lot of soft sanded, very white beach. The roads are clean and new and there is an abundance of flowers, palm trees and lawns on the side. 40 minutes from the airport which should set you back between 60 and 80 Rmb if you take a taxi.

Hainan Hotels

Yalong bay hotelAll the big names are represented here, Hilton, Marriott, Sheraton etc plus a score of local 4 & 5 star hotels. We’re not yet in the 5 star range so we settled for the Golden Palm Resort, a 4 star Chinese hotel. It’s decent, spacious, has a great pool and is 58 seconds from the beach, according the advertisement in the elevator. I didn’t time it but it’s pretty close.

Golden Palm Resort Sanya

The only thing you shouldn’t do here is eat. I have read before restaurant reviews about rubber tasting tuna and I now know what it is. The food is horrible, both their breakfast and their BBQ seafood buffet. Processed factory food with no taste. Even the three dotted crabs had lost any meat they may have had.

Which brings us to the food and as there are only Hotels finding decent local and affordable food nearby is not easy.

A 10 minute taxi ride takes you to Tiandu, a 2 street village that has several fish restaurants, not great quality but decent enough and a good alternative. To splash out go to one of the western buffets. We went to the Hilton that has a buffet in the weekend. Their lamb chops were delectable (first and last time I use this word ever) and the price was 195 + 15 % service tax. Drinks are not included.

Things to do in Hainan

When we bought our travel package we had the option to go cheaper if we would join some day trips to tourist traps. We didn’t. If you do sign up for the cheaper option and decide later you won’t join you’ll have to pay a penalty. What would China be without penalties anyway, financial penalties in the work place, penalties when you travel.

We spend our 4 days mostly on the beach. Why else go to Hainan, culture? The beaches are perfect, the water is warm and the sun mostly behind the clouds this time of the year but it still beats the Shanghai winter.

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6 Responses to “Hainan Sanya Trip, Beach It Is”

  1. Last Week in China - Myspace in China, Yahoo Faltering and Baidu Jumps the Sea of Japan
    December 9th, 2006 23:40
    1

    Some of the more noteworthy tidbits that happened in China last week, ok, in the last 2 weeks, as I was busy getting some sun and beach in Hainan for a couple of days. …

  2. China tour
    January 15th, 2008 22:11
    2

    I love Sanya, but I haven’t been there for quite a while. Hope to be there again soon.

  3. sq
    June 15th, 2008 01:12
    3

    would like report on a robbery that happened in Tiandu close to Sanya in the province of Hainan (China) on June 6 2008. This region is located in the Southernmost region of Hainan where the most expensive resorts are scattered across the beaches. Hainan has a reputation as being as “The Hawaii of Asia” but as we learned, there are a lot of petty crimes against foreigners here done by localized organized crime bandits. Hotels rent bicycles to foreigners and riding around the countryside is normal. We did not see any signs posted up warning travelers of bandits. We were riding bikes along Yalong bay and into the town of Tiandu (before Dadonghai), unaware that we were being followed by local bandits . Three local men from the village (Miao), sped up behind us and it looked like they were going to crash into us, instead, they had a knife or scissors and cut our bag while we were riding bikes. They sped away before we could even react and this happened at 1pm in the afternoon with lots of cars and people around. This was surprising to us it was in the open and happened very quickly. We were on a busy road and luckily they did not push our bike into open traffic. Fortunately, we did not lose our passports but two cameras were stolen with other smaller items. We reported this to the local police and became aware that this type of crime is common in Sanya and not well controlled. As mentioned by the police, Sanya has a huge population of ethnic minorities ( 1 million) who live in secluded villages. These people can only speak their dialect, have no education and as one of the police officers said “ you can ask a woman how many children she gave birth to and she won’t remember” . The police officer says that a lot of these men don’t work and gamble all day. IN fact, they pay for their habits by stealing from foreigners. In Sanya, I saw many of these poor minority people and there was a sense of desperation for money. I did not feel safe at all and I would like to advise others about their public safety if they choose to visit this place. I came away from this experience that some people are willing to steal money, at all costs. I would not return to this place.

  4. Richard Cooper
    April 22nd, 2009 10:17
    4

    To the comments above. You can’t go touring without seeing bad things like robbery happening. I’m pretty sure you will find the same thing while you are taking a vacations in the Caribbeans. So if you got robbed, I feel sorry for you. But it’s also your bad luck as you are probably a few who got robbed. For me, I would get robbed just to go see the Beautiful scenery that Hainan has to offer. It’s really a rare site these days to find a place that’s as beautiful

  5. jasper
    August 4th, 2009 00:50
    5

    Richard, Hainan is Ok, but let’s not get carried away. Beyond the usual tourist trappings the place is a bit of a dump.

  6. Pete
    November 30th, 2009 23:20
    6

    Hainan is OK! There are some OK sites but as mentioned before its still a dump. Perhaps compared to other Chinese resorts it is cleaner and Yalong bay is a nice beach but its not stunning or amazing, just nice. The sea is not turquoise blue and the palm tress have been planted by the hotels. So if you’re attracted by the “Hawaii of the east “crap you’ll be very disappointed.
    There’s nothing to do in Yalong bay at night but I guess that’s fair enough if you go on a quiet beach holiday.
    It’s a good getaway from Hong Kong (only 1h flight) so a great weekend destination but if I had booked it as my big yearly summer holiday I would be very disappointed.
    On the second day I got a taxi to Dadonghai to have a look. I was only there for about half hour. There was nothing to see - a below average beach, the town was trashy and cheesy and yes it did feel slightly dodgy although it was the middle of the day and being streetwise I wasn’t worried the slightest, but I wouldn’t advise female travelers to walk around alone at any time. The locals would stare but not the usual Chinese curiosity stare – more like a scanning for valuable belongings stare and they do hang around in big groups on the street.
    Just a note that the airport is about 1 hour drive from Yalong bay (pretty much the only decent area on the island). There is no public transport so if your flight arrives after dark, having to pick one driver that looks honest out of the dozens shouting at you to get in the car with them can be intimidating. I was alone, cant speak a word of Mandarin, after being in the taxi for almost an hour going through empty country roads over the hills at 1am I must say I did get a bit worried.

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