The many facets of Sanya are best savored at a pace in tandem with its relaxed rhythms. Beyond its pristine beaches, a visit to this Hainan region is akin to stepping into a Chinese landscape painting adorned with sweeping mountains views and panoramic vistas of the sea. It is also a cultural degustation of sorts – with Sanya being the perfect starting point for sampling the nuances of indigenous cultures within a largely untouched, natural milieu.

EAT

Local Rice Noodle – Bao Luo Fen

Bao Luo Fen is a kind of rice noodle, which is accompanied by a tasty soup and hearty condiments. The menu here is priced reasonably; however, do be warned that the dining environment of this particular establishment might border on dingy for some.

Average: CNY10 per person
Address:  Beside the First Market, Hexi Road
Hours: 6:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m.

Hou Hai Floating Restaurant

Another local culinary haunt, Hou Hai Seafood Hot Pot serves delicious seafood that patrons cook in their own vessels of simmering stock.

Average: CNY89 per person
Specialties: On Board Seafood
Address: Houhai Port 
Hours: 8 a.m. to midnight

ESSENTIALS

Nanshan Culture Tourism Zone

Nanshan Culture Tourism Zone is 40 kilometers from Sanya and is a Chinese 5A-rated national park, boasting some of the country’s most breathtaking tropical marine scenery. It is also home to the Buddhism Cultural Park and historical sites, and is a destination for ecotourism and relaxing getaways.

Here, the Dragon Phoenix Inkstone — the world’s largest inkstone, the renowned gold and jade statue of the Goddess of Mercy (Guan Yin) and the statue of Guan Yin of the South Sea -- can be found. The latter attraction stands at 108 meters and is taller than the Statue of Liberty.

Tian Ya Hai Jiao

The name of this resort region translates into “the ends of the sea and sky,” alluding to an idyllic landscape that has been immortalized in ancient poetry. The popular wedding and honeymoon spot is not just for romantic getaways, however. Take a stroll along the shore to catch sight of towering natural stones, inscribed with the Chinese characters “Tian Ya” (which means “the end of the world”) and “Hai Jiao” (which means “the tip of the sea”).

EXPLORE

Wuzhizhou Island

A romantic stop for lovers, the butterfly-shaped Wuzhizhou Island is flanked by shimmering clear waters and tropical scenery. It is also a mecca for nature lovers, with various species of rare trees and colorful tropical fish as some of its marine inhabitants. The region is a popular diving spot and an ideal area for engaging in seaside sports like sailing, beach volleyball and boating.

Luhuitou Hill Park

Located at Luihuitou Peninsula, this elevated park is a perfect spot for catching the sunrise and sunset and a vantage point for a bird’s eye view of downtown Sanya city. Perched upon this scenic attraction is a towering statue inspired by a romantic legend that gave the area its name — “luhuitou” or, in English, “deer turning its head.”

HERITAGE

Bing Lang Gu

Situated in a sprawling nature reserve, Hainan Bing Lang Gu (Betelnut Valley) Li and Miao Cultural Heritage Park are named after indigenous ethnic minority villages and the betel trees that populate the valley. Imbued with the air of a living museum, the destination preserves and showcases the rich cultural heritage of Hainan Island. It is inhabited by the Li ethnic minority villages and a veritable melting pot of native cultures set amid beautiful tropical scenery.