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China's Beach of Heavenly Peace

Dawn in Sanya comes up like an exclamation mark. Within minutes, it banishes all existential questions and announced itself in capital letters. Bright sun, blue sky, a stretch of sandy beach, a waft of fresh air, a rippling sheet of sea - this is not just a morning but a Morning! a perfect day, with unstinting clarity of purpose.

Situated at the southernmost tip of China's Hainan Island (which is itself the southernmost point of China), Sanya represents everything that China's big cities are not.

Here, the air is clean and the pace is slow. The sea buckles and falls. Children play in the sand, while adults contemplate their next swim. Kites nod listlessly in a deep blue sky.

This is China's Hawaii, a heavenly peaceful getaway, and yet it's only an hour's flight from Guangzhou and Hong Kong and three hours from Shanghai.

Here is a brief guide to Sanya's beaches, hotels, and fun in the sun.

Life's a Beach,
but Which One?

Living large, Lost or lap of luxury? In Sanya, you can take your pick.

The Sanya Music Festival
The event of the season, on June 27-28. Find out more.

Luxury Lowdown
Seeing stars at Sanya's top hotels, and backpacking for a bargain. Click here.

Sanya Survival Guide for Parents
Handy help on what to do if your child gets sick while you're on holiday.

Push the Boat Out
Big bad boats, boards, bikes and Wabobas. Sanya's fun in the sun.


Sanya 101
Sanya is on the same latitude as Hawaii, with average temperatures of 17-27° C in January and 25-33° C in July.

Sanya taxi drivers will tell you that Sanya's air quality is the best in the world, but this, of course, is nonsense. It is only the best air in China.

Typhoon season is June to September.

Peak holiday season is December to February, when much of Northern China is bitterly cold.

For about a month in deep Winter, Sanya's water is too cold to swim in without a wetsuit.

Sanya has dozens of five-star international hotels, including the Banyan Tree, the Mandarin Oriental and the Ritz Carlton.

We at Sanya Bounce would love to stay in five-star hotels, but our usual level is a mid-priced backpacker's, which Sanya has too.

In Winter, Sanya's Dadonghai area becomes the Russian Riviera, with frozen visitors from Moscow melting in the sun and filling out the many Russian bars and restaurants.

Dadonghai, Sanya's most popular beach, gets pretty crowded in Winter, but if you drive for just an hour up the coast, you'll find long, virgin beaches with barely a soul upon them.

Spring and Autumn are good times to visit Sanya.

High summers are hot, but we love them because the surf comes to Dadonghai, the hotels are cheaper and the beaches dazzlingly wide.