During a frightfully cold January Dongbei winter and feeling the need for frolicking in the sun and surf, I fell for the hype and found myself heading to the south of China and the resort town of Sanya, a.k.a. the “Hawaii of China”.
Located on the Southern tip of Hainan province, Sanya does share the same parallel as Hawaii, has palm trees and features warm tropical weather year round. However, having visited Hawaii on several occasions including 5 of 7 main islands, I can say that’s where the comparison stops.
A destination for China’s emerging tourist class and frost-bitten Russians migrating south for the winter, Sanya definitely has a beach scene, but it won’t be confused for South Beach or Waikiki.
Older mid-tier resorts, catering to budget conscious domestic tourists and aforementioned Russian clientele, can be found along Sanya Bay Beach lining the Sanya Harbor waterfront. Newer and certainly upscale international 5 Star resorts with several golf options can be found 25 km away along Yalong Bay.