Located on the southernmost
tip of Hainan Island, Sanya is the island's most
famous tropical resort, a wonderful place in the
baking summer months and also a popular spot in
winter too. Once home to China's most reviled
exiles, Sanya has been transformed from a spot
that no one wanted to visit at the "utmost
ends of the earth" to one of China's most
popular resort areas.
Sanya town is situated on a small
peninsula, connected to the mainland by two bridges.
It is a great place to soak up some atmosphere
and the night market here is especially lively
with seafood thrown on the streets, stores selling
all types of weird and wonderful wares including
smuggled goods from Vietnam and huge tea warehouses,
all adding to the chaotic feeling about this place.
The Hui minority, the only Muslim
group in Hainan, inhabit the countryside around
Sanya. A traditional reserved and very shy group,
these people have come out of their shells in
recent years and can now be found selling souvenirs
to the tourists on the beaches of Sanya.
It is the beaches that are the biggest
attraction here. Sanya has some of the most beautiful
and well maintained stretches of sand not just
in China but in southern Asia. The sand here is
white and soft, shady with the palm trees. The
sea is wonderfully blue and warm. This is just
about the only place week or so here, soaking
up the sun, relaxing and just enjoying the unique
ambience that dominates this place.