Sanya 三亚

Sanya is the southernmost city on Hainan Island, and one of the three prefecture-level cities of Hainan Province, in Southeast China.

According to the 2010 Census, the population of Sanya is of 685,408 inhabitants, living in an area of 1,919.58 square kilometres (741.15 sq mi). The city is renowned for its tropical climate and has emerged as a popular tourist destination, also serving as the training site of the Chinese national beach volleyball team. Sanya is home to small concentrations of Utsul people.

Sanya lies at the southern tip of Hainan Island at Sanya Bay, and, after Sansha (also administered by Hainan Province), is the second-southernmost prefecture-level city nationally. Located at 18° 15' N latitude, it is about as far north of the Equator as the Island of Hawaii is. Though the administrative area (Sanya City) has a rough topography, the city itself is generally flat, lying on a parcel of land between low-level mountains to the north and the South China Sea.

The area has a tropical wet and dry climate, featuring very warm weather all year around. Monsoonal influences are strong, with a relatively lengthy wet season and a pronounced dry season. The coolest month is January, at 21.6 °C (70.9 °F), while the hottest, unlike much of the rest of China, is June, at 28.8 °C (83.8 °F). Water temperatures remain above 20 °C (68 °F) year-round.

Because of unique geographical and political circumstances to Sanya, many niche markets have been cultivated in real estate, food and beverage management, Chinese language and cultural exchange, agro-tourism, and wilderness adventures. Sanya is blessed with a wide range of different beaches and resort areas – from its upscale Yalong Bay, appealing primarily to rich Chinese and Westerners, to the Russians’ favourite Dadonghai (also for middle-class Chinese), Sanya Bay (for the more budget-oriented traveller), Sanya City (good for business travellers), the Luhuitou Peninsula (residential area close to the Canadian school), and the newer Haitang Bay developments (promising to be an all inclusive destination in the coming years). Although many of the bays are fast reaching their capacity limits, new construction continues.

The area produces pearls in abundance and they are sold everywhere. Prices are highly negotiable; overcharging tourists is common. Tour guides get a fat (often 50%!) commission for bringing tourists to pearl shops; try to go without one and beat the price down.

Coconut powders and teas are also popular Chinese buys, but you can also buy pretty decorations and handicrafts made of shells or trumpet shells: a gift from the sea. Don't head into the department store; instead, stick to the side of it and walk down the road filled with small shops and street vendors.

Sanya's abundant, pollution-free seafood resources are attributed to the bounteous South Sea, which encircles this city. Abalone, sea cucumbers and sea urchins are three kinds of local rare seafood. In addition, shrimps, crabs, fresh fish, trumpet shells and other exotic foods are common dishes served in any star-rated and common restaurant in Sanya. Fresh is the most accurate word to describe the local seafood.

A bit after sunset and well into the AM hours, Sanya city's streets are filled with small barbeque stands, noodle stands, and other snack vendors. There are plenty of good restaurants, including many Sichuan places and some Cantonese. Seafood is also a beach city's speciality. Inspect the tanks for freshness before eating and beware of the different charges that are often handled by different people at the restaurant (fishery, cooking fee, and sitting fee can be separate). 


People's Republic of China




Hainan Island


 • Total

1,919.58 km2 (741.15 sq mi)

Population (2010 Census)

 • Total


 • Density

360/km2 (920/sq mi)

Time zone

China Standard (UTC+8)

Postal code


Area code(s)


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