Two and a Half Days in Sanya

Trip Start Jul 28, 2007
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Sanya Blue Sky International Youth Hostel

Flag of China  , Hainan Province,
Thursday, August 13, 2009

Having quite enjoyed Qingdao, but already half-way through my week off and still craving that beach time, I knew I had to pull some drastic measures. Despite my better (financial) judgment, I hopped a plane to Guangzhou and then to Hainan Island, otherwise known as the "Hawaii of China."

Hainan Island is the southernmost point of China ... south of Hong Kong, Macau, and even south of Hanoi, Vietnam. In keeping with this "southernmost" theme, I chose the town of Sanya, which is the southernmost town on Hainan Island. Sanya provided everything that I had hoped for in a tropical island: clear blue sky, clear blue water, fine white sand, and an abundance of stands selling tropical fruit and local street food. Sanya offers the full gamut of accommodations from five star resorts to penny-pincher youth hostels. I chose the youth hostel option, not so much for the financial savings (though that didn't hurt), but for the promise of company, as I was traveling alone. The Sanya Blue Sky International Youth Hostel, just a five minute walk from Dadonghai Beach, was brimming with like-minded travelers of all ages and professions from all over the world. Jackpot! Immediately upon arrival, I found myself in the company of several students, a teacher, a professor, a doctor, an accountant, and a pilot-in-training, among others, from Sweden, Scotland, England, Canada, Iceland, Brazil, Germany, Austria, Australia, the Netherlands, and China, not in that order.

Besides hanging out with these people, my two and a half days in Sanya consisted of regular intervals along a two-point axis from the hostel to Dadonghai Beach. I deviated twice from this axis, once to hear a live band in a Sanya bar (cheesy Chinese cover band performing your favorite tunes from the Vietnam War years) and once to explore Yalongwan Beach with Patrick and Amanda. Yalongwan Beach was supposedly even more beautiful than Dadonghai Beach, and also supposedly 40 minutes from our hostel by bus, except that it took us a lot longer to get there because the bus got a flat tire and we had to stop while they fixed it. This ended up being serendipitous, because as soon as the bus had stopped, Amanda got hit with a bout of "la duzi" (spicy stomach), and the break provided an opportune time for her to run shrieking from the bus for a bathroom. (Amanda, sorry if you wanted to keep that quiet, but my regular travelpod readers know that I have experienced this very same problem more times than I care to admit while traveling in China. It made me feel warm and fuzzy to see you going through the same thing.)

As for Yalongwan Beach, I wouldn't say it was any more beautiful than Dadonghai Beach. It was more tranquil because it didn't have waves, and the water was like crystal. It also had many more Chinese tourists, many of them wearing the same island-themed shirt and pants ensembles. Patrick, Amanda, and I stood out quite drastically as Westerners on Yalongwan Beach, and we attracted an audience as we swam and did gymnastics in the water. 

Other than these two excursions, I really just spent my time in Sanya sleeping, eating fruit, applying sunscreen, chatting with people, playing the hostel's guitar that was missing the d-string, swimming, lying on the beach, eating yoghurt, swimming, applying sunscreen, sleeping, swimming, eating street food, sleeping, eating seafood, chatting, lying on the beach, etc. It was exactly the island experience I had been hoping for.   
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diemutter on

Peeking my interest
Your pictures make these places look very inviting!I like what I see.

mmc1111 on

Travels in Sanya, China
Such a beautiful beach. Your chapeau in rose tops off the day. Your stop at the fruit stand in Sanya reminds me of spending time with family in Jamaica. It must be thrilling to be in China. You have done an excellent job putting together such insightful notes on an amazing journey. Were you able to use German in your last destination where you tasted the raw beer? Its also assuring to know that you are not alone and that you have met friends. As for myself, I am dabbling in contemporary Buddhist meditations and writings, I have never had the opportunity to explore what is wonderful about the terrain of China.

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