Sanya (三亚) is located on Hainan (海南), the smallest province of the People’s Republic of China located off the southern coast of the country. (For those American readers, this is the island where the US spy plane landed when it was shot down by China). When speaking of “Hainan” in Chinese, it is usually the main Hainan Island that is referred to. The PRC government claims Hainan’s territories to extend to the southern Spratly Islands, Paracel Islands and other disputed marine territory. Hainan is also known as the largest Special Economic Zone laid out by Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping in the late 1980s.

Sanya is the southernmost city in Hainan province, China and has an estimated population of 150,208 (2006). After Haikou, it is the second most populous city of the island. Sanya is revered for its tropical climate and is a popular tourist destination. Sanya is only 1.5 hours from HK by plane so its very easy to visit.

I was scheduled to visit Sanya for a venture capital offsite on a Friday after a long arduous work trip throughout mainland China. During the week, as I told people in China I was heading there I heard the following advice:

Monday: “Sanya? Oh, that’s like the Hawaii of China!”

Tuesday: “Sanya! Wow, that’s the Hawaii of China!”


I can safely say that after coming back from Sanya, it is truly better than Hawaii! There are top tier hotels (e.g., Sheraton) and the prices are very reasonable – after all we’re still in China! Finally, Chinese people don’t share the same affinity for the beach and sun as Americans. As such, the beaches weren’t crowded and were mostly filled with sunbathing Europeans and Australians.

Yalong Wan

This is a local park that located at a beach 7.5 km southeast of Sanya City. The park reminded me of a turn-of-the-century Universal Studios. Small trams take you around to key locations which are primarily religious sites or shrines. The highlight of the park is the a 108-meter Buddhist statue of Guanyin. This statue was completed in May 2005 and is one of the tallest statues in the world.


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