Sanya on China’s Hainan island offers a unique cultural experience as well as a tropical paradise

Sanya on China’s Hainan island offers a unique cultural experience as well as a tropical paradise
By Damon EmblingKaty Dartford
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In Discover Sanya, Euronews explores this fast-growing tourist destination that boasts beautiful beaches and breath-taking mountain scenery as well as a fascinating mix of modern and traditional.

With its tropical climate and beautiful beaches, Sanya, on the southern tip of China’s Hainan island is a magnet for the growing number of tourists coming here year after year.


Sitting on the South China Sea, Sanya’s shoreline stretches 258 kilometres and boasts 19 bays and beaches.

Its natural beauty extends inland too, where you’ll find breath-taking mountain scenery and tropical forests.

Zheng Conghui, Deputy General Manager, Sanya Tianya Haijiao Tourism Development Company explains the city, that is the only tropical tourism coastal city in China, has a little bit of everything:

"There is sunshine, sea and beaches, there’s a perfect climate. We also have very good hotel facilities for tourists. You can find all the different hotel brands in Sanya. You can also discover very special and traditional Chinese culture.”

Modern and traditional cultural experiences

The centrepiece of the Nanshan Cultural Tourism Zone, the 108 meter Guanyin Pusa statue, stands proud on the coastline and is a sight to behold

Director of Sanya Travel Guide, Thomson Zhang, says it offers a window on Chinese culture and traditions:

“This is a tourism spot, with a Buddhist theme in Sanya, where you can find our history and culture. The statue of Guanyin has three faces representing peace, wisdom and compassion. Also, you can visit our Nanshan temple. It has a very impressive Buddha inside.”

Meanwhile, on Phoenix Island in Sanya Bay, known as the ‘Oriental Dubai,’ you'll find both traditional and modern Sanya.

“Phoenix Island is a man-made island," explains Thomson Zhang. "It will be finished in two phases. In the first phase, you can see the luxury apartments, hotel and international cruise terminals. That means we welcome guests from all over the world.

“In the second phase, we will grow more cruise facilities, with a theme park and duty-free shopping centre.”

Underwater living

Further down the coast, you'll find a huge hotel resort, the Atlantis, overlooking Haitang beach.

It's the first in China and at the heart of the one-point-four billion-euro development is a 55-storey tower.

One of the highlights is an underwater suite where guests can actually stay, and marvel at the hotel’s aquarium that's filled with 13-and-a-half-million litres of seawater and home to more than 80-thousand marine creatures.

A fast-growing tourist destination

Already a hit with Chinese tourists, Managing Director of Atlantis Sanya, Heiko Schreiner, says the resort is looking to attract more international guests too:

“We’re also trying to get into the South Korean market and the European market. Many flight destinations have opened thanks to the great support of the Sanya government. And with flights into European destinations which we are trying to attract, given the success of the brand in Dubai, we hope to attract international tourism into Sanya.”

A direct flight between London and Sanya is already up and running bringing Hainan island within easy reach of Europe.

Flights are also being planned from Germany. Visitors from 59 countries can now get 30-days of visa-free travel too.

For those who love shopping, Sanya is also a big attraction with its duty-free mall which resembles a butterfly from above. Inside there are almost 300 internationally-known brands to choose from.


“Sanya offers a feast for the senses," says Euronews; Damon Embling, "whether you love its mountains, its beaches or absorbing its rich heritage and culture.

A fascinating mix, this island destination hopes will bring many more visitors here in the future, from all over the world.”

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