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Sanya Travel Tips - Helpful hints and advice on local destination information

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Few people run into any kind of trouble in Sanya. The worst thing that can happen is gross disappointment in some of the main city beaches. Visitors may want to do a bit of quick research to find out how to get to some of the areas truly stunning and quiet pristine waterways.

Sanya may not offer much in the way of Chinese cultural experiences but it does show that the developing giant of Asia has already made in roads into mass tropical tourism. Sanya Tourism Development Bureau is a good place to start for information.

Customs and etiquette

Anything seems to go in Sanya, which seems like a self-contained world that is quite different to the rest of China. The atmosphere here is similar to other tourist island resorts like Bali, and beach wear is acceptable away from the beach, though upscale hotels and restaurants may insist on stricter dress codes.

Displays of public drunkenness are tolerated but violence is virtually unheard of and visitors should be mindful that a mix of people from all backgrounds and political beliefs holiday in Sanya. If the Chinese military is ever present in the area, avoid taking photos or showing too much interest in what they are doing.


The currency of Sanya is the Chinese yuan, otherwise known as the renminbi (RMB). Paper notes come in denominations of RMB100, 50, 20, 10, 5 and 1 and there are silver coins for smaller amounts, though it is rare to need anything less than RMB1 for any purchase including a simple bus fare. 

Being such a popular tourist destination the regular infrastructure is all in place in Sanya and this includes ATMs, which are prevalent. They are located in the airport and on all the major shopping streets. Most hotels and restaurants will take credit cards but cash is the only way to go at the markets and the food stalls. 


Sanya is hot all year round. There is no real wet season and unlike the rest of China, there is no particular winter either, and even in the very middle of summer in, say January, it is not unusual for temperatures to peak at 30°C. At other times of the year daily averages of 30°C or more should be expected. 

Visitors should prepare for the heat of Sanya with sunscreen, protective clothing and hats. Long days spent on the beach sound pleasant but without the right precautions sun stroke, bad sunburn and even prickly heat can result. 


Sanya International Airport (SYX) is located about 25km west of downtown Sanya and shuttle buses run during flight traffic times (charges apply). Alternatively, taxis or hire cars follow the G225 expressway direct to the city. 

In Sanya, public buses run all the major tourist routes. Bus lines 2 and 4 move people between downtown Sanya and the beach at Dadonghai at regular intervals. One-way tickets are extremely cheap and tickets on buses that serve further destinations and pleasant beaches are a little more, naturally. 

Taxis are metered but prices can be negotiated, especially if longer distances, out of the way locations or wait for pick up apply. Motorcycle rental is cheap and there are many places to organize a rental. Inexperienced riders are strongly cautioned however about the state of the roads in this part of China. Driving methods are ad-hoc to say the least and accidents are unfortunately common. 

Fast facts

Population: 550,000
Spoken languages: Chinese, Russian
Phone/calling code: +86 898