54 Cool Things to do in Sanya (Travel Guide)

Last updated on January 19th, 2020 at 11:09 am

Things to do in Sanya

We were invited for Hello Sanya tourism board and we really enjoyed our time there. We will write about our favorite things to do in Sanya from adventure to relax in the beaches. Also we will explain with details how to move around, how to get the visa, where to stay in our full Sanya travel guide.

Sanya is called the Hawaii of the East. If you love tropical weather and beaches this destination is for you. Apart from the beaches there are Natural Parks to visit and local food to try. If you are coming from a Western country Sanya will be the perfect place to know more about Chinese culture.

Sanya Travel Guide

Weather/Best time to visit Sanya

If you love tropical weather you will love Sanya. The temperature is avarage between 23-26 °C. The best time to visit Sanya is from December to January in the dry season when the weather isn’t so hot. The summer months from July to September is the rainy season and it can be really hot.

Click here to know more about the weather in Sanya!

How to get to Sanya by Plane

If you want to get Sanya by plane most of the flights are passing by Hong Kong. So you will have to do a stopover before going to Sanya. There are affordable flights coming from Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Macau. We always use Skyscanner for this to compare schedule and prices.

There are direct flights coming from Macau, Hong Kong and most of the big cities in China. And if you are coming from Russia there are direct and affordable flights going to Sanya.

If you are going to Sanya there are two airports: Sanya Phoenix International Airport and in the North part of Hainan: Haikou Meilan International Airport.

Getting Sanya city center from the airport

If you want to get to Sanya from Phoenix Sanya International Airport. There are shuttles going to the main touristic areas in Sanya. Prices starting 10-15 RMB depending where are you going.

From the airport to the next destinations Binhai Lu, Sanya Holiday Resort, Jinjiling Lu, Jiefang Lu, Main Bus Station ,Xiayangtian and Dadonghai. It will take around 40 minutes to do the whole journey.

If you ride the local bus prices are cheaper 4-5 RMB. The buses are running every 10-15 minutes from 6 am to 11 pm.It will take around 40 minuts to get there.

If you prefer more comfort to get to Sanya city center by taxi. It will take you 20 minutes and prices are starting 40-60 RMB.

Free Visa For Sanya

There are 30 Days visa free entrance in Hainan for 59 countries. You can visit Hainan without having a Chinese visa as we did. One month is enough time for traveling around Hainan. The island is much bigger than looks like in the map. Sanya is only a small part located in the South of Hainan.

You have to show return flight ticket and showing an itinerary in Hainan with the hotels that you booked. This is applicable for the airports of Haikou Meilan International Airport and Sanya Phoenix International Airport.

The list of countries that they are eligible are:

Schengen Area 25 Countries

Austria, France, Germany, Norway, Italy, Finland, Holland, Denmark, Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia.

More European outside Schengen Area 15 Countries

Russia, United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia, Albania, Monaco, Belarus.

From America and South America 6 Countries

United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile

From Oceania 2 Countries

Australia and New Zealand

From Asia and Middle East 11 Countries

South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Kazakhstan, Philippines, Indonesia, Brunei, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar.

Yes guys Philippines is included and you can find tickets starting from $100 USD one way doing a stopover in Hong Kong.

Currency and ATMs in Sanya

The Renminbi abbreviated RMB or Chinese Yuan is the currency in China and also in Sanya, Hainan. For $1 USD you will have 7 RMB.

To exchange cash the best way is heading to the banks. It can be really hard to find exchange offices and even in hotels for cash. So the most reliable option in our experience is going to the bank.

If you want to use the ATM’s you will find many around the city and the airport too.

Click here to know the exact exchange rate!

Wifi And Internet Connection in Sanya

Wifi and Internet can be challenging in Sanya. The connection is good but the problem that you can’t access to many websites like and social media channels like Facebook and Instagram.

For this the solution is getting the VPN. Sometimes is hard to connect your laptop to the VPN and you have to be patient. If you go for a week you will find VPN with free trials. We used ExpressVPN, NordVPN and Betternet. When connecting the VPN to your device will make it slower than usual.

Buying a SIM Card in Sanya will be a great choice if you are planning to use internet while moving around.

Transportation Around Sanya

Things to do in Sanya, Sanya travel guide, transportation around Sanya

If you use the public bus to move around Sanya prices are so affordable. You can get one ride bus for 2 RMB. It’s often the transportation around the city but if you stay in the resorts are and Sanya Bay there is less frequency in the buses.

things to do in Sanya, Sanya travel guide,, transportation around Sanya

For short distances there are taxis and also tuk tuks to go around. Prices can be between 15-30 RMB for 2-3 kilometers distance. Sanya is 25 kilometers distance area. So you renting a motorbike or ebike can be great if you are planning to move around on your own.

You can see on the top the minibus who is driving you around Natural Parks and activities to do in Sanya. If you don’t like walking will be easier for you. When moving around this minibus will be waiting for you.

Daily Budget Travel in Sanya

things to do in Sanya, Sanya travel guide, renting an Ebike in Sanya

For daily budget travel in food in Sanya can be affordable if you go to local places where you can get meals in 12 RMB which is less than $2 USD. If you go to restaurants prices are starting 40-50 RMB which is $7-10 USD.

What we found more expensive in Sanya was the entrance fee to tourist attractions. Sometimes prices are around $70-80 USD for a waterpark. So if you are on a budget make sure you choose the activities to do in Sanya.

We already mentioned above about transportation how affordable is in Sanya. You can go walking distance and riding a bus if you stay in the city. But if you stay in the resorts area you will depend on taxis. Unless you rent a car or a motorbike to move around Sanya.

For accommodation, you can find accommodation prices starting from $20-30 USD depending on how much you want to stretch your budget. Until luxury hotels in Sanya that can cost $100-300 USD for a room if you wish more comfort when visiting Sanya. Click here to get the best deals via Booking and Agoda.

You can also try AirBnB in Sanya with prices starting from $20 USD. Click here to get $30 USD off your first booking with AirBnB!

Click here to get a discount booking activities with Klook in Sanya!

Things to do in Sanya

1. Visiting Binglanggu Hainan Li & Miao Cultural Heritage Park

things to do in Sanya, Sanya travel guide, Binglanggu Hainan Li & Miao Cultural Heritage Park

Binglanggu Hainan Li & Miao Cultural Heritage Park

Binglanggu Hainan Li & Miao Cultural Heritage Park was our first stop in Hainan. It’s the most popular and touristic place to visit around Hainan.

It’s one hour drive far from Sanya. You will see the origin of this small town. Cloths, dances and how people were living there in the past. Nowdays people show you around how it was in the past. It was crowded but still you can feel the culture of Hainan in China visiting this village.

2. Nanwan Monkey Island Ecotourism Zone

Things to do in Sanya, Sanya travel guide,, Monkey Island

We visited Monkey Island. To get there you have to drive more than an hour and going by cable car. The views are great! Once you get there you will see monkeys over the place. You can feed them and take pictures. Make sure that you disturb them as less as possible since its crowded.

3. Yalong Bay Tropical Paradise Forest Park

things to do in Sanya, Sanya travel guide, Yalong Bay

Yalong Bay was one of our favorite things to do in Sanya. We really loved visiting a green area and the glass bridge. The views from the bridge to the Bay are so beautiful. After the bridge you can enjoy around. The place is great for pictures and you will see Chinese people taking wedding pictures around Yalong Bay.

4. Tianya-Haijiao Scenic Area

things to do in Sanya, Sanya travel guide, Tianya-Haijiao Scenic Area

Tianya-Haijiao Scenic Area

Tianya-Haijiao Scenic Area is one of the most popular for locals. You can see the rock formations and nice places to take pictures. You can even swim. It’s crowded to move around but if you want to enjoy swimming will be so calm and peaceful.

Click here to get a discount booking your ticket with Klook!

5. Nanshan Temple

things to do in Sanya, Sanya travel guide, Nanshan temple

Things to do in Sanya, Sanya travel guide, Nanshan temple

Definitely Nanshan Temple was our favorite of this list of things to do in Sanya. You can enjoy a local atmosphere. Nansahn Temple is Buddhist and there is a small pilgrimage before going inside. You have to walk in zigzag waiting the line. Inside you can’t take pictures and videos. You can climb to the third level to see the feed of the Giant Buddha.

Read here how to get to Nanshan Temple in Sanya!

Apart from the temple there are beautiful views  and a few temple to visit since the area is huge. There are restaurants where you can only eat Vegetarian food. We did and it was so delicious.

Click here to get a discount booking your tour to Nanshan temple with klook!

6. Sunrise in Sanya

things to do in Sanya, Sanya travel guide, Sunrise in Sanya

Enjoying the sunrise by the beach in Sanya is a must. You will see there many locals around since they prefer avoiding the beach when the sun is shining to protect their skins and avoid the heat.

7. Visit temples in Sanya

Visit temples things to do in Sanya, Sanya travel guide,

things to do in Sanya, Sanya travel guide, visit temples in Sanya

Visiting temples in Sanya you will learn about Taoism religion. It’s the main religion in the country. Locals go to pray and they usually giving donations to the God. Temples are so beautiful and we always find them a auiet and calm area to visit.

8. Drink Milk Tea

things to do in Sanya, Sanya travel guide, drink milktea

Drink milk tea is culture in China. People take away and drink in the parks or bringing home. They are so delicious and prices are less than $2 USD. It’s a must of the list of things to do in Sanya drinking milk tea. It’s so refreshing since the weather is so hot.

9. Ride a Cable Car

things to do in Sanya, Sanya travel guide, cable car

things to do in Sanya, Sanya travel guide,, Cable car in Sanya

We rode a cable car going to Moneky Island. The views were great and we enjoyed with our views from the top. You have to cross the mountains and the ride will last more than 5 minutes.

10. Taking Shots From the Airplane

things to do in Sanya, Sanya travel guide, Nanshan temple, shots from the airplane

Did you know all the planes are passing by Nanshan Temple in Sanya? Take a look and start taking your first shots in Sanya from the air. Make sure you have one day trip to explore around Nanshan Temple.

11. Watching a 7D Movie

things to do in Sanya, Sanya travel guide, watching 7 D Movie in Sanya

When traveling in Sanya you can expect modern things to do like watching a 7D Movie. It was our first experience and it was so much fun.

12. Visiting a Fishing Village

fishing village in Sanya

fishing village in Sanya

When riding the cable car you will see the fishing village. If you have time to take a boat you can explore around. It’s always nice to see how locals can manage to live over the water. Fishing and selling as main activity to do.

13. Taking Wedding pictures

things to do in Sanya, Sanya travel guide, taking wedding pictures in Sanya

Sanya has many beautiful places to take pictures. Yalong Bay is one of the favorite for locals to take wedding pictures. The place is so greeny and perfect for this! Apart from Yalong Bay locals love going to the beach for taking wedding pictures.

14. Crossing Guojiangglog Rope Bridge

things to do in Sanya, Sanya travel guide, hanging bridge in Sanya

Crossing Guojiangglog Rope Bridge can be scary ha! But no worries is totally safe and you will enjoy beautiful views. Keep reading below if you prefer the hanging bridge or Glass Bridge in Sanya.

15. Sea View Glass Bridge

things to do in Sanya, Sanya travel guide, Glass Bridge in Sanya

It can be scary too the Glass Bridge in Sanya. The views are so incredible! You will get special shoes to walk around and go for it. Enjoy the views and taking pictures too. Which one is your favorite hanging bridge or glass bridge?

16. Try the Archery

things to do in Sanya, Sanya travel guide, trying the archery

Our trip was full of adventure and we tried a new thing in Sanya: the Archery. It wasn’t easy but finally we managed with the explanations of the guides. When we are back for sure it will be included again in the list of things to do in Sanya.

17. Kayaking

Kayaking in Sanya

For more adventure and activities to try in Sanya. Kayaking is one of them. We tried in a small lake and it was easy ideal for beginners. The best time to do the activity is before sunset when it’s not so hot the weather.

18. Sunset in Sanya

things to do in Sanya, Sanya travel guide, sunset in Sanya

Sunsets are our favorite always that we are traveling. And in Sanya they were great. We loved it sunsets by the beach.

19. Atlantis Aquarium

things to do in Sanya, Sanya travel guide, Atlantis Aquarium

Atlantis Aquarium was so beautiful. We could see different fishes. From Manta Rays and Sharks to colorful ones. The most popular in the aquarium is the mermaid show.

20. Underwater Suite at Atlantis Sanya

Things to do in Sanya, Sanya travel guide, Atlantis Sanya

An underwater suite? It’s not Maldives guys. We are still in Sanya! It’s in Atlantis Sanya where you can find the suite. Prices are starting 5K-6K USD per night. We just went inside to take shots and it was so beautiful.

Click here to check availability and prices!

More Things to do in Sanya

21. Eating local in Sanya

Eating local in Sanya, Chinese food

One of our favorite things to do in Sanya was trying local food. Our favorite place was Hou’An Noodle where they serve delicious noodle soup. Our friend Candy discovered this place for us, thank you. Prices are so affordable and you can eat a dish for less than $2 USD.

22. Eating as A Local

Eating as a local in China. If you are from Western culture is totally different. You don’t use chopsticks for eating. And its not polite to make noise while eating. In China for sure you can make noise since everyone is doing. Just learn and try to a

23. Chinese Tea Ceremony

things to do in Sanya, Sanya travel guide, Chinese tea ceremony

things to do in Sanya, Sanya travel guide, Chinese tea ceremony

Since tea is so popular in China. Sanya will bring you the opportunity to watch a Chinese tea ceremony. Plus it was so delicious and we tried different flavors.

24. Visit Sanya Chocolate Factory

things to do in Sanya, Sanya travel guide, Chocolate factory in Sanya

We were visiting Sanya Chocolate Factory and we had to say that those cookies were great. White chocolate and black tea was so delicious.

25. Learn how to make a Batik

things to do in Sanya, Sanya travel guide, learn how to make a batik in Sanya

We learned how to make a batik. It was really fast in less than 10 minutes we got ours. You just hang to get dry and you collect your first souvenir from Sanya.

26. Traditional Dance

things to do in Sanya, Sanya travel guide, traditional dance in Sanya

We saw the traditional Hainan dance of Li people. Great spectacle with fire, amazing scenery. We spent such a cool hour of entertainment.

27. Climb a Coconut tree

things to do in Sanya, Sanya travel guide, climb a coconut tree

There are many coconut trees in Sanya. We love to drink them. You can have the experience to climb the coconut. We didn’t but it was so impressive to see the locals in the village how fast they did.

28. Trying Traditional Dish in Banana Leaftraditional food in Sanya

As you know well food is one of our favorite things to do in Sanya. Not only in Sanya but also around the world. We tried a traditional dish in a banana leaf and it was so delicious.

29. Trying Chinese Mcdonald’s

things to do in Sanya, Sanya travel guide, Chinese Mcdonald's

Well Chinese food is so delicious but we decided to try the Mcdonald’s in China. The flavor was similar and the deign was so cool, we really loved it.

30. Hainese Cuisine

things to do in Sanya, Sanya travel guide, Hainese cuisine

How many times while traveling we tried Hainanese chicken rice. It’s traditional from Hainan. So it’s a must to do in Sanya. It was so delicious!

31. Watching a Movie

watching a movie in Sanya

Well first part you will have to understand little bit about the language. We have to say taht the cinema in Sanya was so cute and comfortable. We just watch a small documentary but next time we will make sure that we watch a Chinese movie.

32. Eating Seafood

things to do in Sanya, Sanya travel guide, eating seafood

We enjoyed a huge seafood for dinner by the beach. Lobsters were our favorite! We have never seen something like this before. So if you love seafood you will find plenty in Sanya.

33. Beach Party

 things to do in Sanya, Sanya travel guide, beach party in Sanya

After the seafood with a DJ by the beach we enjoyed the music with beers. It was a great day to end the day. We were on our own.

34. Try the hot pot

Hot pot in China

Hot pot are so popular over the country and also in Hainan. We really loved it all of them. With vegetables, chicken and seafood. When tasting the soup is amazing the flavor.

35. Relax in the quiet Beaches

Things to do in Sanya, Sanya travel guide, Sanya Beach

Most of the attractions were crowded. But the beaches were so calm and quiet. Chinese people don’t like so much sun exposure and you will enjoy all of them for yourself. Locals will be around taking couple pictures.

36. Trying an English Breakfast

Trying an English breakfast, things to do in Sanya, Sanya travel guide,

If you are wondering what Chinese people think is an English breakfast. Here are you have it. WE tried and it was good but we preferred to eat local. Good thing traveling as a couple you can order both and sharing.

37. Cute Coffee shops in Sanya

Cute coffeshops in Sanya, things to do in Sanya, Sanya travel guide,

Sanya has so many things to discover apart from beaches and Natural Parks. Visiting the city center and the malls we found this cute coffee shop for kids and adults were you can take pictures.

38. Charge your Devices

Nowdays with the technology so close to us you can find this machine were you can charge your powerbank and your phone. You can pay with Weechat app from your own phone so convenient!

39. Fortune Teller Machine

things to do in Sanya, Sanya travel guide, fortune teller in Sanya

There is a fortune teller machine inside the malls. Local people loves to play these games about gambling, and also knowing about their future in business and love.

40. Buying Souvenirs in Sanya

things to do in Sanya, Sanya travel guide, buying souvenirs in Sanya

Visiting small markets around Sanya to find those souvenirs and pasalubongs to bring back home. They are so affordable and you can purchase them from your own phone. We got amazed how good the technology is working in Sanya. You almost don’t need to bring cash anywhere.

41. Motorbike Sellers in the Beach

things to do in Sanya, Sanya travel guide, street sellers in the beach by motorbike

If you are traveling around Asia you will get used to beach sellers. It was our first time watching motorbike sellers bringing all the things that you need to spend the day in the beach.

42. Visit a Rooftop

 things to do in Sanya, Sanya travel guide, infinity pool in Sanya, Conifer Resort in Sanya,

The largest infinity pool in China is in Conifer Resort in Sanya. It’s huge and the views are amazing. Plus you can enjoy the transparent glass view swimming to the beach.

43. Waterpark

things to do in Sanya, Sanya travel guide, waterpark in Sanya

We had so much fun in the Waterpark inside Atlantis Resort. There are many slides and pools to swim and enjoy around. We went in a week day and there was no almost no line. We didn’t stay more than 5 minutes waiting to try slides. Entrance fee is 400 RMB. 

44. Luxury Staying

Things to do in Sanya, Sanya travel guide, Atlantis Sanya

If you want to have a luxury staying in Sanya, There are resorts for affordable prices that’s one of the attractive that tourist love. We took this picture in the magnificent Atlantis Sanya. You can also enjoy resorts around the beach area.

Click here to check prices and availability!

45. Buying Local Products in the Supermarket in Sanya

things to do in Sanya, Sanya travel guide, buying local products in Sanya

things to do in Sanya, Sanya travel guide, buying local products in Sanya

Going inside the supermarket to check local products was one of my favorite things to do in Sanya. Prices are so affordable. We loved the fruits and vegetables. If you travel to Sanya you will find different tropical fruits.

46. Having Chinese Beer

things to do in Sanya, Sanya travel guide,, Chinese Beer

I love trying local beers and I tried a few of them in China. My favorite one was the one on the top. Alcohol can be expensive in restaurants but in the supermarkets is so cheap.

47. Eating Frogs

Eating Frogs

In Asia there are countries where is popular to eat chicken feed like Philippines and Vietnam. Also in China is popular but they also eat frogs. We tried even it’s not our favorite dish but you can eat them.

48. Chinese Breakfast

Chinese Breakfast

Chinese breakfasts are so delicious. Fruits and congee (Chinese porridge) with boiled egg is a good way to start the day. For us it was little bit weird chicken feed for breakfast.

49. A Romantic Walk Around the River with the lights

things to do in Sanya, Sanya travel guide, walking around Sanya River

Walking around the river at night with the lingths is one of the romantic things to do in Sanya. The weather is cool at night and not so warm.

50. Music Live in Sanya

things to do in Sanya, Sanya travel guide, Music live in Sanya

Having a drink at night around the river area in Sanya was really cool. There are a few bars and restaurants. We chose Sanya Lounge Bar with Live Music. And guess what? The band was from the Philippines.

51. Eating Coconut

Panglao tourist spots, daily budget to visit Panglao, Visit Panglao: Relaxing having a coconut

Like in the Philippines with tropical weather you will find coconuts everywhere in Sanya. It’s always good time to have one by the pool or by the beach.

52. Watersports

things to do in Sanya, Sanya travel guide, jetski in Sanya, watersports in Sanya

Rachel tried Jetski and she really loved it. 5-10 minutes around the waves with a professional driver is an exciting experience.

53. Surfing

 things to do in Sanya, Sanya travel guide, surfing in Sanya

One of the best things to do in Sanya if you love adventure is surfing. There are beaches perfect for this. You can rent your own board and even have lessons if you need them.

54. Sailing

sailing in Sanya

If you like sailing you can go for a day trip around the island. You can enjoy swimming and having a drink in the sea on your own.

Where to Stay in Sanya

Sanya has 25 kilometers long areas to stay. We liked it Sanya Bay because was quiet and it was easier to go for local life. The resorts area will have all the comfort that you need but little bit far from Sanya city center and local life.

Oakwood Hotel Service Apartments (Sanya Bay)

Oakwood in Sanya, where to stay in Sanya

Oakwood in Sanya, Oakwood in Sanya, where to stay in Sanya

Oakwood in Sanya, where to stay in Sanya

We spent amazing time at Oakwood in Sanya. It’s located just a few minutes walking from Sanya Bay Beach. The property is so peaceful. You feel like at home more than a hotel is a luxury Airbnb. The food was great, the room also perfect. The best was the staff who took us around Sanya showing the best spots and introducing us to the local life.

Click here to check availability and prices!

Resorts Area

Wyndham Sanya Bay

Wyndham Sanya, Things to do in Sanya, Sanya travel guide, Sanya Beach

We stayed at Wyndham Sanya Bay  for a week in this resort. Everything was great less than 5 minutes walking distance to the beach with pool area. Friendly staff and 25 minutes driving from city center.

Click here to check availability and prices!

Sanya Conifer Resort

Sanya Conifer Resort, where to stay in Sanya

Sanya Conifer Resort, where to stay in Sanya

Amazing views from the infinity pool to the beach in Conifer Sanya Resort. It’s right on the beach and if you love luxury places you will find all the comfort that you need. The best is the views!

Click here to check availability and prices!

Atlantis Sanya

Atlantis Sanya, where to stay in Sanya, Things to do in Sanya, Sanya travel guide, Atlantis Sanya

Atlantis Sanya, where to stay in Sanya

Staying at Atlantis Sanya apart from the beautiful aquarium you will enjoy the waterpark included in your stay. It can be a great choice if you want to visit these places you will save a lot of money staying htere.

Click here to check prices and availability!

For accommodation, you can find accommodation prices starting from $20-30 USD depending on how much you want to stretch your budget. Until luxury hotels in Sanya that can cost $100-300 USD for a room if you wish more comfort when visiting Sanya. Click here to get the best deals via Booking and Agoda.

You can also try AirBnB in Sanya with prices starting from $20 USD. Click here to get $30 USD off your first booking with AirBnB!

Click here to get a discount booking activities with Klook in Sanya!

Hope you liked our things to do in Sanya. Thanks Hello Sanya tourism for taking us around a week. We enjoyed our time there taking pictures, learning about Chinese culture and meeting new Blogger and Instagrammer friends.

Feel free to use our links with discounts for Booking, Agoda, Airbnb and Klook. Using our links you will help us to continue with the maintenance of the website and it will not cost you anything. Thanks for the love guys.

Happy Travels!

Ruben Arribas is a Spanish traveler who has traveled more than 70+ countries around the world. Now based in the Philippines!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.