September in Sanya is ripe for relaxing in a spa or hot spring, playing golf, exploring the bays, indulging in the fresh and plentiful seafood, or visiting a sacred site in the mountains
As far as beach resort cities go, Sanya in Hainan Island is the pride of China. It is a major holiday destination and also plays host to an array of world-renowned events, such as the Miss World Final, Volvo Ocean Race, Tour de Hainan and Ladies European Golf Tour. Most of these events take place in Sanya’s popular bays, islets and coasts, namely Serenity Coast, Yalong Bay and Sanya Bay.
Team Sanya's boat at the Volvo Ocean Race
The island is covered in thick tropical vegetation from the coast to the centre, and filled with tropical plants, monkeys, squirrels, exotic birds and fireflies, with natural springs and waterfalls. This makes for many an intriguing and adventurous hike – and a nice shady respite from the beach.
Eating and dining is a pastime in this resort city. Fruit, vegetables and seafood abound, as much as one would expect on a tropical island. Signature local dishes include Hele Crab, Jiaji Duck, Dongshan Lamb and Wenchang Chicken, and they can be found at local restaurants, such as Yilong and Hainan Ren, or at the serene Yi Yang Chinese restaurant at Mandarin Oriental, Sanya, which faces the water.
The island is an ideal venue for golf
Thanks to its coastal location with mountains as a backdrop, the landscape in Hainan is ideal for outdoor sports from boating to kayaking and mountain biking to golf. Sports facilities are provided at many places, such as Sanya Serenity Marina – a major stopover point for the Volvo Ocean Race and home to superyachts like Azimut and Sunseeker – and Mission Hills Golf Resort, which is the biggest of its kind in the world.
A treatment room at The Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Sanya
The island also has many natural hot springs tailored to total relaxation. Qixianling Hot Springs in Baoting has the greatest number of tropical rainforest hot springs in Hainan, that are rich in minerals and trace elements. The Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Sanya is also perfect for a serene escape. The indoor spaces are enhanced by tranquil tropical gardens, including a Secret Garden with a calming water feature and gazebo. The Spa's hilltop location and a mix of classic and contemporary décor makes this a perfect respite.
Guanyin Statue (goddess of Mercy) at Nanshan Cultural Tourism Zone
For cultural, eco and health tours, there are many destinations in Sanya to choose from: visit Orchid World for beautiful flowers and butterflies, Luobi Cave for dramatic stalactites, or the Guanyin Statue at Nanshan Cultural Tourism Zone, which stands at 108 metres high; many Buddhist pilgrims flock to the area, drawn by the sacred site of Nanshan Mountain. Dongtian Park, meanwhile, has been a scenic spot since the time of the Southern Song Dynasty over 800 years ago.
After a full day of adventure, there is nothing like sitting back and watching a tropical sunset in Sanya. Mandarin Oriental, Sanya offers perfect sunset views from both its beachfront restaurant Fresh and the aptly named Sunset Bar. A unique sight in a unique place – is this not the essence of travel?
Apple Lin is the marketing manager at whatsonsanya.com and Sanya tourism guide books