Hainan, or shortly known as "Qiong", is the southernmost province and the tropical paradise of China. Even though you seldom hear its name, you must know a lot about its world-famous city member - Sanya, which boasts top-class palm-lined beaches, bays, islands and ocean views that no inferior to Hawaii. Besides wonders in Sanya, Hainan Province also offers lush tropical rainforests, Li and Miao minority culture and festivals and so forth. On this amazing island, there are plenty of things to do! Let's follow us to check the 10 Best Things to Do in Hainan in this guide, which includes a list of detailed recommended places to visit.
Beautiful Yalong Bay Beach Sunset
Sanya Bay Beach
Being an island surrounded by water by all sides, Hainan Island is no shortage of beaches. Sanya, on the south coast, enjoys the largest group of beaches whereas neighboring Lingshui and Wanning also boast some relatively secluded options. Best beaches are in Sanya, including Sanya Bay Beach, Yalong Bay Beach, Haitang Bay Beach, Dadonghai Beach, etc. Sanya Bay Beach is home to numerous restaurants and plentiful accommodation options from budget to luxury facing the sand across a driving road. Yalong Bay Beach has the finest soft sands, with easy access to upscale resorts and hotels by the side. Dadonghai Bay Beach is very close to Sanya downtown. Haitang Bay Beach enjoys a secluded location that far away from the bustle and hustle and the world's largest duty-free shopping mall is settled on the northeast end whereas Wuzhizhou Island, the best diving paradise in China, is also in this bay area. On any of above beaches, you can spend a day just sunbathing and swimming, or partake in any manner of water sports, from jet skiing to wakeboarding.
Check more about Best Beaches in Sanya 2023 >>
Diving in Fenjiezhou Island
Diving in Wuzhizhou Island © meituan.com
The beautiful and vibrant world beneath the water surface and below the waves is amazing, while diving gives you the opportunity to get up-close to it. Hainan, especially its south and southeast coast, is the best place to enjoy diving! Here, you don't have to be a seasoned scuba diver, or even a swimmer, to adventure deep to admire the jeweled twinkle of corals and even shipwrecks! Wuzhizhou Island in Haitang Bay in Sanya is the best of best. The turquoise water here tends to be quite calm and clear thanks to outlying reef protection, which makes swimming and diving quite safe and enjoyable. In addition, West Island in Sanya Bay and Fenjiezhou Island in Lingshui are also great places to dive. Dadonghai Bay, Yalong Bay and the west section of Sanya Bay in Sanya also offer diving club serving up diving programs. If you want some off-the-beaten diving and snorkeling experiences, you can look no further than Jiangjing Island in nearby Wanning.
Surfing in Riyue Bay © ifeng.com
Houhai Village Surfing
Underwater diving is amazing, while on-the-sea activities like surfing, kayak surfing, flyboard flying, etc. are also fun and thrilling. If you want to brave the waves, Houhai Village in Sanya is a fantastic choice. Over 40 surfing clubs gather here, with flocks of worldwide surfing aficionados, who usually spend a couple of days, weeks and even months there to climb up and down the waves. No matter you are a beginner or an expert, here is a stretch of wave suiting your need. If you like, you can also take part in some surfing classes at one of the clubs there. There are also surfing possibilities hidden in the west section of Sanya Bay, Dadonghai, Wuzhizhou Island, Xiangshui Bay in Lingfshui, etc. For those who want more professional training options, Sun and Moon Bay in Wanning, which is the training base of China's national surfing team, is the best pick.
Yalong Bay Tropical Paradise Forest Park
Yanoda Tropical Rainforest Park
Lush jungles spread Hainan Island. Imagining rushing into an emerald world with lush tropical trees, tranquil river, low-key trails and hanging strip bridge, isn't it an unforgettable experience? If you want some fresh experiences besides the beaches and sunshine in Hainan, jungle adventures will then be a good alternative. Yalong Bay Tropical Paradise Forest Park, which is located on the east end of Yalong Bay Beach, is the most convenient and popular choice. Nanshan Cultural Scenic Area about 40 kilometers west of Sanya also has a jungle forest for you to explore, which is not very far away from the Guanyin Statue. This scenic area and the nearby Daxiaodongtian Scenic Area are good choices for those who are both fan of nature and Buddhist culture or Taoist culture. Yanoda Rainforest Scenic Area and the nearby Binglanggu in Baoling Li and Miao Autonomous County are a little bit far from Sanya. However, their secluded locations reward them a charming peaceful vibe, plus the interesting performances of Li and Miao ethnic groups, they are also great places to go. Wuzhishan Rainforest Scenic Area, which is featured by Five Finger-like Pillars, is also recommended.
Yalong Bay Golf Club
Yalong Bay Golf Club
Each of the bay area in Sanya, including Yalong Bay, Sanya Bay, Haitang Bay and Dadonghai Bay, also operates some fine golf clubs for you to have fun. The yearly around pleasant weather, which let Sanya bathing in sunshine nearly 300 days per year, making Sanya a great place that available for golf games at any time you like.
Yalong Bay Golf Club, which is close to Yalong Bay Scenic Area, tops the ranking list of best golf clubs in Sanya. Besides that, there are Luhuitou Golf Club by the seaside between Dadonghai Bay and Sanya Bay, Shenquan International Golf Club hidden in the northwest edge of Binglanggu Li and Miao Cultural Scenic Area, Haitang Bay Haizhonghai Golf Club surrounded by water by three sides...
Sanya Duty-Free Shopping Mall
Sanya Duty-Free Shopping Mall
Shopping enthusiasts? Welcome to Sanya! As all you know, Sanya International Duty-free Shopping Mall, which is the largest of its kind in the world, opened in Sanya in 2014. This large shopping mall covers a large area of almost 70,000 square meters and gathers nearly 300 international famous brands from clothes to bags, perfumes to cosmetics... If you have no time to this largest one in Haitang Bay, you can also shop at other 3 duty free shopping malls, including the one in Sanya International Phoenix Airport and other 2 in Sanya downtown. If you are in Haikou, you can also shop in Haikou Meilan International Airport.
Please note: the unit of the goods you buy and the accumulative price of all the good you buy should not be more than CNY 8,000. Besides, every buyer (above 16 years old is required) can only shop in Sanya DFS twice a year. Take your chance.
A trip to Hainan without trying its specialties is never enough. Hainan cuisine is no like Sichuan Cuisine or Hunan Cuisine that emphasize a lot on seasoning but more focus on the original tastes of the materials. Thanks to the coastal locations, Hainan cuisine is rich in seafood products like prawns, crabs, etc. Almost every restaurant in Hainan, including its high-end ones in the upscale resorts and hotels, small restaurants by the beach side, and also the local restaurants hidden in the alleys, all serve up delicious seafood dishes.
Famous Hainan dishes include Wenchang Chicken, Coconut Chicken, Hele Crab, Jiali Duck, Dongshan Lamb, Hainanese Chicken Rice, Baoluo Rice Noodles… Xilong Coffee is also famous.
Check more about What to Eat in Hainan 2023 >>
Sanya Legend Show © mafengwo
Mandarin Oriental Hotel Sunset Bar © mafengwo
Being a holiday paradise, Hainan, especially its Sanya City, offers alive nightlife. From night shows to night markets, bars to clubs, there are tons of options. Sanya Legend Show Scenic Area, where you can admire grand dance and sing performances up close, is recommended to those who want to know more about the history and culture of this region. Next to the scenic area is also a duty-free shopping store, which won't be closed until 22:00. If you are in Sanya and will stay overnight near the bay area, don't forget to step out of your hotel or resort to get some cheerful moments at a bar or club. If you like, you can also visit Sanya No.1 Market to buy some seafood for midnight snacks.
Check more about Sanya Nightlife >>
Thirty-three Statues of Guanyin Bodhisattva of Nanshan Temple
The beautiful Hainan Island is home to Han, Li, Miao, Hui, Zhuang and several other ethnic minorities. Those different ethnic minorities live in Hainan in a harmonious way. Each of them has their own festival and custom. The most famous festival in Hainan is the March Fair of Li ethnic minority. Every third day of the third lunar month, Hainan people will gather in groups to dance and sing together to pray for happiness and sacrifice to ancestors.
In addition to the ethnic festivals, the 29th day of the 2nd lunar month, the 19th day of the 6th lunar month and the 19th day of the 9th lunar month are considered as Guanyin's birthday, the day to get enlightened and the day to be a nun respectively. If you are going to visit Nanshan Cultural Tourism Zone during these days, you can celebrate the festivals with locals.
Cycle Around Hainan Island
Cycle Around Hainan Island
The entire Hainan Island in oval shape, allowing you to enjoy a round cycling along its coastline. However, no matter you want to conquer its east coastline or west coastline, it is never an easy task. The east coastline measures about 323 kilometers. Because part of this cycling road is adjacent to the South China Ocean with amazing sea view, this route enjoys the best popularity amongst cyclists. To finish this route, about 2~3 days are required. Compared to the east coastline, the west coastline of Hainan is much longer, about 429 kilometers long, while the landscape is not that good. Therefore, the east line is more recommended. If your energy and time allow, you can conquer the entire east route, or you can try a short section from Haikou to Wenchang or Xinglong to Sanya.
When it comes to a Hainan Tour, it usually refers to how to travel Sanya, where gathers most of the Hainan wonders and best laid-back atmosphere. This holiday paradise can be visited in multiple ways. Some travelers may spend one week or even one month just staying on one beach and enjoying the sunlight, while some energetic travelers may dive in different islands or take a short glimpse of the top attractions. What's your preference? If you have no idea, we suggest you spend 1 ~ 2 days going to some hot landmarks, like Nanshan Temple, Wuzhizhou Island, Tianya Haijiao, etc. Then, you can spend 2 or more days visiting at least one bay to fully immerse yourself in the relaxing atmosphere and taking part in some watersports if you have an interest. For primitive nature lovers, just go to Yalong Bay Tropical Paradise Forest Park or Yanoda Rainforest Park (in Baoting), which needs 0.5~1 day.
In addition to Sanya, you can also visit Haikou to escape the crowds or explore Hainan culture. A classic Haikou tour takes about 2 days. The top highlights include informative Hainan Museum, old buildings in Qilou Old Street, Huoshankou National Geopark, Mission Hills Huayi Brothers Feng Xiaogang Movie, Baisha Park, etc., as well as a beautiful beach.
Bathing Beach on Wuzhizhou Island
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Our travel consultant Sean visited Wuzhizhou Island
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