The Most Open Beach in China–Sanya

SherryZhou   |   October 8, 2021

Hainan island, Sanya
Foreigner friends always told me there is no beach in China could see the open Chinese , because they have been seen many Chinese people on the beach in a strange condition : people are all gathering in a group, some are dressing up long sleeves or long trousers , wearing face mask or swimming in the water with clothes on, holding umbrellas and hiding in the shadows, even the swimming suit is covered as much as possible although there is nothing need to be covered … why go to the beach but try to avoid the sun?

Why do you need to be shy when you have a nice figure? Versus foreigners, who are opposite from Michael Jackson, from being totally white and turning into totally black within few days, even their bottom is black as well because they took off everything in public!

Some foreigners don’t care how much is covered! Even although they are overweight. Chinese wonder, “why don’t they feel embarrassed” or worry they are being stared at by skinny people on the beach? It seems different perceptions affect human behavior. Foreigner it seems, don’t care too much how other people look at them, but Chinese care too much!

This summer, I spent my vacation with friends in Sanya city in Hainan province; it is the most southern island of China.

Sanya means, “Deer city”. In Latin is “Cervus eldi hainanus”. In order to make the city special the government named Sanya after the unique protected deer, which is indigenous to Hainan.

In Sanya there is warm weather all year with fresh air, clean water, many nice beaches, natural sightseeing and many things to do. More and more people from many countries are coming to this island, and it’s become an international tourist beach in China.

Probably, foreigners go to the beach for three reasons:

  1. Get a tan.
  2. Relaxing and drinking beer on the beach.
  3. Watch hot ladies in bikinis.

What about Chinese? They also go to the beach for three reasons:

  1. Go with friends in a group.
  2. Go to eat seafood.
  3. Take pictures or shopping.

However, no matter what reason will be, Sanya will fulfill your expectation. (Below the beach is Yalong bay)


So, why is Sanya becoming so famous and popular for tourists, and why it is the most open beach in China? Here are some of the reasons.

The Beach: The city are surrounding by many small islands with nice beaches. If you like to swim with fish and discover the wide sea, Xi Dao island is a paradise for diving (Chinese national diving team based on that); If you like to take photographs of nice views and are a kind of romantic person, Wuzhizhou island or Fenjiezhou island are the places to go!

If you like to just relax and lie on white soft sand, perhaps enjoy the sight of lovely ladies in bikinis of different nationalities Yalong bay is the best choice for you.

Still there are many other small beaches waiting for you to discover, then you can just enjoy the peace by yourself.

When foreigners are lying on the beach to get a tan they are wondering why are Chinese girls afraid of the sun? Well, maybe it comes from the different beauty aspect between western and Eastern.

Since antiquity, the important factor for a Chinese lady is pure skin, a girl with white and clean skin will be seen as beautiful, Chinese history has mentioned there is very strict standard to select a lady into the palace to serve the Emperor based on this.

In fact, the colour is not really an issue, it’s if the skin is damaged or has too many wrinkles and freckles by exposure to the sun, which might be cute for westerners but not for Chinese. In southern China we said that “bird poo” (freckles) on your face is bad luck.

VS westerner’s beauty, the healthy skin color is recognized. However, here in Sanya, you will see lots of healthy color, vigorous and graceful body in all people, it won’t be surprised to see naked and tanned bodies on the beach, even Chinese! As these Chinese are clear that foreigners get a tan by being naked is not only for color or kill the flea, but also help the body to get energy which might kill bacteria. Then the Chinese are happy to follow…

The natural sights are not only at the seaside, but also at the express road, at the park, even from the hills. Take a bike and camera that has enough focal length for taking in all the scenes and you might be surprised at how good your pictures are, you will be proud of yourself, close to a professional photographer without doing anything on the camera.

Although there are many sightseeing places here are some special recommendations:

1) Sanya Nanshan Buddhist Culture Garden, located at the west south of Sanya, 20KM away from the city , about 3 covered by various green trees and colorful plants , especially there is a huge “Guan shi ying” budda statue standing at the border of the sea which is the only one in China and had attracted many followers for pray every year. You need about half day to walk along the park, to feel fresh and get sweaty which can keep fit, isn’t it ? Entrance fee RMB150 /adult .

2) Monkey Island, located at Lingshui city where 60KM away from Sanya is. You can join a one-day tour or a take bus by yourself to go there. This island is the only one in the world with a tropical monkey protection zone, especially you will see nice views and the natural views along the cableway will probably impress you . Walking among the trees has energetic monkeys jumping up and down is quite interesting, and they are naughty that perhaps make you laugh a lot…plus the hot weather , your face will get red just as same as the monkey’s bottom. (This is Chinese simile/humor) Entrance fee is RMB138 including cableway.

3) Sanya bay, where located in downtown and has about 10KM beach along the sea. Watching the firework and walking under the bright moon, talking with friends, leave all your happy steps

on the sand…. It is public beach, no entrance fee.

Nan shan

Monkey Island

The food The local people like to eat fresh food , organic food that grow naturally, plus fresh air that might be the reason for local people live for a long time (Many villages have old people whom are more than 100 years old). There are various choices of food for you,from local food to western food, from seafood to meat etc. However, I would like to recommend local dishes such as:

1) Hainan Chicken, organic chicken, the favorite dish of Hainaneese, fed by grain and free range which gives it a different taste from the farm chicken that maybe has just 20 days grown term, more delicious.

2) Seafood, this is local seafood, which is more fresher and cheaper than the one in supermarket, and it is fun to do the “Seafood buffet” , that means you go to local seafood market to choose any seafood you like , then take them to the restaurant nearby for cooking and dining, just pay a little money for their preparation, there are lots of delicious local dishes such as coconut rice, Hainan rice noodles , mango salad etc. However you‘d better go with Chinese as you need to bargain for the price and avoid to take to the wrong market by taxi driver.

Seafood market recommend: 1) TheNO1 fresh market, where has seafood and fruits market ( 第一市场农贸市场,解放路)2) Spring garden market (春园海鲜广场).

Sport and entertainment

1) Cycling along the road in Sanya is really joyful, as you can enjoy the sea view from the express road and also enjoy the scene in the city.

2) Sailing out to the wide blue sea, you can also rent the boat or relevant facilities to go around some islands. Surfing/Pull parasol, these are the favorite for sporter, feel free on the sea.

3) Diving, as I mentioned some beach is specific for diving as the water is very clean, or go to internet you will find more places. If you are a newer, you can join the diving club for some simple training in this kind of club, you won’t be scare anymore, the feeling you walk under the sea is same as you walk on the space .

4) Discover the sea world with Submarine. This is the first submarine travel in China that attracted lots of visitors by its mysterious as well as the colorful sea world.

5) Hot spring spa. The famous No 1. hot spring located in Nan tian farm, east of Sanya. The water is 56.7 centigrade which not only relaxes your body but also good for arthritis/rheumatism patient.

6) BBQ and night club, Eat good and party hard is fun for vocation , when you choose what to eat or have fun, sometimes just take a look if there are lots of people out there , that always can tell you it might be good .

Last but not the least, come here to open your eyes , your heart , and your stomach in this the most open beach city. Sometimes an unforgettable holiday is to do something you have never done! When you go back home you will miss the time spent in Hainan, maybe you might smile and think: when I can have this fun every day?

Lady of lake

6th Feb 2013