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While the full 40km or so of coastline dedicated to tourism is usually referred to as Sanya, the region is actually made up of three distinct zones. Sanya Bay is home to the bustling city center and a long stretch of beach and hotels aimed at locals and mainland holidaymakers. Busy, cheerful Dadonghai Bay, about 3km southeast, beyond the Luhuitou Peninsula (鹿回头岭, Lùhuítóu Lǐng), is where most foreign travelers stay. A further 15km east, at exclusive Yalong Bay, the beach is first-rate, as is the line of plush international resorts.

The modern, hyper-developed resort city has such a steady influx of Russian vacationers these days that almost all signs are in Cyrillic as well as Chinese.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Sanya.