Welcome to 2011! Tiantian and I have just returned from Sanya 三亚, the second most populous city in Hainan, also commonly known as the Eastern Hawaii. Being in Sanya is about walking on beaches, eating seafood & tropical fruits and spending the evenings watching beautiful sunsets. Fortunately, it has been bright and sunny throughout my entire trip, less the last day of departure…
From a traveller’s perspective, Sanya didn’t leave a good impression upon me. The touristy atmosphere, the bad encounters with locals and the rural city area puts me off. It would be better to splurge your money and pamper yourself in a 5-star resort at Yalong Bay. But even so, I would have spent that amount of money to have a holiday in Bali or Maldives.
Nevertheless, this trip was still a splendid time for us. We lazed and woke up at brunch timings. We spent more time searching for good food and taking photos, rather than visiting the tourist attractions. Though we couldn’t celebrate the eve watching a romantic firework display, embarking on this trip was the best way to spend the year end together. (:
We woke up, refreshed after the flights, with a bright and windy beach welcoming us right in front of our doorsteps. Our first three nights were spent in 三亚快乐自由人海边驿站, an affordable chain inn of which the one we stayed at is located in Luhuitou 鹿回头. While transport in and out of here is an issue (only served by 1 bus service), Luhuitou’s rural location is blessed with an empty and pristine beach that cannot be found at the beaches located in the city area. The only qualm we had was the constant barking of the dogs in the night. ><
Having woke up late into the morning and the breakfast our inn provided, we had no choice but to take a bus ride out to town. Hungry we were, we had brunch at a fruit-themed restaurant located at Jiefanglu Buxingjie 解放路步行街. Besides having a steak and pizza for main courses, we had a milkshake and fruit sago for dessert. What a sweet meal for brunch! (:
Jiefanglu Buxingjie is a pedestrian street consisting of small jewellery shops in the centre, surrounded by larger fashion boutiques or shops. We weren’t in the mood for shopping and so we spent another hour travelling to Yalong Bay 亚龙湾, supposedly the best beach in Sanya, in hope of catching some good time on the beach.
On our way, the bus driver recommended us a diving package at one of the resorts along Yalong Bay. Basically, it is an idiot-proof 10 minute diving experience that cost a bomb (RMB330). After donning on our diving costumes, we set out further into the sea via a speedboat. There, the instructors guided us physically in and out of the waters – you don’t even need to know how to swim. However, learning to reduce the pressure on your ears while diving would be good. We didn’t know so it wasn’t exactly a painless experience. :X
Having snorkelled at Redang before, the marine life and waters at Redang is much better in my opinion. Maybe our location wasn’t a good place to dive, but we barely saw any fishes or interesting corals while diving.
After a disappointing diving trip, we walked along a portion of the Yalong Bay beach, only to realise that it was extremely crowded. That alone forced us to leave the mess immediately, but when we tried to enter other parts of the beach again, they have been cordoned off for entry by tourists staying at the resorts only. Oh well, the so-called best beach in Sanya is basically a crowded yet exclusive place that we didn’t enjoy at all. :(
Having failed to catch sunset at Yalong Bay, we rushed back to our inn at Luihuitou, just in time to catch the last few moments of sunset. I’m not sure if we can catch such sunsets in Singapore, but perfect sceneries like this is possible almost every day in Sanya. Great for couples who want to enjoy some quality time watching sunsets together. :D
After the night drew in to a complete end, we travelled all the way across the city again to have seafood at Youyi Shequ 友谊社区, a large seafood market consisting of small cooking stalls and fresh seafood being sold at the back. Though the place looks run-down, it is one of the best and cheapest places for seafood, as this is where most locals have their fix of seafood goodness.
Just select a random cooking stall and the store owner will bring you to the market to buy some seafood, before cooking them fresh for you. Despite a long wait in the crowded market, we had enough fish, shells, prawns and vegetables for only RMB 150! (: But remember to get some rice or noodles since seafood hardly fills.
That pretty much ended our uneventful first day in Sanya… Unfortunately, we spent hours travelling the city if you are willing to connect the dots by checking Google Maps. Nevertheless, the next day turned out much better as we visited Xidao (西岛) for some fishing goodness and sightseeing!