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5-Day Family Vacation Fun

The Sanya area has become China’s top vacation getaway, and the region’s bounty of recreational destinations easily validates that decision. In addition to the Hainan province’s expansive coastline, which inspired its nickname “the Hawaii of the East,” its ecological, zoological and historic sights all rank high on the list of superlatives — biggest, oldest and most beautiful, just to name a few. Get ready to go exploring!

Day

1

MORNING
  • See the Village People.

    Members of the indigenous Miao and Li minority groups still weave brocades, play nose flutes and live native lifestyles at Bing Lang Gu. Learn from local guides about
    the groups’ tattooing traditions and folk art (and take the not-so-native zip-line to travel one village to the next).

AFTERNOON
  • Bridge the Gap.

    The lush forests of Yalong Bay Tropical Paradise Forest Park are home to wild pigs, chameleons and more than 100 types of birds. Traverse the Dragon Chain rope bridge — 550 feet long, 130 feet above the forest floor — and find the mountaintop Longxingtianxia dragon sculpture.

EVENING
  • Wind Down in the Water.

    Relax on the white-sand beaches of Yalong Bay National Resort, one of the most picturesque places in Hainan province. The water’s extra-clear here, too, which makes it an ideal location for daytime snorkeling and scuba diving, as well.

Day

2

MORNING
  • Admire Buddhist Beauty.

    he Nanshan Temple was completed in 1998 — the 2,000th anniversary of Buddhism in China. Among the highlights: a 354-foot-tall copper statue of the bodhisattva Guanyin — taller than the Statue of Liberty — and a golden jade Kwan-yin statue, covered with 221 pounds of gold and silver and laden with South African diamonds and other jewels.

AFTERNOON
  • Discover Taoist Traditions.

    Explore the statues and natural wonders at Taoist Fairyland Park. Sanya’s oldest attraction dates back to 1187, when it was considered a home of gods. Today, the park includes a natural history museum and the verdant South Mountain, which has more than 30,000 “longevity pine” trees, many of which are more than 1,000 years old.

EVENING
  • Go to the “End of the Earth.”

    Legend says the two giant boulders at Tianya Haijiao were once young lovers who jumped into the sea to avoid their disapproving families. The region’s name means “end of the sky and corner of the sea,” after the early belief that this was the edge of the world.

Day

3

MORNING
  • Explore Monkey Island.

    Take China’s longest oversea gondola for the ride to Nanwan Monkey Island. The 247-acre nature preserve is home to thousands of macaques. Many are so acclimated to people that they’ll accept treats.

AFTERNOON
  • Hit the Beach.

    The butterfly-shaped Wuzhizhou Island offers white-sand beaches and protected coral reefs, perfect for surfing, snorkeling and swimming. Landlubbers can explore Sunrise Rock, Lovers Bridge, Gold Turtle Stretching Toward the Sea and a temple for the goddess Matsu.

EVENING
  • Abandon Your Duties.

    The world’s largest duty-free store, Haitang Bay International Shopping Complex has nearly 1 million square feet of designer and luxury boutiques — more than 300 stores in total.

Day

4

MORNING
  • Go Spelunking.

    A pair of large stalactites protrude from the ceiling of Luobi Cave, a 60-foot-tall cavern with wall carvings from the 1200s, and human fossils that date back 11,000 years. (Legend has it that anyone who comes in contact with the stalactites’ dripping water will become a talented writer.)

AFTERNOON
  • Submerse Yourself.

    Take a trek in a semi-submarine at Yalong Bay Undersea World and watch the tropical marine life flit past your windows about 7 feet underwater. Or strap on a pressure resistant helmed with its own oxygen supply and walk through vibrant coral reefs.

EVENING
  • Get in the Swing of Things.

    The 18-hole Yalong Bay Golf Club, designed by renowned golf course architect Robert Trent Jones, has been named one of the top 10 courses in China. Kids 16 and under can take advantage of the free 26-tee driving range, too.

Day

5

MORNING
  • Put It in Park.

    The views inside Luhuitou Peak Park are almost as stunning as the sights of the city and sea that stretch out below its hillside perch. Its centerpiece statue represents a legendary pair of lovers — an intrepid hunter and a fairy who transformed herself into a deer to enchant him.

AFTERNOON
  • Market Daze.

    Have lunch prepared before your eyes at Chunyuan Seafood Square, the open-air market where vendors sell everything from shrimp to sea urchins, snapper to scallops.

  • Be a Lounge Act.

    After all that exploring, it’s time to relax! Choose a pool from the four options at The Ritz-Carlton Sanya, Yalong Bay — will it be the beachfront infinity-edge pool, one of the lagoon pools with cabanas, or the Ritz Kids pool with slides and water sprayers?

EVENING
  • An All-Star Ending.

    Forbes Travel Guide calls Sofia “Sanya’s one and only notable Italian restaurant,” which confirms it as an ideal place for your final dinner in the city. Then walk down to Sand beach bar and toast your vacation.