Yes, China boasts its own tropical paradise on Hainan Island in the South China Sea. So far, the only foreigners who seem to be in on the secret are fun-seekers from Russia. The city of Sanya stretches across a crescent of sand in a protected bay and is one of the country’s southernmost population centers. About twice the size of Honolulu, it serves as the focal point for beach-going adventure among the growing clusters of resorts within an hour of the city’s airport.
WHERE TO STAY: The cozy and well-kept Captain’s House Hostel in nearby Dadonghai Bay is the backpacker haven of the Sanya area. Rates start at $17 a night. For more of a more traditional resort stay, try the Sanya Resort—complete with swimming pool, steakhouse, and its own private stretch of beach. Rates start at $225.