China's Natural Beauty: Beaches

I travel to China twice a year for work, but never escape the sprawling cities. I’d like to extend my stay next time, and go hiking, or snorkeling, or mountain climbing—something outdoorsy. Where should I go?

Feb 27, 2013
Outside Magazine
china travel hainan beaches

Hainan has some of the best beaches in Asia.    Photo: Aleksander Karpenko/Shutterstock


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.