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    China’s Hainan province is a little-known island paradise that's blessed with pristine tropical landscapes featuring palm-fringed, white-sand beaches, crystal-clear water and lush rainforests that hide sleepy villages. From the relaxed hippy vibe of the east coast to the see-and-be-seen beaches lined with world-class resorts of the south, this under-the-radar destination offers something for almost every type of beachgoer.

    More than just sunbathing, there are plenty of adventure water sports available like scuba diving, snorkelling, surfing and kite surfing. Plan a trip between November and February when it’s the driest season and the best time for surfing. These months, however, are the prime holiday period for Chinese travellers, especially over Chinese New Year.

    1

    Yalong Bay

    Swim, snorkel and relax on China’s favourite beach

    Crescent-shaped Yalong Bay lies approximately 25 km east of popular Sanya and offers visitors 7 km of soft white sand and warm, crystal-clear waters. Surrounded by green rolling hills, the bay is considered one of the most picturesque beaches in China.

    Although the beach is lined with luxury resorts, it is less crowded than other beaches in Hainan, and the vibe is more laid back. Besides swimming and suntanning, you can snorkel or scuba dive between coral reefs and enjoy a host of different water sports. Be sure to try the unique local seafood dishes sold in the central plaza. To reach Yalong Bay, you can take a taxi or a local bus.

    Poloha: Sanya, Hainan, China

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    2

    Sanya Bay

    For nighttime beach vibes

    Sanya Bay stretches for 22 km on the south coast of Hainan province, just steps from the city centre of Sanya. During the day – and particularly during Chinese New Year and other peak seasons – the beach is packed with mostly mainland Chinese visitors, so it’s not an ideal spot for water sports or a tranquil beach day. At night, however, the beach is a fantastic place for a cool evening stroll and to watch locals dancing on the beach.

    Stop at any of the restaurants which line the beach to sample sizzling seafood dishes. For a fun adventure, rent a bicycle and ride along the Coconut Dream Corridor, a scenic seaside road that hugs Sanya Bay for about 20 km.

    Poloha: Sanya, Hainan, China

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    fotografia od Shizhao (CC BY-SA 3.0) upravené

    3

    Dadonghai Beach

    A perfect combination of sea, sun and local life

    Sporting coconut palms, soft white sand and sparkling blue seawater, Dadonghai Beach is a stunning spot to spend the day. The scenic beach lies between rolling green hills, about 4 km southeast of downtown Sanya, and is popular with local visitors. Plan your visit out of peak season to bask peacefully in the sun.

    You can rent chairs and umbrellas from many of the shops nearby and there’s a lovely shaded boardwalk that runs parallel to the beach. At night, mingle with locals who come to Dadonghai Beach to eating crabs at the beachside restaurants.

    Poloha: Sanya, Hainan, China

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    4

    West Island

    Visit a traditional fishing village

    West Island lies in Sanya Bay in the south of Hainan and is home to some 3,000 residents who have subsisted on fishing for generations. The island is a tropical paradise and boasts stunning beachscapes with pristine white sand, palm trees and clear water. Underwater visibility can reach up to 15 metres, allowing snorkelers and scuba divers to enjoy the colourful marine life and coral reefs.

    After you’ve basked in the sun, swum in the warm waters and enjoyed the multitude of water sports available (including boat rides, kayaking and jet skiing), visit the West Island Fishing Village. Once an ancient village, it’s now a ‘creative art cultural fishing village’, complete with beautiful street art. It is possible to stay the night on the island if you’re happy with basic homestay accommodation.

    Poloha: West Island, Sanya, Hainan, China

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    5

    Houhai Beach

    Surf and bask in island life

    Houhai Beach is a tranquil little spot that extends for 2 km behind the sleepy Tenghai village. The bay is surrounded by forested hills and is ideal if you’re looking to get away from big beach crowds. Walk along the golden sand at sunrise to watch the fishermen coming and going. Alternatively, hike into the hills for a picnic.

    The area is popular with the local surfing community – the waves here are perfect for beginner surfers. You can rent boards from any guesthouse in town or attend lessons organised by the surf schools. You can also hire a kayak and go in search of secluded snorkelling spots.

    Poloha: Haitang, Sanya, Hainan, China

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    6

    Riyue Bay

    Best spot for surfing in Hainan

    Riyue Bay is a quiet seaside village that sits halfway between Sanya and Bo’ao on the east coast of Hainan. The bay is pristine, and with slate-blue waters and consistent breaks suitable for all levels, it’s considered the best place to surf in Hainan.

    The beachside restaurant run by Surfing Hainan rents surfboards and wetsuits, and also offers lessons for beginners. If you want to see the pros in action, the beach hosts International Surfing Association competitions throughout the year, including the ISA World Longboard Surfing Championship regularly in January and the ISA World StandUp Paddle and Paddleboard Championships in November.

    Poloha: Wanning, Hainan, China

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    7

    Shimei Bay

    Escape the crowds in affordable luxury

    Shimei Bay is a wild stretch of coastline surrounded by 4,000-year-old evergreens. The bay is located on the southeast coast of Hainan, near Wanning City. Several large resorts line sections of the golden-sand beach, so if you’re looking for affordable luxury, this is the perfect spot to spend a couple of days.

    From swimming in blue, warm waters and collecting shells to fishing and paragliding, the bay offers visitors a variety of relaxing and adventurous activities. The gorgeous seascape, with tall coconut trees and charming Li Minority Group fishing houses, led the World Tourism Organization to name Shimei Bay the ‘most beautiful unexploited bay in Hainan.’

    Poloha: Wanning, Hainan, China

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    8

    Wuzhizhou Island

    For underwater adventures

    Wuzhizhou Island embodies all that is perfect about Hainan: white-sand beaches, year-round warm weather, lush vegetation and crystal clear water teeming with tropical marine life. It’s a 20-minute ferry ride from the mainland off Haitang Bay. Boasting one of the best-preserved coral reefs in China, this idyllic spot is a paradise for snorkelling and scuba diving, particularly for first-timers. Diving options range from a half-hour taster session to a full-day course.

    The island is well-developed and well-equipped with bars, seafood restaurants and hotels. Staying the night means you can watch the sunrise from Sunrise Rock on the southeast cliff of the island. Being high on the bucket list of Chinese tourists, expect bigger crowds here compared to other beaches on Hainan. Ferries leave approximately every 30 minutes, starting from 8am, from Houhai pier.

    Poloha: Haitang, Sanya, Hainan, China

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    9

    Bo'ao Bay

    Learn how to kitesurf

    Bo'ao Bay sits on the east coast of Hainan, where the Jiuqu, Longgun and Wanqua rivers join to flow into the South China Sea. The long and narrow golden-sand beach is just a 5-minute walk from the town's main road and is popular with kitesurfers.

    The northern stretch of the beach is lined with luxury resorts and kitesurf schools; it's also the best spot to swim as the currents here aren't so strong. The quaint beach is also home to some excellent seafood restaurants like Sea Story, Bo'ao's most famous restaurant that's beautifully themed, with old boats that you can sit in.

    Poloha: Qionghai, Hainan, China

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    10

    Haitang Bay

    Lunch at a floating restaurant

    Haitang Bay is one of 5 major bays in Sanya, and although the beach is lined with luxury resorts and hotels, it's much quieter compared to other beaches in the vicinity. Swap the sea and sand for a few hours and head to the China Duty-Free Mall, the world’s largest duty-free shopping centre.

    You can also have a fresh seafood lunch at one of the floating restaurants set up on large platforms in the boat-dwelling Dan communities. These villages have existed in the provinces of southern China for centuries. You can access the water village in Tielugan via Houhai Pier, a 40-minute drive from Sanya.

    Poloha: Haitang, Sanyai, Hainan, China

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    fotografia od Neil Young (CC BY-SA 2.0) upravené

    Jacqui de Klerk | Prispievateľ/-ka

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