Hainan Dao
An island paradise in the South China Sea

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I recently read an article in the New York Times saying that Hainan Dao (dao is Chinese for island) is one of the undiscovered paradises, in the world.  Apparently, no Russians, Chinese, or Americans who have lived in China work for the Times since they have been going there for years.  In fact, most of the signage in Sanya, the popular town, on the south side of the island is in Chinese and Russian.  We went in mid-January, which is, apparently, the height of the Russian tourist season.  Even at that time of year, the weather was quite pleasant, and the water was warm.  I even got a tan!

We stayed in the Yulin Bay area of Dadonghai, east of the city proper, but it was actually near enough to town to get there by long walk: taxi's are plentiful and inexpensive, and they try to beat each other out to get to you, if you look like you need one.  For the first few nights, we stayed at the Linda Sea View Hotel, in a two-room suite with a kitchen for about 250 per night.  After that, we decided to stay a few extra days, and it was quite easy to find another room in a condo-hotel, right off the beach for the same type of room at the same price.  In fact, we just walked around for a bit and looked at and priced rooms, then, took a moto-taxi to the new condo unit, right off the beach.

We ate at a few restaurants in the Dadonghai district where we were staying, but we got the worst food poisoning I have ever had at the Long Good Seafood Restaurant (Xin Shui Jing Gong) on the water at the east end of the bay.  Then, we discovered the Mediterranean Restaurant on Xihe Road, along the river in Sanya proper, run by a nice Sicilian boy named Giuseppe and his Chinese wife.  It was really good food, and we kept going back, again and again.  On Dadonghai there were a number of bars and even an outdoor Russian disco in the gardens by the beach.

In Dadonghai there is a shopping center, in the center of the area, just off the beach, and a bunch of shops and restaurants on the little back streets plus a nice cafe with good coffee and treats that's open late.  The best place to shop is an outdoor shopping street closed to cars (called walking street on some websites) near the corner of Jie Fang and Xin Feng roads on Sanya proper.  There are all sorts of little stands with all kinds of crafts at reasonable prices.  There are also some indoor malls in that area, but by taking the simple action of walking indoors, the prices for some of the same things that are offered outside quadruple.

We hear that you can also go up into the mountains outside of Sanya and visit pineapple plantations, temples and tombs, if that is the kind of thing that you want to do.

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