What to see, do and eat among the man­groves on a fam­ily trip to Sanya

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - HOSPITALITY -

In win­ter­time, when haze, cold air and a year of hard work has worn us out, a re­treat to trop­i­cal beaches be­comes ever more al­lur­ing. Such a des­ti­na­tion would be an espe­cially easy op­tion for fam­i­lies, since par­ents can re­lax and watch their chil­dren keep them­selves busy with wa­ter games and sand.

To f i n d o u t h o w b e s t t o en­joy such a break, be­sides a frolic among the waves,

re­cently in­ter­viewed three ho­tels, The Ritz-Carl­ton, St. Regis and Banyan Tree in Sanya — a beach city with two rivers and em­braced by moun­tains in Hainan prov­ince.

Here are some ac­tiv­i­ties we rec­om­mend for fam­i­lies stay­ing in and vis­it­ing the ar­eas around the ho­tels.

A river ca­noe ride

If you don’t want to just post pic­tures of the mel­low waves or white sands in Sanya on your so­cial apps, ca­noe­ing in a river flanked by red man­groves, known as the for­est on the sea, might in­ter­est you in­stead.

Man­groves are shrubs or small trees that grow in coastal saline or brack­ish wa­ter. The Qing­meigang Red Man­grove Nat­u­ral Pro­tec­tion Zone is in the back­yard of the St. Regis ho­tel in Sanya.

Coaches from the ho­tel will show you the right po­si­tion to grip your oar and how to turn. With their guid­ance, you can pro­pel your­self along the river to see the man­grove roots ris­ing above the wa­ter.

It is al­ways a fun ex­pe­ri­ence when­ever you ca­noe close to man­grove swamp. You can take a pic­ture of a white egret fly­ing across your path, while flocks of fid­dler crabs with over­grown claws will im­me­di­ately scam­per away into holes.

Chil­dren over 3 years old can get in­volved.

Be­sides ca­noe­ing, fam­i­lies can ride St. Regis’ own posh yacht to en­joy sea winds and lay down for a sun tan­ning ses­sion.

En­joy­ing pri­vacy

The ul­ti­mate sense of pri­vacy and seclu­sion can be found in the Banyan Tree ho­tel, which is within walk­ing dis­tance of the Luhuitou Scenic Park.

The ho­tel is so big that you have to ride bugg y cars to move from the lobby to your house, while pass­ing by the pri­vate beach, pools and gar­dens. How­ever, it only serves 49 vil­las, each with an in­door pool, a mas­sage tub and bath­tubs.

Ev­ery villa is sep­a­rated by wa­ter and green­ery to pro­vide ab­so­lute pri­vacy. One can even bathe un­der the starry sky.

When­ever you slide open the glass door and step out of the bed­room, you can walk, or plunge, into the in­door pool with steps, which is safe and wel­com­ing to chil­dren.

Time with kids

The Ritz-Carl­ton in Sanya demon­strates there are so many ac­tiv­i­ties par­ents can do to­gether with their chil­dren in a re­sort ho­tel, since time is not a prob­lem.

In the evenings, when the ris­ing moon draws the tide high, it is time for the ho­tel’s fa­vorite game of fol­low­ing the in­struc­tor to catch crabs washed ashore.

Since most of the crabs are small, trans­par­ent and move very quickly, find­ing one with a flash­light along a dark beach is not easy. Par­ents will very likely be as ex­cited as their chil­dren when catch­ing one.

For chil­dren who want to gain marine knowl­edge, the ho­tel or­ga­nizes mul­ti­me­dia classes that in­clude shark, whale and sea tur­tle feed­ing lessons in its toy-filled chil­dren’s cen­ter.

Fo r t h o s e w h o p r e f e r a hands-on ex­pe­ri­ence, chil­dren can make a pic­ture us­ing but­tons, cook sweet bis­cuits or as­sem­ble healthy sushi dishes.

When night falls, par­ents can read sto­ries in the chil­dren’s sleep­ing tent or be­side the pool to wrap up the day.

Eat­ing lo­cal

Vis­it­ing a lo­cal mar­ket in Sanya doesn’ t just in­volve learn­ing about lo­cal peo­ple’s lives. It can be a mini tour of marine an­i­mals or trop­i­cal fruit, to show your chil­dren what they look and taste like.

The No 1 Agri­cul­tural Prod­ucts Mar­ket, which is a 10-minute drive from the Banyan Tree ho­tel, is the busiest one ac­cord­ing to lo­cals who shop there.

While your chil­dren ex­am­ine abalones, lob­sters and fish that have teeth, for which you don’t know the names, you can bag your bar­gains to go.

T h e Haw a i i a n s c a l l o p s , about 40 yuan ($5.80) per kilo­gram, and greasy­back shrimp, 30 yuan per kilo­gram, can be cooked ac­cord­ing to your pref­er­ence by small restau­rants around the mar­ket.

PHO­TOS PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

St. Regis Sanya in­tro­duces ca­noe­ing for fam­ily guests.

Banyan Tree fea­tures pic­turesque set­tings and val­ues pri­vacy in its de­sign.

The Ritz-Carl­ton pro­vides a sleep­ing tent in the guest room for chil­dren to sat­isfy their de­sire for an ad­ven­ture.

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