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