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Shed your coat and soak up the blast of hot air that greets you in Sanya, China’s trop­i­cal par­adise on Hainan Is­land. Just laze around, soak up the beauty, try the cui­sine and rev up an eco-dune buggy, writes Yue Chen

Shanghai Daily - - STYLEHAI -

Af­ter a whole year of hard work, it’s time to find a place to chill out and recharge the bat­ter­ies. Where to spend the va­ca­tion? Trop­i­cal par­adises come to mind: Hawaii, the Mal­dives, Phuket, Thai­land, and Bali, In­done­sia. Fi­nally we chose Sanya, a city sit­u­ated in the same lat­i­tude as Hawaii and en­joy­ing gor­geous Yalong Bay. Good weather, lush green, fan­tas­tic food — it’s got the lot.

Most im­por­tant — we can en­joy ex­otic trop­ics with­out leav­ing home and with­out pay­ing too much dur­ing the fes­tive sea­son.

Sanya, only three hours’ flight from Shang­hai, lies in the south­ern­most tip of Hainan Is­land. Blessed with year-round sun­shine, sandy beaches and com­ple­mented by a mix of cul­tures and cus­toms, it is truly amaz­ing and re­fresh­ing.

We stop off the air­craft from chilly Shang­hai: A wave of heat greets us. Shed­ding our heavy down coats, we feel re­laxed at once and head straight to tran­quil Yalong Bay.

If you’d like to cush­ion your­self from the real world for a while, the Sher­a­ton Sanya Re­sort per­fectly fits the bill. It has 511 rooms, three restau­rants, a cou­ple of bars, a num­ber of swim­ming pools and a long white sandy beach.

En­ter­ing the ho­tel, we im­me­di­ately feel at home. When a staff mem­ber spots you, you can ex­pect to be greeted: “Hello, how are you?”

We choose a su­pe­rior seav­iew room. From the bal­cony, the view is stun­ning: end­less rolling hills, serene gulfs, clear blue sea and sil­very sand beaches — three times as long as that in Hawaii.

Look­ing down, there’s a lush trop­i­cal gar­den with sway­ing palm trees, la­gu­nas wind­ing through the gar­den, and a 18-meter-tall Christ­mas tree (said to be the tallest in Yalong Bay) in the cen­ter of the re­sort.

The landscaping was de­signed by a Bali com­pany, so you may feel the mood of that south­ern In­done­sian is­land.

Swim­ming, read­ing, sun­bathing, eat­ing, drink­ing, sleep­ing — no e-mail, no con­fer­ence calls, no pa­per­work — we don’t feel the pas­sage of time in this nat­u­ral set­ting of sands, crys­tal sea wa­ter, end­less seashore and pris­tine veg­e­ta­tion.

Af­ter we recharge a bit, we try some beach and wa­ter sports: beach vol­ley­ball, kayak­ing, scuba div­ing, deep sea fish­ing and many oth­ers.

The area pro­tects its coral reefs and you go snor­kel­ing to ap­pre­ci­ate the beau­ti­ful for­ma­tions, with many kinds of trop­i­cal fish of fan­tas­tic col­ors and shapes. The clear wa­ter al­lows you to see 10 me­ters’ depth from the sur­face. We try a beach buggy,...

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