A 5 minute walk along a bright and leafy alley is all you need to go from one of China’s most beautiful white sandy beaches to one of China’s liveliest island hostels, the Blue Sky International Youth Hostel. Sanya is well known all over China for having the most pristine beaches around. Sure, this place is no Thailand in terms of nightlife but nevertheless, as many people who live in Asia are already aware, you can have a memorable and fun filled vacation time here if you know where to stay.
Sanya is located on China’s southernmost island, Hainan. The island enjoys a moderately warm climate year round but does have a rainy season from May to October. The beach atmosphere in China is different from other beaches and it’s relatively calm, especially if you have ever frequented the beaches of Southeast Asia. Most of the nightlife is concentrated around a few bars with pool tables since most beach side restaurants tend to close early. That's why it’s important to stay in a hostel that has activities and people that you can meet and hang out with; otherwise, you’ll be spending your vacation alone. Despite being one of China’s most popular beaches, during the day it's surprisingly easy to find the perfect spot in the sun. Sanya is an interesting vacation spot because most of the tourists are Russian and Chinese, so most of the menus are only available in these two languages. Not to worry, the restaurants have the best selection of fresh seafood around and you will spend your days eating the most delicious fish and gigantic shrimp and lobster you have tried.
Blue Sky International Youth Hostel is a big sky-blue building on the side of a long and leafy alley. There are several floors of brightly painted rooms in varying occupancies. If you are traveling with someone, it’s about the same price per person to go ahead and rent your own room with a private shower instead of a dorm bed. They have dorm beds available, or doubles, triples and quads.
When I went, the common area walls were graffiti’d with every language imaginable, praising the hostel and offering tips and indications of “who was here.” The staff will even give you a marker color of your choice so that you may also leave your mark. They also have WI-FI and an Internet room but the nice thing about this place is that on the bottom floor they have a little café area where you can have a coffee or a beer.
What makes this place better than other hostels in the area is the activities they offer from the hostel. There are all sorts of day trips to Monkey Island, for example, and various other locations on the island. Peter, the owner, speaks English and will make you feel right at home. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable and always willing to help you. But the best is in the evening: they have fabulous seafood BBQ with a magnificently priced array of grilled shellfish and fish. All you need to do is sign up and bring your own drinks. It’s a great way to meet everyone and there are always interesting people from all over the world. Like other hostels in China, it’s not uncommon to be sitting around a table with ten or more nationalities represented as you peel your grilled shrimp and tooth-scrape the shells of the mussels.
Just around the corner, is what I like to refer to as “Juice Alley”, where you have your choice of any number of tropical fruits, some of which are unrecognizable, to have made into the most deliciously satisfying smoothie you have ever tried. You can even choose mangos, bananas, strawberries, etc, and watch as they press, stir and fold the mixture over and over again in a shiny silver pan until it becomes a sorbet of sorts, ready to cool you off from the blazing Sanya sun.
While you might not find Sanya to be as exciting as other beaches in Asia where you have been, this is definitely the place to be in China! This hostel will give you the best time around at the beach for a reasonable price. You can book online here.
Sanya Blue Sky International Hostel
NO.1 Lanhai Alley, Haiyun Road, Dadonghai District, Sanya
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