Destinations Magazine

Destination: Sanya, China!

By Josephharrison1990 @JTAH_1990

With time to spare, Sanya became its own 'Destination' without me even realising so! From a very large rock formation on the beach to Phoenix Island, I loved every single Sanya moment! Breaking up my time between the beach and the city centre, I found a place to get boozy outdoors with the ocean just across the road. I tried some fresh seafood and yet more coconuts! 

Destination: Sanya, China!

I had originally planned to visit Sanya during December 2016 but Yunnan Province won that holiday title. It didn't take me all that long to realize that I was within walking distance from 'Tianya Haijiao' (天涯海角). I decided to apply for my QR Code during my first full morning whilst I was staying in nearby 'Tianya Xiao Zhen' (天涯小镇), it didn't take me long at all to reach that Tourism Scenic Area from my village-like homestay. I could tell instantly when those huge rocks came into view because people had already lost their senses, the incessant need for them to secure their selfies didn't shock me. For me it was pure luck, I had to literally lunge in with my iPhone in-order to take a half-decent photo. Madness or what?! Like, the beach looked idyllic with the mornings skies serving nothing but 'Azul' blueness. People really needed to chill out because what was so special about such rocks beside the sea? Allow me to consult the internet because for me it was truly just a photo opportunity, literally a pretty beach picture! S, 真的吗? 

A popular honeymoon hotspot? Apparently so! Other than an popular hangout for newlyweds, Tianya Haijiao is popular with all types of Chinese tourists because it is said to be the southernmost part of China's Mainland? Please, I don't have an exact source to verify that claim. I appreciated that beach rock formation with attention paid, although I didn't understand the hype? I looked towards the sea with other rocks in view, it was still quite remarkable to see how fired up they were to get a photo of the hottest rock in Sanya! Translating from Chinese to 'Edges of the Heaven', 'Corners of the Sea', I had already forgotten about the hype because I had discovered other rocks near the waters, I wanted to share my focus with those lesser visited rocks because 'Tianya Haijiao' didn't need to be hogged! For a free visit, I loved the fact that I had only took a small portion of my morning to explore that rock-focused beach area. Heading into the city center was something that I needed to do, to the bus stop I went! I was loving life! 

Destination: Sanya, China!

My sleepy 'Tianya Town' location felt like paradise, I wanted to breakout from those gated boundaries with the city center in mind. Taking a bus down the coast allowed me to venture into Sanya's city center with ease, taking the bus felt like a new thing because buses aren't my thing usually. Getting to the city center felt amazing, I was able to find a bar on my go-to APP that would provide me with some city appropriate views. Finding that bar felt like a blessing, how the warm air suited the outdoor deckchairs that were set along the pavement. Taking in the city scenes allowed me to see a fair few characters who were going about their nighttime business. I had a desire to find some seafood whilst I was beside the sea on that Chinese tropical island, that link would be in my possession soon enough. Soju became my best friend, being one of those open fridge bars, I made the most of those easily accessible strong drinks. I knew that food would need to be sourced, those Korean drinks were really strong, as usual! Oh, summer nights! 

Confirming that seafood night market with the owner of the self-serve bar set me on the right track! What to eat though? Taking a taxi around the corner was the right thing to do, that night market wasn't all that far from the bar I was at. Now, I wasn't about to try anything outlandish, I simply ordered some fresh prawns. Yes, those freshly caught prawns were alive and cooked to order. I separated their connection between life and death because most of us eat things that have come to the end of their life, that is just how we eat. I loved those prawns, they were delicious, having a can of beer had to be done, I wanted to complete my dining experience. I was yet again the only Non-Chinese person in the jaunt, that is just how things are right now. Desert had to be something coconut! I really loved my coconut ice cream, it was served in a coconut shell to taste. I had done my part of seafood dining for the trip, I felt content with that fresher than fresh taste test. Those 红丹毛, I needed to find them! Another trip to the city? Yes, Sanya! 

Destination: Sanya, China!

My time on Hainan Island was running out fast, I wanted to venture back into the city for one last knees up! No stalling, I took that penny bus back into the big lights of Sanya's Downtown core. I wanted some of those 'Hong Dan Mao' fruits in my life, sure I had other plans but I wanted those fruits first! The bus? Oh, that was when I was in the city, what am I even chatting about? No! That DiDi taxi allowed me to practice my Chinese language skills, those Sanya based drivers had already proved themselves to be rather chatty. Rocking up to that wholesale market allowed to find those colourful fruit stalls. I scoured for those red fruits, apparently they were like Lychee? I was about to be the judge of that! My go-to APP had hooked me up with that market area, I was about to get something more than fruit sorted. Truth is that those fruits looked so delicious, there was something about those humid and hot temperatures even after the rain. Getting those fruits really made me feel accomplished, a self-fulfilling accomplishment.   

I was very conscious that the new school year would hit me like a hangover, I thought it was a clever idea to get my haircut. Making the most of those cheaper prices, I got my haircut without question! That cut price style surprised because the barber didn't do a bad job at all, I was actually very impressed. For me it was a handy thing to do, Sanya already knew that reality would hit me in the head like a punch with a knuckle-duster. I now look back and appreciate that forward thinking. Back on the bus I went, actually that was my first bus of the day. I wanted to make that late afternoon visit count, heading back down towards the water would only do, I knew where I wanted to go! Sanya had already served much more than I had previously anticipated, that coastal provincial city kept on serving new things. The beauty about this unlikely 'Destination' was that everything had been truly unexpected. Sure, one more evening on the sauce would be possible, I wanted to drink up! Sanya kept me humble by taking the bus! 

Destination: Sanya, China!

Originally back in 2016, I had booked to stay for a couple of nights on Phoenix Island but life changed that decision. If truth be told, the price of that room really didn't justify the less than one week stay. I decided to take that trip elsewhere, fast forward to 2023 and with my return to China cemented I knew that during that first summer I would make those Sanya dreams come true. Keeping my distance, I had no plans to cross that bridge over to the island itself because I was able to see those four hotel buildings from the beach opposite and a newly finished promenade area. As the sun set on that vista, I felt no guilt about how life had guided me back to that Sanya view but in real time. I loved staying in Tianya Town with that almost private beach going on, being on Phoenix Island overlooking the city would've created a completely different vibe for me! No, I was content with that Phoenix Island view from where I was standing. Feeling at peace with such a magnificent view, I made my way back to a familiar haunt. Food first, OK! 

Recalculating my route, I made my way back to that familiar street-side bar because I had some unfinished business to attend to. After eating something for tea next door, I went back to get myself my first bottle of Soju of the evening. I soaked in every second, I even got the chance to speak with the same Korean man who had spoken to me before during my previous visit. He was on his way home and sat to talk with me, he worked in a hotel and told me that his parents had made the journey to China many years ago. That was great because I had not long booked my comeback trip to Seoul and Busan, South Korea. I drank three more bottles of Soju during that night and then that was me and Sanya done! Making my way back to my Tianya Town hotel wasn't a problem, I managed to find a ride-hailing taxi without any issues. Sanya served something different, it served beach and city at the same time with something extra thrown into the mix. Here's to that secret something kind of 'Destination!' That hangover was everything! 

A Destination Unknown! 

Desperately Seeking Adventure

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