As you'd expect, the beach is at the heart of Sanya's social scene. The upscale beach hotels are home to the city's townier bars and dance floors, though they're not necessarily the most fun—the beach scene and city itself are both cheaper and more likely to give you a night to remember. Your best bet for a night out is to follow your nose, check out open-air restaurants and bars and mingle until you find the party... or it finds you.
Bars & Clubs
As dusk deepens, people hit the streets for a breath of cool evening air and a bit of sociable mingling. Open-air restaurants abound and are a good place to start an evening's revelries. Sanya's high end resort and hotels offer nightly entertainment, dancing and DJs.
Sports & Recreation
Sanya may be the best place to scuba dive and snorkel in China. Underwater visibility ranges up to twenty-some meters, depending on conditions (generally at least as good as an average day in Beijing, and with far cleaner air). Scuba training is available at a number of spots. Other popular beach activities are also on tap, from surfing to volleyball to parasailing to jet skiing. Be aware that local safety standards, while generally more than adequate, tend not to be up to the obsessive level often encountered in the West. Some will find this refreshing, others may find it less so.
Museums & Galleries
Sanya is home to China's largest private museum: The Sanya Zhuoyuetianya Museum of Paleontologic Fossils (Sānyà Zhuóyuè Tiānyá Gǔshēngwù Huàshí Bówùguǎn, 三亚卓越天涯古生物化石博物馆) contains more than 300 fossils, including some impressive dinosaur bones (great for the kids). There's also a smaller Shell Museum (Bèiké Bówùguǎn, 贝壳博物馆) located in east Yalong Bay. Most of the shells can be found either on the beach or at the countless number of gift shops located in the area, but check it out if you'd like to see them all at once and on display.
Festivals & Events
Sanya is home to an increasing array of festivals and glitzy events, from frequent Miss World pageants to the World's Strongest Man competition to the curious annual mass-wedding Ends of the Earth Marriage Festival. In November, crews from around the world compete in the Sanya Sailing Race on the waters of Dadonghai Bay. Getting off the beach, the September Nan Shan Mountain Culture Festival celebrates health and longevity with dance performances, mountain climbing and Tai-chi exhibitions among other activities. A new entry to the island's annual schedule is the April Yalong Bay Beach Jazz Festival, and more events promise to develop as Sanya solidifies its reputation as China's tropical playground.
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