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Sun, sand, sleep
From LAX, connecting service (change of plane) to Sanya is available on China Eastern, China Southern, Air China and Cathay Pacific. Restricted round-trip fares begin at $2,022.
To call the numbers below from the U.S., dial 011 (the international dialing code), 86 (country code for China), 899 (the area code in Sanya) or 898 (the area code in Xinglong and Haikou) and the local number.
Traveling around Hainan on your own is not easy or cheap. If you plan to see the island, join a tour group, which will shuttle you efficiently between sites.
WHERE TO STAY:
We stayed at a guesthouse that we can't recommend to Western travelers. Sanya and Dadonghai, five minutes outside Sanya, are packed with moderate to expensive hotels. If you visit during the summer, haggle because you may get great discounts, even at posh places.
Universal Resort, Yalong Bay National Resort District, Sanya; 8856-6666, http://www.asiatravel.com/china/sanya/universal/ . With African-Asian décor, this hotel sports a little more personality than many of China's tourist resorts. Set close to the gorgeous Yalong Bay beach, it's a great place for those who don't mind being a half-hour bus or taxi ride from town. Doubles in the summertime start at about $48 for a standard room plus breakfast for two. Ask for Mary, the front desk manager, who speaks English.
South China Hotel, Dadonghai, Sanya; 8821-9888. Doubles from $33. This place, right next to Dadonghai beach and five minutes from Sanya proper, is popular with both foreign and Chinese tourists.
Kangle Garden Resort, Xinglong, Wanning, Hainan, 6256-8888, http://www.sinohotel.com/ (click on Wanning, then Kangle Garden Resort). The front desk quoted a price of about $72 over the phone, but you may be able to get doubles as low as $34 online.
WHERE TO EAT:
Some of the most interesting eateries are makeshift seafood restaurants along Yalong Bay, where you can choose fresh catch out of tanks. Cost can vary, so be sure to have your dinner weighed and priced before you give the go-ahead to the cook.
Ke Ke Liang Leng Ba, on Jiefang Lu, Sanya, offers cheap, tasty, Western-style breakfasts. About 75 cents will get you two eggs and two pieces of toast with jam. A cup of fresh Xinglong coffee runs about 65 cents.
Small Wood House, on Dadonghai's central square. Has picnic tables and swinging chairs that afford a great beach view. It serves delicious wonton soup for little more than a dollar, as well as coffee, alcoholic beverages and assorted barbecue items.
TO LEARN MORE:
China National Tourist Office, (818) 545-7507, http://www.cnto.org .
— Bethany Beaupain