If Qingdao was characterised by a freezing fog, then “China’s Hawaii” will offer something a little more welcoming when the race makes its second visit to the country.
Sitting on the southern tip of Hainan province, this idyllic tropical city rarely has a daytime temperature of less than 23°C, even at the height of winter. As such, it is rated one of the best spots in the country for relaxation and water sports (Yalong Bay is recommended for the former and Wuzhizhou Island the latter), with clear blue seas and miles of sandy beaches. Hiking is also popular with visitors to Sanya, the mountains offering some challenging yet stunning paths. For golfers like Ken Read, Sanya has 11 courses, two of which are included in the famous Yalong Bay NationalResort.
“It is beautiful,” was the summary of Guo Chuan, the first Chinese sailor to participate in the race. “I am from Qingdao but Sanya is a much nicer place to go in winter! There is a lot to do there and the weather is always good.”
Sanya also has a proud cultural history, dating back to the Qin Dynasty (221 BC – 206 BC), and the Guan Yin of the South Sea of Sanya statue shouldn’t be missed (literally, as it is 108 metres tall, making it the fourth highest in the world).
Romantics are often advised to head for Luhuitou Park, a peninsula some five kilometers from Sanya’s urban centre. Legend has it (by that, we mean Wikipedia) that a hunter once chased a deer to this headland. Cornered, the deer turned to face the hunter and then morphed into a beautiful woman and the man could not kill her. As such, Luhuitou is known as a place for lovers, couples often visiting a statue at the site and leaving a padlock on a chain in the hope that their love will last.
Did you know: Sanya has hosted the Miss World competition on four occasions,in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2007, as well as Mister World in 2007. It also hosted the World’s Strongest Man event in 2006.