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Hainan Island, 285km (171 miles) S of Haikou

Sanya's white-sand beaches are the nicest in China, but that is not saying much. Even if the resorts here were half the price they would still be able to compete with a beach holiday in Thailand. In fact, there's not much to do here, and the town itself very dirty and unfriendly for a supposed tourist town. The majority of foreign tourists here are Russians, a surly bunch that do not seem to mind the equally miserable locals. Other Europeans tend rarely set foot out of their expensive resorts, which seems to defeat the object of coming all the way to China in the first place. December through February is the peak season.