Idyllic Rural Tourism: the not-to-be missed villages of Sanya

By / HIMC / Updated: 21:59,19-June-2022

Sanya–for most people–is a hot young city famous for its beaches, entertainment and shopping, and international cruise port.

However, there’s more to this city than initially meets the eye. Once you get outside the more ordinary tourism destinations, you will find all sorts of extraordinary things. Where the green hills meet the blue sea, the local people of rural Sanya are an inseparable part of the idyllic natural landscape. Leaving their homes at sunrise and coming back at sunset, they have—in the face of the modern world’s fast paced development—managed to preserve both their traditional customs and the natural environment.

Sanya City’s Tianya District is famous both as a place where the “sea meets the sky” and where romance is always in the air. Some of the better known tourism sites here include “Tianya Haijiao” (a series of beachside boulders with calligraphy inscriptions), and the picturesque coconut dream corridor. Tianya District also has numerous small villages and towns just waiting to be explored.

1.Maling Community

Located about 22km from downtown Sanya, Maling Community (also known as “Little Santorini”) is located just off the national road on the way to Nanshan Buddhist Temple. Sharing the same coastal features as Tianya Haijiao, Maling is bordered by Sanya to the east and the ocean to the south. Covering a total area of roughly 4km², the nearby West Island has long been a popular destination for visitors.

Because of its white and blue architecture framed by blue skies and white clouds, tourists and locals alike have come to call this Sanya’s “Santorini".

2.Hongtang Village

Located on the outskirts of Sanya, from Hongtang Village to downtown is only about 15 kilometers; and from the village to Phoenix International Airport a mere 8 kilometers. Surrounded by mountains on three sides and facing the ocean on the fourth, the village is conveniently located near western Sanya’s most famous tourist sites: Tianya Haijiao and Nanshan Buddhist Temple.

The conditions of geography and history have led to a wealth of cultural stories in and about Hongtang. Some of the famous people who were recorded as having visited here during their time on Hainan Island include Huang Daopo (a Chinese textiles pioneer), Monk Jianzhen (a Tang Dynasty monk famous for his travels in Japan), Su Dongpo (a great statesman, artist, and poet from the Northern Song Dynasty).

In ancient times, Hongtang Bay was also the starting point of the a trade route which helped spread China's craftsmanship and culture throughout the world. Known as the “Maritime Silk Road”, the varying degrees of impact which this route had on the countries and regions it passed through cannot be downplayed for the role it would play in the development of the world economy.

Over many thousands of years the ancestors of the people of Hongtang were born by the sea; exploring the currents, they created a distinct marine culture and unique style. 

3.Wenmen Village 

Wenmen Village was one of the historical points along the "Tianya Post Road". Primarily inhabited by members of the Li ethnic group, historical record shows that this village—which was one of the second batch of national key rural tourism villages—has a history of more than 1,400 years.

The hardworking and honest people of Wenmen lead a leisurely life. At the same time the natural beauty and the hospitable nature of the villagers attracts many tourists. 

At sunrise and again at sunset, the clouds scud across the sky. When night falls, the stars twinkle in heaven's firmament and, along with the terraced fields, provide an unmatched display of natural beauty.

In planting season, the terraced paddies are full of water. The busy farmers working the flooded fields create a vibrantly beautiful pastoral scene.

4.Liuluo Village

If you like a bit of thrill in your life then Liuluo Village is the place for you! From urban Sanya to Liuluo and the Liuluo Canyon deep within the tropical rainforest preserve only takes about 30 minutes by car.

The folded hills and mountain ranges of this stretch of tropical rainforest and the streams and canyons embraced by the green woods are very popular with campers in search of adventure. Walking along the roughly cobbled road through the mountains, and breathing the fresh air of the forest is an excellent way to refresh your mind, body, and soul. Outdoor sports and recreation available here include bungee jumping, canyoning, and cliff climbing. Also of note is Liuluo’s yellow pitaya fruit planting base.

Originally from Ecuador, this fruit has very tricky environmental requirements which make it difficult to produce and have led to it being called a “noble among fruits”. It’s very likely that one of the major reasons people are attracted to coming to Liuluo is the rare opportunity to have this delicacy fresh picked.

5.Baolong Village

Nestled within the mountains, Baolong Village is a waterfront residential area close to the Baolong National Forest Park that is known as an excellent place for rest and relaxation. The forest park has a total land area of just under 3,000 hectares (of which nearly 92% is wooded!) and–at 1,091 meters above sea level–the highest point in Sanya. As a national key "natural forest resource protection project area", it is also Sanya’s only natural rainforest reserve. 

The densely forested park is full of burbling springs and canyon rivers. Because of the air’s negative oxygen ion content, some people like to call it "the green lungs of Sanya".

Relying on the unique natural environment which surrounds it, Lotus Villa is a rural eco-tourism scenic spot integrating tourism, adventure, holidays, healthy living and cultural experiences. While here, you have all sorts of choices ranging from mountain climbing to cross country trekking and biking. You can also go fruit and vegetable picking, fishing, rock climbing, or even decided to spend some time playing by the river side. Whatever you choose to do, a visit to this place will give both your body and mind an opportunity to relax and unwind.  

6.Heitu Village

Known in ancient times as Yazhou (the place of cliffs), if you scratch the surface of Sanya as a modern vibrant tourism city you’ll find a long and storied history. Some of the fascinating historical flotsam and jetsam which you can experience include the Li (also known as Hlai) ethnicity bamboo dance, their brocade weaving, and their pottery making. 

One of Sanya's provincial intangible cultural heritage protection projects—the Li Ethnicity Primitive Pottery-Making Skills Training Center—is located in Heitu Village. This place cherishes and upholds traditional pottery making techniques (such as construction and firing methods) and works to pass them on to younger generations so that these ancient skills will not only continue to survive in the modern world but will thrive as well. 

Li pottery originated more than 6,000 years ago during the neolithic era. Back in 2006, the Li people’s pottery making techniques were one of the first batch of items inscribed on China’s national intangible cultural heritage list. As a result, this so-called “living fossil” of primitive technology is experiencing a modern wave of interest. 

7.Zha’nan Village 

Rainy Zha’nan Village is enclosed by the loving embrace of the surrounding mountains and bisected by the meandering course of the Ningyuan River. A number of smaller hamlets including Lingqu, Baotu, Ganyou, Nanjin, Jiayou, Jiayue, Xincun, and Hongxing line the river banks. With its beautiful mountains, clear water, and fresh air, the “Eight Village Valley” is probably one of the best day trips you can treat yourself to.  

Like scattered grains of rice upon a green platter, the white clouds of morning are distributed among the mountains.

A slow hike leads to all sorts of vistas which unfold before your very eyes. With an umbrella in hand, the pitter patter of the rain is a gentle song sung by nature. The breath of mother earth upon your skin causes you to forget the outside world and find your inner peace.

8.Shangtou Village

As the entire village is located upstream of the nearby reservoir, it is at a higher elevation than other nearby villages. It is from this that it gets its name “Shangtou” (meaning “above the head”). Backed by green hills, it is a glorious wild place. At the entrance of the village, tall betel and coconut palms are ranked like an honor guard protecting their home. 

Walking in the village one can see that the walls of residents' homes have been decorated with extraordinarily beautiful totems from traditional Li culture. The sight of the flat expanse of farmland surrounded by tall mountain peaks makes for a scene as pretty as a poem. 

Competing to have most beautiful garden, every villager has planted flowers in front of their home. The neat and orderly streets and alleys form a scene out of a painting. Some even say it is like Xanadu or the Garden of Eden reimagined. 

As of now, the countryside is gradually changing from gradually becoming a place more and more people want to visit, where every village is a unique microcosm connecting scenery and people. 

Together, we shall roam together to the ends of the earth and back again; we shall see all kinds of glorious natural scenes that will help us forget the sorrows of day to day life among the city’s noise; we shall find our inner peace.



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