Just as the British sent its criminals to Australia, Chinese emperors punished its lawbreakers by sending them to Sanya, on the southernmost tip of the Hainan Province. How ironic that both sets of delinquents were banished to paradise.

The coastline is covered in pristine white sand bordered by sparkling blue sea. Palm trees thrive in this tropical climate, which seems more like a Hawaii vacation spot than anywhere in Asia. Perhaps it’s little wonder then that both holiday destinations are at the same latitude.

Sanya offers plenty of water activities designed to take advantage of its famous harbors and bays. Visitors can go banana boating, surfing, scuba diving, and jet skiing. Those preferring to enjoy Sanya on land can try their hand at beach volleyball or kite flying.

Sanya does not offer as many tourist attractions as many Chinese cities, but families should love the butterfly museum, the tiger and crocodile center, and the shell aquarium.

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