In the tourist areas of Sanya, and to some extent in Sanya city it is very difficult to buy things that are readily available in even small towns elsewhere in China.
What is on sale everywhere is vast quantities of local produce and almost nothing else, so bag after bag of coffee-flavoured coconut and coconut-flavoured coffee, coconut sweets, coffee sweets, local tea, local dried fruits, local dried fruits with coconut, etc, etc, etc.
The shops stock what they want you to buy, not what you would like to buy.
- film is available, but frequently out-of-date
- international-brand AA and AAA size batteries seem to only be available in Sanya city supermarkets.
- Nestle brand chocolates and milk powder is available by the boatload in Sanya city supermarkets but not in hotels or street shops (but not Nescafe!)
- no foreign books or magazines anywhere, nor even "China Daily". (English is hardly spoken anywhere by anyone)
What to buy: Sanya lives up to its reputation as the end of the world. National distribution systems do not seem to have reached southern Hainan, at least not beyond the big Sanya city supermarkets, and even then only for the most limited range of products (even major Chinese brand-names are kept off the shelves by local products!)
I can't help but wonder if this is because of low market demand or some form of policy? Even the shops in the airport are completely devoid of anything not made locally; consequently no-one buys anything. It's like some kind of mickey-mouse economy - very strange indeed. I haven't seen anything like this anywhere else in China.
It is well-known that there are beautiful pearl and crystal in Hainan. Now, i'd like introduce them to u.
What to buy: Pearl
It is well-known that pearl has medicinal properties. It could eat or use as cosmetic. The pearl necklace, pearl ring and pearl bracelet are also the women's love. There are so many pearls in Hainan. Small shops or big stores, both of them have, and also the price gap is big. So one thing must be mentioned, when you buy pearls, you must open your eyes, or you may be spoofed.
White Crystal-represents chasteness and selflessness. It is said that white crystal could bless you safety;
Purple Crystal-represents romantic and luck;
Yellow Crystal-represents fortune;
Green Crystal-represents justice;
Brown Crystal-represents health.
Which one you like?
Wear Sanya's dress and take Hainan to home.
10-15 yuan for a suit, very cheap and comfortable. Wearing the Sanya's dress and traveling in Hainan has become the vogue. It also has the brand dress—SENIYA, which is known as ‘The leading brand of casual wear from Sanya, China since 2001.’
What to pay: different qulity requires different price. some are very cheap, some are very expensive. the price depends what kind u choose.
Every shop and every street stand, hotel lobby shop and hawker touts coral and shells.
I am wondering how this equates with Sanya's self-promotion as a "green" city?
Has anyone thought of what happends when the shells simply run out? The coral is already very heavily damaged in the area (see separate review) and is supposed to be protected as a Marine Nature Reserve.
Buying shells or corals is contributing to the damage being done to the marine ecosystems off this coast. While it is tempting to be abusive and just say "Where will you lot be when there are no more corals, no more shells, no reason to come to Sanya, no tourists, no money, no jobs, no life", it is - as always - more complex than that.
Many of the hawkers are at the lowest end of the social spectrum and have few alternatives. Selling coral is easy money.
These are supposed to be endangered and protected species, but the law is obviously not enforced.
It is a crying shame how much damage is being done today to satisfy the whims of ignorant tourists.
Please do not buy coral and shells in Sanya. The trade is completely uncontrolled and completely out of control.
What to buy: It is difficult to suggest alternatives because other than foodstuffs, no-one seems to make local produce that might be suitable for sale to tourists at any price level - other than perhaps farmed pearls. In three visits to this area, I have never seen any Li brocade or handicrafts for sale in any shop. This would keep local people employed and help preserve traditional handicrafts and livelihoods.
Perhaps the best souvenir from Sanya would be memories of sun, sea and sand.
i did not plan to get any ornaments, i just follow the crowd (co-workers) and have a short trip around Sanya. Ritter who wants to buy some ornaments for his love one and all of us went there. Finally almost everyone got something from gNPearl. Me, i got myself a little pearl ring. When you get in there, don't forget to get a ticket from staff to have a discount of purchase.
What to buy: Since all pearl product, you can look for what's fit you as gift to yourself/ people who you wish to present.
What to pay: as little as RMB50 to over RMB1000, all depends on you.