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Advice/Suggestions on moving to Sanya Bay, Hainan

Hi all,

So I have accepted a position in Hainan and my work is located in the Sanya Bay area. I'm a native English speaker and I've lived in China (Beijing) before, but I have a very minimal grasp of Mandarin and can't say I'm entirely accustomed to Chinese culture. However, I have encountered most of the difficulties and shady stuff that "expats" encounter e.g. language barrier, scams, dodgy agents etc. I just need the heads up on what to expect.

I have three main concerns/inquiries that I've listed below, but if there's any general advice or suggestions you could provide me that'd be great.

1. What's an average cost for an apartment now per and around Sanya Bay (it doesn't have to be beach front) as I'd prefer not having a long commute to work? (I'm a single guy, I don't need a whole lot of space but I like to cook and I prefer a non studio style apartment with modern western amenities. Also I have an financial arrangement with the school to lease an apartment for 12months so the cost doesn't change during the peak holiday season).

2. What's the best method of transportation?..and is it possible to buy a used scooter or motorbike? (I've heard motorbikes are banned and taxi drivers there can be shady, I'll most likely use DiDi on weekends).

3. What would be a rough monthly estimate of cost of living in CNY? (Excluding rent, I prefer to eat at home, and drink and dine out mainly on weekends).


Hi Joe, 

I have just seen your message, I thought I could offer a little advice. I actually live in Haikou but have visited Sanya a few times. For housing, I would check out this site I had a quick look and found some apartments from 2000-5000 

You could buy an E-bike as motorbikes are banned here, Sanya isn't that big so a full charge on an E bike would get you the places you need to go. The taxi drivers are good in Sanya and have lots of experience dealing with foreigners, especially one's that can't speak Chinese as a lot of tourists go there. From my experience they have a lot of patience, if you know China a little you'll be fine. Hainan is on the up as a tourist island, so they are getting stricter when it comes to tourist scammers etc

Cost of living is not too bad unless you're eating at western style bars or on the tourist strip. I have heard many people say Sanya is expensive, yeah that's true if you're eating seafood on the seafront as most tourist destinations. When living there you will find the places to go that are cheaper. Personally in Haikou cooking at home and maybe 1 meal out a day I live off around 70 yuan, which could also be done in Sanya. Eating at the western style bars can cost anything from 40 yuan upwards for a meal and like 25 yuan for a beer