It has been raining since the wee hours of the morning and we were temporarily grounded. Rain normally dampens my mood when I am travelling but this rain is a shower of blessing as it provides reprieve from the crazy humid spells in Sanya. (Time of travel: Aug-Sept).
It pays to stock up food in the hotel room and a simple breakfast can sometimes taste like heaven on a cool rainy morning.
By 11am it was all sunny again and we got ready to venture out. We needed public transport to get to places that exceed 1.5km from our hotel. Since coming to Sanya I learned that the three-seater motorcycles is a popular public transport among the locals to get to places within the city. These motorcycles look very ordinary with the exception that the seats are elongated (the elongated portion is usually made of metal) and there is an extra pair of foot rests for pillion passengers. This motorbike sits three and it is not compulsory to don the helmets. The riders do not wear uniform and neither are these motorbikes differentiated from the non-commercialised ones in terms of colour etc.
These riders together with the whole lot of motorists in Sanya would not hesitate to break traffic rules and seeing them take advantage of zebra crossings meant for pedestrians or defying traffic lights are common phenomena here. Having said all these, the irony is this is our favourite mode of public transport as it is the cheapest and fastest way to move around. Riding on this we first headed for a very grand theater.
BEAUTY CROWN GRAND THEATRE
Hainan was probably made popular after winning the bid to host the 2003 Miss World Beauty Pageant. Beauty Crown Grand Theater was specially constructed for the event.
Shaped like a crown this theater has a sitting capacity of 3500 and is part of Seven Star Commercial Plaza that comprises a cluster of nine very beautiful tree-like buildings behind it. Since then this place has hosted many other Miss World events namely: Miss World 2004, Miss World 2005, Miss World 2007 and Miss World 2010 and the coming Miss World 2015. It also hosted Mr World 2007.
And we were there, treading the grounds that beautiful girls from all over the world have trod on.
The cluster of nine buildings with a phenomenal architecture just behind the grand theater is best seen from a lofty place afar and I was glad we were able to get a good snapshot of it when we were on Luhuitou Hill a couple of days ago.
The same motorbike took us across Linchun Bridge and then Xinfeng Bridge before dropping us at Jiefang Street. This street is a few kilometers long and it constitutes the main hub of the city. The main bus station of Sanya is located here. Here is also where you can find plenty of supermarkets, shopping plazas, food courts,etc.
JIEFANG PEDESTRIAN STREET
Jiefang Pedestrian Street which is a lane off the main Jiefang Street is a famous shopping street. It consists of two rows of single storey stalls with roofs over them sandwiched by two rows of 3-storey shops and it is pedestrianized.
We walked through the single storey stalls to see what's unique.
Among items sold are costume jewelry, key-chains and decorative ornaments.
There are food stalls near the entrance.
The 3-storey shops that sandwich the small stalls sell higher end goods.
There are more shops on the upper floors but sales seem so sluggish everywhere we went. There seemed to be more sales girls than shoppers.
We feasted our eyes but bought nothing.
There are many smaller lanes off the main Jiefang Street and we weaved through a few to see what people sell.
A local pancake stall
JIEFANG ROAD SNACK TOWN
It was lunch time and the best place to see a lot of food under one roof is a food court. We found one called Jiefang Road Snack Town.
There are about 40 stalls selling a variety of local Hainanese food.
These sausages on hot stones look unique.
Satays here are very long.
I don't really know what this is but it didn't look appetizing.
And there is food like this too.
This seem to be a signature cuisine in Sanya. Glutinous rice is stuffed inside the coconuts which are then steamed.
Grilled oysters with garlic topping are among the hundreds different food we saw.
TASTING HAINANESE CUISINEs
I walked 3 or 4 rounds before deciding what to get for lunch. The rice stuffed coconuts come in a few varieties. Different species and different sized coconuts stuffed with different types and differently flavoured glutinous rice. We chose the black glutinous rice as it looks very unique. Each is 20CNY (RM12) and it is very nice but filling.
This looked alluring but it is too salty and the oysters lack freshness like the ones found in No 1 Agricultural Market. We paid CNY10 (RM6) for 4 pieces.
When I ate this beef noodle I kept comparing it with my favourite beef noodles back home. It was nice but dims in comparison to my favourite.
This is Hainanese Bubur Cha Cha. Not great.
SUPERMARKETS AND SHOPPING PLAZAS
There are many supermarkets within Jiefang Street. Wang Hao is the biggest supermarket in Sanya.
Inside Wang Hao
As we walked the stretch of busy Jiefang Street we passed by many shops and shopping plazas. Sanya Yifang Shopping Centre is one of them.
The city is modern and these women selling fruits along the street is not really a common sight.
SANYA INTERNATIONAL TRADE CENTER
We continued to explore the city at night visiting Sanya International Shopping Centre which is quite near our hotel.
This is a very modern shopping complex.
So many things on display but once again no shopper.
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