Sansha City is regarded as "China's Maldives".Founded in 2012,Sansha is the newest prefecture level city in China, having the largest area but with the smallest land area. It is the southernmost city of China, and is located 300 kilometers to the southeast of Hainan Island .Sansha City, containing about 260 islands, reefs, beaches and other landscape, covers 13 square kilometers island area and about 200 square kilometers sea area.
The city government is on Yongxing Island, covering about 2 square kilometers (494 acre). On this island, the center area and the busiest place is Beijing Road, which is similar to Wangfujing Street in Beijing. Post offices, banks, small shops serving basic daily use articles, meteorological station, warehouses and other basic domestic installations are situated along this road. Price of commodities is similar with that on Hainan Island.
Living conditions on the island are getting better than before. About 60 channels of cable TV can be seen there and people can connect with the outside area by 3G network.
Chinese Name: 三沙 (sān shā)
Land Area: 4 square miles (10 square kilometers)
Sea Area: 770,000 square miles (2 million square kilometers)
The city governs Xisha Islands, Paracel Islands, Zhongsha Island (Macclesfield Bank) and Nansha Islands (Spratly Islands), with its government situated on Yongxing Island, 300 kilometers away from Wenchang City, Hainan.
Among these islands, Xisha Islands are located on the north side, closer to Hainan Island, and contain Yongle Islands, Xuande Islands and other small islands. In general, Xisha Islands have 22 islands, covering 8 square kilometers land area. Among them, Yongxing Island is the biggest one.
Zhongsha Islands are to the south side of Xisha Islands. Most of its landscape is made of atolls under the sea and underwater sandy banks. Huangyan Island (Scarborough Shoal) is the only island that can be seen above sea level during the spring tide period.
Nansha Islands are the southernmost area of Sansha City, with their islands most widely distributed. They have the largest area of underwater sandy banks, hidden shoals and submerged rocks and their land area is only about 2 square kilometers (494 acres). Most of the lands are not suitable for people to live. Among all these islands, the most southern one is Zengmu Reef.
The climate in Sansha is tropical marine, hot and humid all the year round. The annual average temperature is around 28.8 C for Nansha Islands with little temperature differences in the whole year. Rainy days always occur for this city. The hottest month is May and the arid season is from January to April. From May, the typhoons start. So the best time for visiting there is April and May.
What to see in Sansha ?
Sansha City is as beautiful as the Maldives. Forty meters deep sea can be seen there and more than sixty thousand birds perch there. The most worthy sight-seeing places are General Coconut Grove and Maritime Museum.
The grove is located on the west part of Yongxing Island, on which the first tree was planted by a Chinese general in 1982. Until now, more than 206 trees have been planted by many leaders and more than 100 generals in that grove.
The Maritime Museum is the first and only maritime museum established by local soldiers. 8 halls house about 3000 specimens of marine organisms and photos in about 400 categories. The history of this museum originates from an old soldier’s interest. His favorite hobby was collecting shells on the beaches. Because of the lack of things to do, more and more soldiers began to do the same. With the passage of time, more and more kinds of creatures were collected and soldiers turned them into specimens to store. Later this museum was founded to store them and now it is a “must see” place for travelers.
Leisure activity on Island
You may think there would be nothing to do in the evenings on this remote island when you travel there. Actually, there is a café on the island, and it is famous for its Seafood Barbecue and beer. Besides, there is KTV with only three rooms. People on that island have a simple lifestyle and they sleep early at night, so the nightlife there is not so developed as that in some major cities in China. Therefore, it is a good chance for people to enjoy the natural lifestyle of the locals.
How to get there?
Transportation: There is one airport for military use, so most people go there by ship. Because Xisha Islands are not open to the public, only workers, delegations and local soldiers’ family members are allowed to land on Yongxing Island. Qiongsha Ⅲ Supply Ship, the only one ship connecting Hainan Island and Xisha Islands, is the only transportation for them. Four ships are operated in one month, but the sailing date is not fixed. The sea journey lasts 15 to 16 hours after the ship leaves Qinglan Port in Wenchang City of Hainan. The ticket price for a return journey is about CNY 1600.
At present, if people want to go there, they must obtain a permit from the Working Committee of Xisha Islands and go through some other complex procedures. Then they still need to wait for the information of the sailing date.
Sansha Travel Tips
1. Because of the ultraviolet rays, sun cream, umbrella, hat and sun glasses are necessary. In a word, it is recommended to take all kinds of things to prevent exposure to the ultraviolet rays.
2. The journey will take about 15 to 16 hours, so it is suggested to take some food and water such as cookies, instant noodles and so on, especially for old people and children, because food served on Qiongsha is limited and sometimes you cannot even buy any food. Besides, some people will feel sick on the ship, so it is suggested to take some travel sickness drugs in case of any discomfort.
3. After arriving on Yongxing Island, swimming in the sea is not advised. It may be dangerous in the sea.
4. The period from an hour after the ship leaves Qinglan Port to two hours before the ship lands on Yongxing Island, you are disconnected from the outside, so you must have mental preparation. Being disconnected with others, you are not alone. The beautiful scenery and sea bird accompany you all the way to the island.
5.The tourism of Xisha Islands is on the way to be opened. The trial trip of Ship Princess Coconut now has been finished with its route as Haikou - Sanya - the Xisha Islands. The whole journey takes about two days and the single trip takes about 10 hours. The operation date is not decided yet.