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Monday, January 21, 2019

CRUISIN: Sanya,China + Carry-on Travel Essentials

On our way back to the SuperStar Virgo, we were talking about how our Vietnam Shore Excursion was a bit “bitin,” which made us more excited and hopeful that our next destination—Sanya, China would be a bit longer.

The sea was also a bit calmer that night and I was able to sleep a bit more comfortably dreaming of our next Shorex. I guess my excitement got the best of me and I was up even earlier and prepared my clothes for a warmer weather.

We again gathered at the Zodiac theater at around 9:30 each of us had color coded stickers which determined our group and bus number.

The disembarkation process was the same as Vietnam. But this time there were immigration officers that stamped the photocopy of your passport. The port of Sanya was also quite impressive there was even a Dragon dance and some cultural dancers that greeted us as we exited the port. I wondered if they do that for every cruise ship that docks there.

The weather was also a lot warmer, unlike in Vietnam where it was raining, the sun was out in Sanya and it was hot, around 28 degrees… still I wore my bubble jacket. It was an airconditioned bus afterall . Hahaha.

Our tour guide took us to our first stop the Tianya Haijiao and Luhuitou Park which was a bit far and it took us one hour to get to the park via bus. It was almost lunchtime when we got there so we were all a bit starving. I suggest you bring some bread from the buffet to the ShoreEx just in case, so you wont go hungry on the trip

We were told that it was one of the most popular tourist destinations, however I have to let you know that their comfort rooms stink a bit and I had a hard time peeing because it was one of those squat toilets which I’ve never used before.  So better have some wipes and a hand sanitizer ready.

The tour guide got us tickets to get inside the park. There were so many people and almost everyone only spoke Chinese. Suddenly, I had this feeling that if I’m going to get lost there, I would probably have a hard time finding my way back to the cruise ship. So I held on to my partner despite the hot weather. The feeling of being a stranger in another country is quite unsettling. Its best to get a translator app and download the Chinese language for offline use so you can communicate with the locals much easier.

We rode a “tram” to get to the park, but it was just a very short ride. It features the Nanshan temple and a 108-meter Nanshan South Sea Kwan-yin Bodhisattva Statue. The view there was breath taking but it was hot. And if you arrive by morning the sun would be almost behind the statue.  And like I mentioned, it was almost lunchtime so we were all famished. It was quite a long walk to get to the statue so we told  our guide that we wanted to have lunch first. We again rode a bigger golf cart, which took us to Nanshan Hotel restaurant on top of a hill. It had the best best view of the statue from the restaurant.

After lunch we had our photos taken at the entrance of the hotel/resto where there was a giant hand and a nice wall backdrop. Our bus then fetched us and we were brought to a “local souvenir shop”.  The store was filled with almost every kind of coconut product you can imagine—candy, coffee, biscuit, sweetener… and a lot of other food items. There were numerous free samples, but we didn’t find anything we liked.

We spend about 30 minutes there before we made our way to the “The Summer Mall,” which they say is one of the biggest shopping center in Sanya. The mall offers a good selection of branded make-ups, perfumes, watches, jewelry, clothing, shoes, and many others. But the one that got us excited was the sight of Starbucks Coffee inside the mall.

We checked out their merchandise, unfortunately they didn’t accept credit cards during that time so I wasn’t able to buy souvenirs. We just had our latte inside the coffee shop and Ed bought a Sanya tumbler as pasalubong to his dad. Everything in the mall was pricey. It was just the same price point in Manila. There were no sale or discounts available during our visit.

A word of advice, don’t rely on your cards as they are more into mobile payments so its best to bring some local currency Rinminbi.

We spent most of our time inside the mall that we forgot we were just near their famous beach. If you really don’t plan on shopping, I suggest you head over to the beach instead. There really isn’t a lot of good things to buy beside some local food items from the grocery stores. Remember not to buy any fruit or cooked product as they wont be allowed back on the ship.

Sanya was nice and while I do plan on going back, I want to explore another side of China next time. I was surprised at how progressive the city was and how disciplined their motorcycle riders were, they were all wearing helmets.

Here are the essentials I packed for our 6 days cruise travel:

1.  Seasickness pills/ ibuprofen/paracetamol or bracelet (the bracelet, we found out,  before going disembarkation is available inside the cruise,ask any crews around when youre inside the ship. Be prepared and bring your other medicines as well.

 2.  Ziploc Bags –   This comes in handy for your things, jewelries, food or for your phone, passport when something unexpected happens or when the rain comes.   Ziploc bags can keep important things dry.

3.   Pill Container – For your vitamins or jewelries.

4.  Sunscreen- I never leave home without my sunscreen. It is a must for my every travel, whether local or abroad.

5.  Bug spray- you never want to go home with insect bites or worse Dengue!

6.  Hat/Cap - to keep your hair neat and away from the sun and its the best accessory to partner with your outfit.

7.   Safety Pins

8.   Wind breaker, Bomber jacket/sweatshirt- Because the weather is unpredictable.

9.    Band-Aids

10.  Sunglasses/shades

Pls read my first SuperStar Vietnam Cruise here

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