China’s snowbirds flock to Sanya

Shacking up in a tropical paradise for a few weeks in increasingly attractive to those who have seen too many bitter winters before.

Photo provided to Jiemian News

Photo provided to Jiemian News

By DING Jingjing


As winter arrives, a nationwide move to escape the cold is underway. According to, searches by these “snowbirds” - mostly seniors who fly south for the winter - for destinations in the south such as Hainan, Kunming and Xiamen are more than 20 percent up compared to 2019.

Breakfast is ready

"This winter, there has been a significant increase in guests choosing to stay long-term in Sanya," said the manager of the Four Points by Sheraton in Sanya, the southernmost city in China.

In the past, tourists in Sanya typically stayed for three or four days, with one to two days in Sanya Bay, and the rest days in Yalong or Haitang bays.

Many hotels have introduced long-stay packages. The Four Points offered packages priced starting at 4,000 yuan for eight days and seven nights including dining, spa and other goodies.

Other hotels offer packages ranging from seven days to 30 days, with prices varying from 500 yuan to 1,000 yuan per day. Most packages include breakfast and other discounted services.

Out of reach

Previously, tourists often chose apartments or homestays, but cost advantages of these options have somewhat diminished.

Ms. Liu from Shanxi Province told Jiemian News that last winter, she rented a house in Sanya for three months for a total of 12,000 yuan. This year, the same house is 13,000 yuan for two months, while homestay prices are around 8,000 yuan per month.

"The advantage of renting a house is that you can cook, making it more convenient when bringing parents and children. If it's just my husband and me, we might consider a hotel," said Liu.

Safe and sound

Although hotel prices are higher, they offer more.

Mr. Du from Beijing and his wife booked a 15-night package at a hotel in Sanya, costing 15,000 yuan. He believes that hotels are cleaner and in better locations, to say nothing of private beaches and dining. His concerned that renting a house may turn out to be problematic.

He has seen many online posts about issues with rented houses in Sanya, making him feel that  a hotel would be more secure.