After our two nights at the Papiluo Bluehouse, we decided to pack up and change our location to a youth hostel where the owner speaks English. As nice as our room was, we felt like we were a bit stuck and had no clue how to do anything except visit beaches. We checked into the Raintree Youth Hostel for a four night stay and this turned out to be a great decision. Soon after checking in, Rachael got sick and then remained very sick through the following day. The hostel was in an area where we could go downstairs and easily find food, and there was enough to do in the hostel that we could take a full day off and not be too bored. One of the staff helped us move a DVD player into our nice AC room where we proceeded to watch a couple movies and read for most of the day. Rachael felt better after the full day of rest and we went with Justin, the owner of the hostel, and a group of about 8 out to a remote bay for a day of water activities. The bay we went to had gorgeous, clean beaches and our group and one other were the only ones swimming in the entire bay. We swam, rode on a banana boat, tried standing on body boards being pulled by a speed boat, tried wake boarding, and snorkeled for a long time. Unlike my only other snorkeling experience, this one was actually good! I had very few problems with my facemask and I was able to see a ton of cool stuff under the water. This bay was quite undeveloped so we were able to see coral, sponges, anemones, crabs, hermit crabs, fish, urchins, sea cucumbers, and even several small jellyfish.
On our final full day in Sanya, we went to see the rainforest. It sounded very cool, but turned out to be a frustrating and disappointing experience. The place we went was excessively developed and felt like Disney world. There was no resemblance whatsoever to any U.S. state or national park. The only paths in the rainforest were perfectly well kept walkways. All of these walkways were completely packed with Chinese tourists and all of the sounds of nature were drowned out by the tour guide speakerphones coming from every direction. The largest animal we saw were some small bats hanging on a rock overhang under a nice wooden bridge. Rachael, myself, and one of our friends from the hostel ventured off the trail a couple times which was fun for a few minutes until we ran into another walkway or were scolded by tour guides to stay on the walkways. Despite the one disappointing day in the “rainforest”, our trip to Sanya was great and I’m glad we planned that into our vacation. We got to see a bunch of beaches, had fun playing in the water, and were able to relax a bunch more before what we knew would be a fast paced week with my family in Beijing and Shanghai.