Sanya Restaurants Ripping Off Customers, Fleecing Tourists

Sanya Fleecing Customers Gate.

Sanya meal, 3 dishes and rice.

The seafood stall/restaurant with the sky high prices exposed by 罗迪微博, “3 dishes, 4000 yuan.”

From MSN China:

Sanya Customer Fleecing Gate: 3 Dishes 4000 yuan, one price for locals and one price for tourists

January 28th noon, Sina Weibo verified user “罗迪微博” broke the news of customers being overcharged for seafood for the first time. He posted on weibo, “A friend with his family of three had seafood in Sanya the day before yesterday. Just three ordinary dishes and they were ripped off for nearly 4000 yuan [>635 USD]. He said [the restaurant] was recommended by the taxi driver. A man at a table nearby had just pointed at a fish in a tank to ask about the price when the restaurant employee swiftly fished it out and knocked it unconscious [thereby forcing the customer to purchase it]. Upon weighing it, it was 5.5 kg, and at 1160 RMB per kg [>184 USD per kg], the total price was over 6000 RMB [>952 USD]. Before the man could start arguing, several large Northeastern men came out. He could only stay silent and accept his fate. Never mind the level of customer service, they couldn’t even live up to basic honesty…” At present, this weibo message has already been deleted.

A cartoon showing "Sanya" with a fish head threatening a tourist with a sword demanding 6000 RMB.
A cartoon showing "Sanya" with a fish head threatening a tourist with a sword demanding 6000 RMB.

From NetEase:

Sanya officials say they will legally pursue those making malicious accusation against Sanya

January 31st, with regards to Sanya circulating the tourism situation during the Spring Festival period, the local government earnestly requested that the person who posted on weibo about “being ripped off” come forward and assist in investigations. A relevant official said, “Those who make malicious attacks and accusations against Sanya we be held legally responsible.” The Sanya government at the same time apologized for the “Zero tourist complaints of being overcharged/ripped off during Spring Festival period” statement posted on their official microblog.

Under the plate: "Sanya welcomes you." A fish is slammed onto the plate while a knife reading "6000 RMB per fish" comes down above it. A Sanya government official thinks "Zero complaints!" despite being surrounded by ringing telephones and a computer screen with "Weibo complaint" written on it trying to get his attention.
Under the plate: "Sanya welcomes you." A fish is slammed onto the plate while a knife reading "6000 RMB per fish" comes down above it. A Sanya government official thinks "Zero complaints!" despite a screen monitor with "Weibo complaint" trying to get his attention and being surrounded by ringing telephones.

From NetEase:

Hainan media front page headline: Netizen accusing Sanya of cheating customers come forward

January 31st, the Sanya government Information Office held a press conference over this customer fleecing incident, responding that the Fulinyucun seafood restaurant “customer fleecing” incident, because there was a lack of more precise evidence, the investigation of the case has run into major difficulties. Presently unable to get in touch with the netizen who exposed this matter, they hope those involved can come forward and provide relevant evidence. Hainan local media front page headlines asking that the netizen “come forward”.

Hainan newspaper front page headline asks netizen who accused Sanya of ripping off customers to come forward.

From NetEase:

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Sanya Municipal Party Secretary apologizes for “Customer Fleecing Gate”

February 1st, Sanya city Party Secretary Wei Jiang Sixian apologized for the local “customer overcharging” phenomenon. He expressed that there indeed exists certain rotten apples in Sanya, will adopt a zero tolerance attitude towards incidents of customer fleecing, and conduct a serious investigation. At the same time, there have been an unending stream of netizens sharing exorbitantly high restaurant bills. [A netizen] “黑人光辉” posted on weibo posted a restaurant bill that only had 7 seafood dishes but came out to be 9746 yuan [~1547 USD].

A shocking Sanya restaurant bill totallying 9746 RMB (~1547 USD).

From NetEase:

Netizen shares near 10,000 RMB bill from eating seafood in Sanya

After the Sanya city government department stated it has not yet found clear evidence of seafood stalls/restaurants overcharging customers, netizens started sharing their experiences of being ripped off. February 1st, a netizen named “黑人光辉” shared a seafood bill of 9746 yuan, while the restaurant involved denies having issued such a bill. The netizen Mr. Gao who ignited the Sanya customer overcharging controversy has expressed that he doesn’t want to be disturbed and has refused interviews.

A desolate Sanya seafood stall restaurant following "Customer Fleecing Gate".

After the “Customer Fleecing Gate” incident was publicized, Sanya’s seafood stalls are desolate.

Comments from NetEase:

chen4996 [网易法国网友]:

You say show your receipts. When there isn’t any, you make a fuss. Now there are people who have shown their receipts and the restaurant actually dares to deny it… fucking just how black [corrupt] has Sanya become…

我用脚投票 [网易加拿大网友]:

Been to Sanya twice, both times I’ve experienced being overcharged, though in different ways. May I ask the relevant departments of Sanya: Are you all living in a vacuum? Or are you involved [in ripping off tourists]?

鄂莫瑞肯 [网易美国网友]:

Maybe I’ve lived abroad for too long, just looking at that handwritten receipt/bill makes me angry. A bill of nearly 10,000 RMB, written by hand, management definitely didn’t do their jobs. All that tax, was it all fed to the dogs?

苍天右眼 [网易中国网友]:

If one person making the accusation is so-called maliciously attacking [Sanya people] and now there are so many netizens standing forward saying they’ve been ripped off, is everyone all maliciously attacking? The eyes of the masses are clear. When there is a problem, it is best to proactively go solve it, and provide everyone an explanation/result! Don’t become more and more corrupt!

南海渔民 [网易新西兰网友]:

Hainan is saying the entire country’s people are lying. The people there from the LD to the petty criminals sure are exemplars of morality!

干活呢 [网易美国网友]:

Keep digging… Fucking who were the ones who fostered this social ill… Behind this black curtain…just who is the biggest beneficiary… Are the local government departments all eating shit? …Back when packaging Hainan as a tourist resort… did you all just turn a blind eye to this, even think of tourists as money trees? So short-sighted… short-sighted rural economy… Were those leadership books all read for naught? …Fly by night operators [choosing to rip people off once instead of counting on repeat business]… the peasants may be uneducated/uncivilized…but you guys are fucking also uneducated/uncivilized!


This kind of evil is not something that only exists now! I was ripped off before when I went 10 years ago. That’s why now I would rather go to an island outside the country! When calculated, its even cheaper!

Comments from Sina Weibo:

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Forget Sanya, I don’t even want to go to Hainan anymore… I used to only hear that some tour companies wanted the locals to help them overcharge people, I never thought it would reach this level where people are being ripped off indiscriminately!


Those Sanya restaurants ripping off customers are shameful! Those government departments are even more shameful! Instead of quickly wiping their butts [solving the problem], they argue demanding evidence! I’ve seen shameless people, but I’ve never seen people as shameless as you guy!


Recently I’ve often seen the media report on Sanya restaurants overcharging tourists, the prices being even blacker than a crow. Better bring your own food if going to Sanya again in the future, because you can’t afford to eat there!!!


Doesn’t matter if this bill is real or fake, the situation of customers being ripped off in Sanya is indeed severe… Sanya’s government is at the same time corrupt and incompetent!!!


[弱][弱][弱] With so many both beautiful and cheap islands outside the country, there’s really no need to go to Sanya!


Hehe, how many people have gone to Sanya without being overcharged for seafood!? Every time I go I am fleeced, but I still have to acknowledge the beauty of their scenery.


Not to be taken as evidence [of Hainan people’s characters]… Those who are ripping off customers in Sanya are all wai di ren… Hainan people aren’t as treacherous as you all think…


No one wants to see this kind of thing happen! But none of us can stop it! China is doomed to be ruined at the hands of corrupt officials!


A lot of those running shops/restaurants there aren’t local Hainan people… including the bosses of hotels and developers. We can only say that a lot of people from elsewhere have exploited Hainan and ruined the reputation of Hainan people.


Sanya, what’s happened to you? It’s all caused by those Northeasterners being up to no good.


If this place were to become an international tourist island, wouldn’t that just be embarrassing China in front of foreigners? Such a lousy [local] government has truly made this beautiful piece of land dirty.


No matter how good Sanya’s scenery is, if the quality of the people are like this, I’d rather vacation abroad than go to Sanya.

Have you ever been to Sanya in Hainan? Have you been fleeced there before?

Written by Fauna

Fauna is a mysterious young Shanghainese girl who lives in the only place a Shanghainese person would ever want to live: Shanghai. In mid-2008, she started chinaSMACK to combine her hobby of browsing Chinese internet forums with her goal of improving her English. Through her tireless translation of popular Chinese internet news and phenomenon, her English has apparently gotten dramatically better. At least, reading and writing-wise. Unfortunately, she's still not confident enough to have written this bio, about herself, by herself.

  • Interested

    I believe it. I had the experience there similar too.

    • Interested

      BTW, Sanya’s sofa is not very friendly.

      • Interested

        Karma is unfortunate. What come around goes around. We quickly adapted to hainan and scam Hainan back big time with free resort, free taxi, ect

        Well, guilty of preserving scam with our own scam.

  • typingfromwork

    I heard the waters there are lovely. Shame the customer service is such a drag.

    You see all sorts of stories like this anywhere in China. Gotta keep your wits about. If some stranger invites you to go somewhere out of the blue, just don’t fucking go.

  • Foreign Devil

    Had my honeymoon there. We didn’t get fleeced only because my wife is Chinese. . Who would order food without looking at the price on the menu?? We went to this big wetmarket with a lady. . picked out all our live seafood, then she took it to an outdoor restaurant that cooked it up for us. Super cheap for seafood. When I was on my own a motocycle ride tried to overcharge. . just told him this is all I have. .shoved it in his hands and walked off. he tried to charge more than the taxi cab charges.

    • pete

      Chinese often behave like they come from a small town. Even in the big cities, they only like buying from big stores or places near their home.

      Many Chinese order food without looking at the price. They don’t understand “offer + acceptance”, and think that honesty is the same as fairness. If you just stay near your home, then this is fairly true – your local noodle seller won’t rip you off or you won’t come back.

      The Chinese have been too poor (historically) to travel much, so aren’t aware of very common travel scams. You’d expect the same scams (or worse) in any tourist trap. The other tourist traps in Chine (i.e. Beijing) are too populous to get too seedy – if there’s more locals than tourists then the scam artists won’t survive.

      Also, it wasn’t just that they didn’t look at them menu. They asked the price, and the waiter responded by serving them, then sending in thugs to shake them down. The biggest mistake was asking the taxi driver for a recommendation – after they walked into a scam restaurant they were bound to get robbed.

  • Patrick

    Being ripped off? Overcharged in China? I can’t even contemplate it. I can totally understand them trusting a random taxi brother like that – they often look like the most reputable people.

    If you stuck a hundred fairly seasoned laowai in a room and asked them how many have had a taxi brother pantomime copulation to them – how many do you suppose would raise their hand?

    • Bruce Tutty

      This is a *very* naive attitude in today’s world

      • Patrick

        I assure you it was sarcasm.

  • If they wanna go to an island outside of the coutry, they can come to Taiwan! Seafood is delicious here and the I’ve never heard people got ripped off here.

    • Patrick

      Agreed, and enjoyed it there. They are very kind there. I would like to visit again.

    • Foreign Devil

      I wouldn’t go to Taiwan for the beaches though. they are mostly rocky and not so many resort quality beaches there. But Taroko Gorge is great!

    • The Dude


      The best Chinese places are always outside of China… so to speak.

      Chinese people are ‘normal’ outside of China.

      • swatdowg

        ditto to that…..

  • jrom78

    When I was living in China, I remember taking a dirt cheap flight to Malaysia and Thailand during spring holiday. My students thought I was crazy and wondered why I didn’t just go to Hainan, when its so beautiful and the rest of southeast Asia is just full of drugs and ugliness…This was reason #1: Any thing that China considers a tourist magnet is not a place that I want to be, unless it is a mountain like Huangshan where you can escape the megaphones and the hordes and fleecing. Funny thing, how they are just like my fellow Americans, who wonder why anyone would ever want to leave the country when we have so many wonderful places and Hawaii…

  • James Yip

    WELL , there are also plenty of scams in Beijing as well. I have been scammed in a pub called “56” in the Sanlitun area. I have posted a video in youtube to warn people. please follow this link

    • hanyucha

      five six is 五六 (wu liu) in Chinese
      internet language for boring which is 无聊 (wuliao)

      I have heard that place is a dump.

  • donscarletti

    They are really marketing Hainan overseas at the moment. The problem is, even if the marketing guys convince holiday makers “yes, China has tropical beaches”, then they still have to explain why Hainan is better than Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia and Bali.

    Firstly, those countries have really cheap and plentiful food. A rip off in Thailand is paying a couple of hundred baht for dinner, even in Kuala Lumpur you can eat like a king for much less than anywhere in China.
    Secondly Chinese prostitutes are not at all popular with western tourists, too pale and nowhere near skanky enough.
    Thirdly, you can pay certain South East Asian military organisations to take you into the mountains and let you play with rocket launches, no way is the PLA that entrepreneurial.

    The only hope I can think for Hainan (at least in getting western tourists) is cleaning up all of this crap and marketing itself as a trip to South East Asia without the chaos. But I think Malaysia might beat them to that.

    • Foreign Devil

      The irony is that Hainan is quickly being overdevelopped. . over-populated, deforested and polluted like the rest of China. . destroying it’s international tourist potential. victim of it’s own popularity.

    • thec

      I was there for a week last year with the family and stay at the Marriot; ate out every night. Every night, the taxi driver says only this restaurant is opened…we did eat there the first night and was careful on ordering after seeing the prices. We just let the driver drop us off at that same restaurant on the subsequent nights and walked a block away. These “other” places are indeed very cheap and their food much tastier. Also noted that it was mostly native Chinese getting fleeced at the tourist trap. But then again, the foreigners were probably getting fleeced dining in at their hotels.

    • rollin wit 9’s

      you serious about that whole military bit??? That’s fckn sweet!
      love the way you said the PLA isnt that entrepreneurial too haha – nice!

    • GodsHammer

      Actually…in Sanya there is a place you can fire off every kind of gun all the way up to RPG.

      • hanyucha

        That place is way expensive, one round is like fifty yuan!

    • David

      I just came back from a week in Sanya. Nicest beaches in China (which is like being the skinniest kid at fat camp, because the fourth nicest beach at Putuoshan is a shit hole) and the worst service. It is still terrible. Even the western hotels give bad service. I was with a Chinese friend and even she did not understand much of it. One week there cost me more than three weeks in Thailand.

  • 童子蛋

    China is a land of scam
    for great food go to Taiwan
    it is cheap and safe
    people are so much more polite compared to China

    • Hongjian

      Yeah, Taiwan is perfect for weak willed faggots and autismal fuckers like most of the laowai population, who have the survival instincts and common sense of a fucking lemming, probably even less if that’s possible.

      If you guys want your China nicely packaged, sterilized, westernized and clear-cut made digestable with nothing for yourself to contribute or add to, short, if you want chinese disneyland feeling, go to Taiwan and experience the feeling of being in a touristic resort.

      But if this is what you guys want, then maybe you should just stay back home and watch more Fox News.

      • 童子蛋

        i thought Shanghai try to be more westernize compared to Taiwan
        what’s wrong with being clean and polite?

        • Hongjian

          It’s all cool, I like Taiwan. I have family there.

          But I also like some challenges and hardships to be taken care off, when travelling for experience and self-gratification’s sake. And this includes fighting, argueing and negotiating with crooks, douches and all sort of ‘impolite’ dirty fucks, who can be surprisingly honourable and nice once you showed them that you are just as ruthless and unbendable like them. Like dogs, they will respect you if you kick their asses, sometimes even literally.

          I like that. I wish to reduce child-friendly, convenient and non-threatening disneylands to the minimum and only if I really want to experience it on a dedicated trip to one of those over-civilized places like Japan or Taiwan.

          And yeah, Shanghai is shit. Never met so many pretentious fuckers concentrated in one place before. Could just be as well sink into the ocean, with pretty-boy Hanhan too.

          • staylost

            Circle this comment. Hongjian’s comments are either way on or way off. To me, right here with this one, he hit the target perfectly.

            I prefer a life with some adventure, some color, and for this reason I get really bored with USA/Canada (excepting outdoor sports/backpacking in the wilderness). In China, going to a restaurant can sometimes offer the same physical tension and need for quick thinking as snowboarding in Colorado.

          • E Puff

            You are a beast. And have a hard nature. My idea of a vacation is to get away from fighting and obnoxious people.

          • Rick in China

            It’s the attitude of a young man who hasn’t found himself yet. It’s a buccaneer who isn’t in it for the money any more, but the adventure, and will likely die a buccaneer.

            I know, because I’m at the (hopefully) end of my stint in the same mindset. It is, however, silly to expect the majority out there who absolutely do not require rough around the edges to enjoy being in that sort of situation.

          • Bruce Tutty

            This is called “having something to prove”, which most of us don’t suffer from. If you are going to face challenges, then make them worth winning, not just havng to fight to get a decent meal!

          • jrom78

            Harsh, but I agree in some ways.

          • swatdowg

            Weird freak…that sounds like me when I was 14… really,…you need challenge and that’s why you come to CHINA ….c’mon….
            Well, depending where you come from,…that might make sense ….but DUDE, even in Puerto Rico you can find challenges that make more sense!!!
            Different strokes for different folks!!!

      • AnHonestObserver

        U mad bro?

      • dawei

        So, you admit that Taiwan is more civilized, you just prefer to be… uncivil? Well, uh, ok.

        That’s not really the the bold statement you seem to think it is, though.

        Scoundrels usually prefer their own kind.

    • mr. weiner

      I would say that Vietnam is more the land of scam, but at least they do it with a smile, A really fun country to visit ,but you have to have the right mind set.

      • Boris

        Fucking hated it. Ended up assulting a taxi driver. Constant shit the whole time I was in Hanoi. Water puppets were mind-blowing, though. Wish I’d been more savvy, knew what the score would be, and had psyched myself up for it before hand. I imagine it’s a good place when you know how to deal with the people.

  • Taargus

    I last went in August of 09, and had no problems, save for a few jackasses trying to sell me expensive fish, which I promptly refused. Easy enough to eat elsewhere for cheap, even on the beach. I am sure the fleecing is much more prevalent during spring festival, the same time ~200rmb/night hotels become ~7000rmb/night hotels. Weird business model.

    • Bruce Tutty

      Agree on the Business model, and being in the online hotel industry, people will simply go elsewhere. But i presume the Spring festival is the same as elsewhere in the world, and people will go to the major events, or one’s close to home.

      Outside of that, global visitors will avoid them as there are so many other countries / places to visit, for the same money.

      But the smart people will realise this, and the rest will go out of business, so I wouldn’t be concerned about this as long as it’s being discussed.

  • me

    I went to a restaurant in Nanjing, and the price on the English menu was something like double the price on the Chinese menu. I only realized this because my Chinese friend and I were given different menus and I pointed to the tudousi, and commented how expensive it was there…. maybe 32 RMB, but on her menu, it was 16RMB. We walked out just for that reason.

  • Hongjian

    I have only fond memories of Beihai, Sanya, Hainan. Got there with some laowai comrades, fought and negotiated with the hotel reception for an hour and brought the price for a sea-side view three bed room down to very acceptable levels (i think they got scammed by us in the end), aggressively negotiated the price and drank their fresh fruit cocktails on the beach like a boss, watched the PLAN South Sea Fleet’s conventional attack submarines and destroyers sailing out for excericise and kicking Viet’s asses while sun-bathing, ate very nice seafood in one ‘normal’ open-air ‘restaurant’ at very civilian prices and was never scammed once, but only hit on.

    Only retard laowais and chinese master autists would be stupid and apathic enough to get scammed by Hainan people, who are, both in terms of being crooks and their overall development, ten years behind even provinces like Yunnan. Shit, these guys still have those street-karaoke stands around that where popular during the early 90’s elsewhere in asia.
    Only really, really fucking braindead retards would let themselves being scammed by these silly backwards folks.

    • 童子蛋

      you must had a rough time when you were a kid
      sorry to hear that
      where i came from? people rarely faces scam

      • Hongjian

        I’ve never faced scam attempts that I couldnt take care of before.

        I think it was you, who claimed that China was “a land of scam”, so why do you state than people rarely face scam suddently? Something’s not rigth?

        As I said, only retards face scam and get scammed without them helping themselves. And those who travel to Hainan at peak season are pretty retarded as well.

  • dim mak

    >several large Northeastern men came out.

    Oh no ;_;

    In my experience Hainanese are simple folk only smart enough to scam tourists with unsophisticated methods. Typical Guangdong businessman could cheat circles around those idiots

    • The Dude

      You’ve not met many large dong bei men have you.

      In general the only equals for a nice bit of violence are inner mongolian men.

    • The Dude

      ps. The accent is almost enough for most of the rest of the mainland Chinese to shit bricks.

  • jon

    China requires some serious work still with her infrastructure.

    I’ve dealt with this problem for 10 years. hahah you complain now?

  • Glorious Hero

    Once a year a go to Sanya. For me it is a magical place. Of course it’s true that they often try to scam you, but on some tourists you can read from their face “scam me, I’m a stupid tourist and you are so smart”.
    But those, who have a brain and balls will not get cheated. It’s simple – they will try to scam every tourist (include this as part of the local service). It’s up to you to show them that you won’t get fooled. It’s always funny to see people complain that they got scamed – I think they’re not mad that they got cheated, I think they’re mad at themself that they are so foolish to get cheated.
    Anyways, here’s a simple tip:
    After you order food in such restaurants as mentioned in the above article, ask for the receipt right away (I also advise to double confirm the total cost with another waiter, because our waiter can “accidently” make a mistake). Just demand first the receipt and when they bring it and it shows the cost you expected, go ahead with the food (the receipt is just lying on your table, pay as you usually do after the meal).

    btw if you apply yourself you can find good cheap hotels right next to the beach (80~120rmb a night).

  • Read-Tess

    song of the article:

    “Won’t get fooled again”

    The Who

  • E Puff

    i have a feeling the person who started the controversy will probably come up missing…

    • mr. weiner

      Not missing, he’ll turn up in pork fried rice:]

  • rollin wit 9’s

    Tsingtao Presents Real Men of Stupidity

    Today we salute you, Mr. Dubious Scam Artist

    We’ve got fresh fish, you’ve got fresher fish. We’ve got many customers, you’ve somehow got even more. We’ve got high prices. You’ve got ridiculous prices with digits that reach lengths of Russian family names.

    (looks like I’m gonna need 2 calculators- Ooh)

    In the real world, people make and lose money all the time, but you: You are always at the top of your game. A salesman among salesman and a winner among winners. Competition charges ¥150 – no problem, you charge ¥950. When everyone is selling at a discount, you mark UP the price 300% and do it all without breaking a sweat.

    So crack open an ice-cold Tsingtao, Mr. Captain of the Fraud Squad,

    even if you’re accused of overcharging, you’ll just raised prices even higher. A nice deterrent we think.

    Tsingtao Beer, Tsingtao Brewery Co., Shandong Province.

    • AnHonestObserver

      Well done.

  • Rick in China

    I know it has gotten worse over the years. My first trip to Sanya was about 7.5 years ago, and it wasn’t so bad in terms of I didn’t have much of a feeling of being fleeced – but more recently it seems to be more and more increasingly the case. Really need to be a smart traveller and be very clear when discussing prices and such, and if you tell taxi drivers things like “take me to seafood square” they’ll take you to a ‘fake’ one not the original one and it’s just a bunch of nonsense there, you’ve got to be very clear where you’re going and make sure they don’t try to take you to a place they can get their cut from a scam.

    That being said, me thinks Thailand is going to benefit greatly from this type of issue.

  • Alex

    Sanya would be great if get rid of 3/4 of the people there. All trying to rob you; restaurants, taxi drivers, bike drivers, even a stupid drink seller wants 20rmb for a can of coke. everyday is a fight.

    I rather go to Qindao, i find there is much friendly and more relaxed, nobody is trying to rob you, everything is fair.

  • GodsHammer

    Hainan is a great island. I lived in Haikou for almost 3 years. However…my positive experiences with Sanya are very few. I avoided it like the plague while living on the island and the last time I went there was 4 years ago with a Chinese GF for a holiday.
    We had the same thing happen to us. I hadn’t even picked a fish and had mentioned to my GF “how about THAT one!?” I turned to get her reaction and the motherfucker had fished it out and decapitated it! Looked at me and said 300rmb… it was 5x the actual price…
    Normally I’d invite them to make me pay the difference but I opted to bypass the drama and just pay the 300rmb because my GF was with me and I don’t want her to have to bear the brunt of the insults and the translation (when the police eventually come).
    Sanya has never been anything but a ripoff. The flight costs are the same as to Thailand…and there is little or no amusement value to Sanya unless you are from a very polluted area of China and need to see some blue sky and fresh air and you can’t get a visa to anywhere. That is IT.

    • swatdowg

      that’s the update that I needed,…to many freaks trying to build on the place being beautiful,…but 4 real I used to feel guilty not knowing/going to the place (considering I have been here 4 over 4 years)….
      Now i’ll keep my plan of every single south-east asian beach as my holiday destination…..YES!


    Oh no. If Chinese people are increasingly looking to have their holidays outside of the country, why isn’t anyone freaking out? I already dislike the swarms of ugly mainlanders roaming around once nice places.

    • Rick in China

      That’s actually a very apt point.

      I’m a Thai fan, it’s too easy for 大陆人 to get a Thai visa…we should work on some subversive tactics to change that! Foreigners keeping mainlanders in their box Unite!

      • Guangjoe

        I would totally support that

  • UkExPaT

    Once again, it is people without common sense that are tricked by scammers. I always check out the local prices before going on holiday and observe other shoppers/customers before walking into a restaurant or shop. I also confirm the prices of things before ordering. If the place is full of tourists, then expect to pay a premium if not rip-off prices.

    • Rick in China

      I think the point is that people shouldn’t *have* to treat their vacations like a financial gauntlet. The point is to relax, not have to be ultra-aware of so many people trying to ram their cocks into your wallet. There is a certain level of “be careful” in many countries, but from the shit mentioned above, it’s *out of control* in Sanya.

      The whole thing about pointing/questioning about one fish = instantly knocked out / cut up and ‘threatened’ to pay or else….that’s not just being ripped off, that’s being robbed.

    • GodsHammer

      It’s like you’re not even reading. You can point to a fucking fish and before you get to ask your wife if it’s big enough or ask if it has many bones or ask HOW FUCKING MUCH WANG?….it’s ‘scoop-plop-chop-dead’. Now you OWN it. See? you think there are nice ***rmb/500g signs on these tanks? Be real man, you must be new to China.

    • Xiongmao

      You’re SOMEWHAT right, but if it’s true that the lad asked the price and they immediately killed it and strong-armed him when he objected, well, that could happen to anyone unlucky enough to frequent the place.

  • Tie Ridge

    I cant say I dont understand because I do. There are many places around the world that will also charge to much for there product. I have never heard of this much though. In the states you will always pay to much for most every thing

    • Bunny99

      If the prices on the menu are in US dollars – then you need to be careful

    • Jeffli

      Yeah but not like this! river carp Shite fish for 6000 RMB This is the biggest Joke out. I’m sending this to Australian branch of CTS. see what they have to say. This will go viral!!!

  • The funny thing is that the 10,000 RMB bill also says 打7折 “30% discount” :)

  • Jeffli

    6000RMB for that schlop!
    thats about 900 AUD!
    I can get get better than than that at that quantity for less than 200AUD = 1200RMB!
    Thars why I say Mainland China’s food sucks! and this proves it!!!
    and the fish in th epicture was not seafood!!! just bony river fish haha

    forget Sanya go to Boracai in Philipines – cheaper and cleaner!

    • Jeffli

      I point blank refuse to pay money for river carp shite – the sort of fish used in pet food!


      Is any one Govt. official in Sanya or China embarassed by this? Are there people proud of this?

  • Mano

    Been to Sanya, it sucked. Never will I got again, not even if taken there on an all expense paid trip would I set food in that shithole again.

  • Cleo

    Hainan was the equivalent of Siberia – a destination for citizens deemed unworthy where they would have to collect the coconuts from the trees. What do you expect when you build five star hotels in the boonies? The locals are going to see the fools volunteering/paying for the privilege of being slaughtered/fleeced.

  • M

    Happened to me too, exactly the same. Looking at the fish in the tank, the shark looked coolest so we asked the price and weight, dude took it out of the tank and slammed it’s head on the pavement…funny thing was, it was quite a few years back, during the whole SARS thing and no one was travelling, our whole meal only cost about 400 RMB. It was still relatively high for back then, but I guess we were just test suckers back in the day. That being said, we never go there anymore. Overpriced and the food really does suck. Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia…all are better.

  • jrom78

    I don’t know if a lot of westerners get that China soon may not even be too concerned with catering to foreign tourists, as there is a big push for self-sufficiency (including domestic tourists), bolstered by renewed nationalism and pride. “Why go anywhere else–China is #1!” Even while my students would preach this idea to me, they weren’t buying it themselves, and dreamed of becoming European-educated jet-setters vacationing in the Maldives. The irony is that though I abhor nationalism (as an American) this national identity might just preserve Chinese culture–including those aspects (TCM, martial arts, food, etc.) westerners now fawn over. As a foreigner that’s lived in China and traveled around Asia from India to Japan to Indonesia, I feel like there is something very unique about China that I miss when I travel other places in the world (though Shanghai and Beijing aren’t my favorite parts, by far). Yeah, Japan is so aesthetically neat and stately, India can be an overwhelming but rewarding wild ride, and, for real…southeast Asia has way better beaches than Hainan, and great, diverse food (and really interesting Chinese enclaves). But you can only find China with its beauty and ugliness in China, and I will always love that place–for me, this is the reason to see the rest of the world and its people doing their own thing. Part of me will feel sad if it changes, even if its for the better.

    • Jeffli

      Regarding Preserving Traditinal culture , TCM etc. etc.
      This is not happening in mainland China. Actually the best TCM courses are conducted outside of Mainland China!

      Only money is holding China together.

      To think I get better Chinese seafood meals in the middle of Siberia than on Hainnan Island and not one Chinese person is embarrassed. Not one even if they are throwing up on the street after their meal -“Oooh dat fish was not fresh” do they want to admit a ggod meal in a restauraunt is difficult to find.

      5000 years of culture and history -> a mess! Such a pity!

      As for Hainan Island – Chinese can keep calling it the asias Hawaii but thats putting Hawaii down.

      Furthermore Hainan is a dirty island full of corrupt officials and criminals. Sea pirates are working hand in hand with local officials to steal container ships from the region – example the – “Petroranger”

      There is near nothing redeemable about Hainan Island.

      As far as geography, geology ad scenery is concerned – Thailand, Vietnam is much better.

  • Zebadee

    This is news?

    Having a Chinese menu and a “foreign menu” is normal throughout China’s tourist hotspots.

    Beijing is probably the worst place I’ve seen, prompting many tourists to spend their money at lesser-known establishments who are quite happy to profit from increased (and repeat) business.

    It annoys me that many businesses in China (not only restaurants) do this and tarnish the reputation of the entire country. But then again, that’s Chinese business culture: happy to make a profit today, so who cares about the many thousands of RMB lost in repeat business over the next few months? The reputation China is rapidly gaining for this immoral kind of business culture will only continue to hurt its reputation and and in a country where ‘image is everything’ then that is damaging.

    The many blogs/forums in any city where foreign and local residents alike contribute articles have “black lists” of businesses to avoid and lists grow longer …

  • Xiongmao

    “the local government earnestly requested that the person who posted on weibo about “being ripped off” come forward and assist in investigations. A relevant official said, “Those who make malicious attacks and accusations against Sanya we be held legally responsible.”

    Well, who can doubt there’ll be a fair trial in that case. No fucking wonder the original poster isn’t stepping up. I don’t think I’m the only one who sees an official comment like that as a loss by default for Sanya.

    On a second note, although I haven’t been to Hainan myself, the 3-4 people I know who has say that it’s an overpriced, over-developed, pretentious Thailand-Light copy. No way I’m ever setting foot there.

    • dawei

      Wow, missed that part. “They should come forward, so we can, uh, ‘investigate’ the shit out of them.”

  • Smalls

    After 24 hours in Sanya I ran to the middle of the island, small nature resort where prices were normal and no one was out to cheat you – Sanya impressed me as about as much as wet socks!

  • Wade

    I lived and worked (not as an english teacher) in Sanya for about 3 months and it was horrible. It is filled with the worst people I’ve come across in China. It’s marketed as a beautiful tropical island, but honestly every other beach that I’ve been to in SE Asia has been much much better

    • The Enlightened One

      Wade, would you care to go in detail of your experiences?

      I have traveled to Sanya and thought it was very beautiful. Of course I was there only 10 days and didn’t mingle with the locals much as I was on business. Therefore, I am very curious what sort of instances you have encountered to label them “worst people I’ve come across in China”.

      I have heard and seen a few suspicious things myself.

      1) I saw mainly only women working (even hard labor), I was told the men were useless in Sanya and sat around drinking tea all day.

      2) Service at some establishments was shabby… but it is China after all. And being chased around by those annoying cart-taxi’s asking constantly asking if I needed a ride when I was obviously relaxing… was very annoying…

      What did I miss?

      Thanks in advance.

    • Ezze

      What up Wade;) Let’s lament over those stories with a few cold ones-

  • tt

    I have to say a good word about Sanya.

    My Chinese speaking GF and I went to Sanya in 2009 at xmas time and stayed in two resorts in Yalongwan that she researched on ctrip. Yalongwan is an expensive resort area without much going on besides resort activity — which is good in the sense that they are isolated from the scammers in the community. There were a surprising number of Russian folks and Russians on the hotel staff said that a growing number of Russians overwinter in Sanya. Of course there were also often pissy northern-Chinese people getting grouchy with the lobby staff and restaurant staff.

    The food in the resorts was very good and not too expensive — 200 rnb for a huge Thai food dinner, 350 rnb for a huge, fantastic Hainanese style meal. This compares well with similar meals at good hotels in Guangzhou, so not a rip off by my metric. We ended up with leftovers so didn’t end up eating at random places aside from picking up some fruit here and there.

    The lamest food was the pizza from the snack shack by the beach of one of the resorts.

    Also, the coffee beans we bought there were terrible. The coconuts were great.

    We did go to the seafood square. It’s chaotic and unsanitary enough to get my girlfriend sick (and she can eat anything). Nearby street shopping was fun but touristy.

    What else was fun-
    Visiting the nearby islands by boat, although the scuba diving is the weakest of any place I’ve ever dived, please skip it if you aren’t a Chinese person who can’t get a visa anywhere else.

    Visit “monkey island” which is a monkey preserve.

    We also visited YaNoDa nature reserve, which was a long drive, but pretty and the staff was very friendly – to the level that I thought they might have had Disney-like training. It does bear mentioning that the park trails were highly paved, which seemed very inauthentic for someone used to hiking the improved deer trails we use in the US.

    We also visited a hotsprings spa that had several different kinds of mineral water, and also those fish that will nibble away your dead skin.

    Sanya seems to be best for families escaping to a resort. The resorts are really competing for your money, and all have gimmicks – either exclusive beach access, goofy night parties (like a luau in Hawaii), free bike rentals, water-slides, etc.

    I’d definitely consider going back there if we had a family and wanted to relax, and if the price was competitive with any other resort-style vacation we have access to.

  • Rod

    I used to want to go – not so much anymore. Sounds like everywhere else.

  • Wow! 30%off! Expensive but generous, uh?

    If my aunt’s fish restaurant also charges like this, she must have been a rich woman since long time ago.

    I should tell her. :)

  • bob

    sanya…its a tourist trap..if i compare with thailand,or other places out of china..sanya is too expensive and the service is zero..the sea cold and dirty.hope they will change,,or sanya will empty without tourist in the future.

    • me

      hainan is the best place in sh!th0le china in my opinion but, as ever, where theres chinese people, there is lying, cheating and thieving.

      Putuoshan is the same.

      first establish that the scales r fixed -they always are.

      second watch them kill the fish and cook it fully – otherwise your fresh out the sea fish is one that died 3 days ago in the tank and has been rotting in the fridge.

      establish price in jin/ KILOS/ PER FISH – a standard ripp-off

      if the bill is excessive, call the police. they will beg to get any payment or the police will arrive, immediately side with their countrymen, untilthe find out how much they r making , ie more in 2 nights than they make in a month. then they turn on the owner and srew him as hard as poss as their jealous.

      then again there is always sihanoukville