China, Hainan Island, Sanya, Haitang Bay, China Duty Free Mall

Sanya Trip: China Duty Free Mall – Yea or Nay

China Duty Free Mall

So you go to Sanya for a beach vacation, a place to enjoy the sun and waves – then you see tons of promotions for the China Duty Free Mall… You think – what is this all about?   Well, in a short answer – this is China’s insatiable desire for luxury and showing off.    This December, as part of our Christmas trip, we traveled to Sanya – here are some of the earlier postings on the topic.   We had really a great vacation and probably the only low point in it was the trip to the China Duty Free Mall.

China, Hainan Island, Sanya, China Duty Free Mall

Upon arrival in our hotel – there was a casual mention of it.  We quickly stated – “…but we live in China and upon departure from Sanya to go back home…we will fly to Shanghai and not leave the country.  How can we buy duty free?”

Turns out, the Chinese government has allotted Hainan and Sanya a special status – to stimulate the purchase of luxury foreign brand goods domestically tourists (non-living in Sanya) are allowed to purchase duty free goods up to the amount of RMB8000 twice a year.  And the Chinese consumer appetite for luxury goods is never too small (per Statista.com)

China, Hainan Island, Sanya, China Duty Free Mall
Sales of luxury goods in China from 2010 to 2020 (in billion euros)

So, we decided to check out the mall for ourselves.   The photo below is a snapshot of the map where the Mall is located in relationship to the Grand Hyatt hotel – in Haitang Bay area

China, Hainan Island, Sanya, Haitang Bay

Here is the summary of the experience:

  • Main verdict:  Don’t waste your time…!  Really…!  No need to leave the beach for this.

 Why?  Here are the many reasons:

  • Prices are incredibly high — even after duty free is considered.   If you have the ability to shop in the US or Europe – do that there
  • We compared real time on Amazon.com for the prices on Toblerone chocolates – in the store after 15% sale price discount, the prices of the same chocolates were about 25% lower price on Amazon.com vs in this Mall
  • The selection is limited 

But the Mall is a great place for people watching.   Really…and had a good Christmas tree…Here are some more photos from those observations.   

China, Hainan Island, Sanya, Haitang Bay, China Duty Free Mall
View of the CDF Mall from the road
China, Hainan Island, Sanya, Haitang Bay, China Duty Free Mall
The Mall is Big, so is the Food Court
China, Hainan Island, Sanya, Haitang Bay, China Duty Free Mall
Sarah in Wonderland…Wait, wait, that was Alice, I think
China, Hainan Island, Sanya, Haitang Bay, China Duty Free Mall
Tired of too much shopping…
China, Hainan Island, Sanya, Haitang Bay, China Duty Free Mall
Weird Ad… I am NOT compelled to shop…
China, Hainan Island, Sanya, Haitang Bay, China Duty Free Mall
Another tired soul – too much shopping…
China, Hainan Island, Sanya, Haitang Bay, China Duty Free Mall
Matching Shoes make the world go round..
China, Hainan Island, Sanya, Haitang Bay, China Duty Free Mall
Security First…Menacing looking police truck
China, Hainan Island, Sanya, Haitang Bay, China Duty Free Mall
CDF-Mall…December…Christmas tree
China, Hainan Island, Sanya, Haitang Bay, China Duty Free Mall
CDF Mall – at least an interesting architecture to see
China, Hainan Island, Sanya, Haitang Bay, China Duty Free Mall
More of the CDF Mall architecture

At the end of the day – at least the architecture of the CDF Mall is interesting – something to experience… 

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