Xishuangbanna is famous for mysterious tropical rainforests, and minority customs.
Located in Yunnan Province in southwestern part of China, Xishuangbanna is
famous for its mysterious tropical rainforests, wild animals and minority customs.
As the only tropical rainforest nature reserve in China, Xishuangbanna is ideal
for nurturing wonderful plants and flora and is home to unusual wildlife. For
many years, Xishuangbanna's fame as a natural paradise was as well known as
that of the Amazon.
Dai Minority people have lived on this land for generations. The distinctive
natural environment here has created unusual customs and traditions.
All over the region, even today, Dai houses can be seen. These bamboo structures
raised on stilts deter floods and dangerous animals, allowing many people to
inhabit one house safely, often along with all their animals too.
Hunting is still the main source of income, in conjunction with farming. In
terms of culture, the Dai people dress in spectacular colours and furs, and
dance and song are popular ways to pass the time.
Buddhism is the predominant religion here. Temples and pagodas with a Southeast
Asian flavor are dotted about the countryside and towns, and monks, especially
young male trainee boys, are a common sight, clothed in traditional orange costume,
often riding motorbikes to the temple.
Jinghong, City of Dawn
The Dai ethnic minority accounts for one third of the population of Xishuangbanna,
and Jinghong means City of Dawn in the Dai language. According to legend, after
traveling many roads, Sakyamuni arrived at Jinghong just as day was dawning,
hence its name.
Jinghong has a 158-kilometer-long water passage on the Lancang River, and is
the cenAtral point of the Xishuangbanna scenic area.
In 2001, navigation lines between China, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand opened,
initiating a new path to the Asia-Pacific region from Southwest China. Jinghong
is now an international category-one open port on the Lancang River, and ships
from Jinghong sail directly to Myanmar, Laos and Thailand.
Jinghong is also an important link between provincial capital Kunming and Thai
capital Bangkok. Its airport is one China's busiest with aviation lines to most
of China's large and medium-sized Chinese cities, as well as international flights
to Thailand and Laos.
Jinghong is just 180 kilometers away from Northern Thailand, making it the
closest land route between China and Thailand. The opening of all of Jinghong's
land, water and aviation routes has made it an important frontier window bridging
China and Southeast Asia.
Scenic Spots in Xishuangbanna
Menglun Tropical Botanical Garden
Located in Menglun town of Menglai county around 80km away from Jinghong city,
Menglun tropical botanical garden is the largest tropical botanical garden in
China. Established in 1959, the garden boasts more than 4000 species of tropical
plants covering an area of 900 hectares, quite a few of which are rare elsewhere,
forming a colorful botanical landscape.
The Dai Ethnic Garden
The Dai Ethnic Garden is in Ganlan basin 30km away from Jinghong city. In the
garden is a natural Dai village. The villagers are all hospitable and friendly.
Tourists can stay overnight in a Dai household, to receive the host and hostess'
hospitality and to take part in their routine farm work. At the same time, one
can view the rural scenery or visit the century-old Manchunman monastery.
The Wild Elephant Ravine
Located in the Sanchehe forest park of Mengyang nature reserve, about 50km
away from Jinghong, the Wild Elephant Ravine has 70 wild elephants approximately
which frequent the stream through the tropical rainforest for drinking, bathing
and spraying water upon one another, hence the name "the Wild Elephant
Ravine". There are "hotels in the tree", dwellings built on tree
trunks for the convenience of the activity to view wild elephants.
Tourists can stay in the tree dwellings and wait for arrival of a herd of wild
elephants, breath in fresh air, view the tropical rainforest, and meanwhile
listen to twitter of birds and clear and melodious gurgling of the stream.
Jingzhen Octagonal Pagoda
Jingzhen octagonal pagoda is located in Jingzhen village, Mengzhe, Menghai
county, around 80km away from Jinghong city. Built in 1701, the pagoda is an
architectural artwork of the Dai people. The pagoda is 21 meters high, the diameter
of its base being 10 meters. It is a venue for local eminent monks to convene
annual meetings. It is also known for its unique architectural style.
The Garden of Ethnic Cultures
Located in Jinghong city, the Garden of Ethnic Cultures exhibits ethnic cultures
of Dai, Hanis, Lahu, Jinuo, Yao, Bulang and some other ethnic groups. Through
the display of articles and utensils of the house of each group, tourists may
learn about their way of living, production, and customs. In the evening there
are performances of ethnic songs and dances and other exciting activities, when
tourists can join the lads and maids from different ethnic groups and spend
a joyful and unforgettable pastime.
Located in Jinghong, Manting Park is also known as Chunhuan (Spring Joy) Park.
It used to a royal park of DaAi kingdom. Now it becomes a park of royal palace
and religious culture. Xishuangbanna general monastery and the institute of
Buddhism are in the park. The park often holds royal and ethnic dance evening.
Tourists may join them in singing and dancing while having typical Dai food
and rice wine in the park.
Xishuangbanna Tropical Floral Garden
Xishuangbanna Tropical Floral Garden is in Yunnan Tropical Crops Research Institute
covering an area of 80 hectares. In the garden are a monument to Premier Zhou
Enlai and flora communities among the pools like some tropical flowers and fruits,
palms and plots of lawns. There are more than 1000 species of tropical flowers
and many varieties of rare flowers, and cash and rare plants. Strolling in the
garden, you may discover any unique, mystery plants. Here you can not only view
the fascinating tropical scenery, but see what a coffee tree looks like, hear
tales about the golden mango and secrets of its fruit juice.
The Manfeilong White Pagoda
The Manfeilong White Pagoda consists of a major pagoda and eight smaller pagodas.
Resembling a cluster of bamboo shoots in spring, it is known as "bamboo-shoot
pagoda". Because of its white body, it is called the White Pagoda. Built
in 1204, the pagoda has a long history of 800 years. It is located on a mountain
top behind Manfeilong village, Damenglong town, 76km away from Jinghong city.
The cone-shaped pagoda complex on the same base has a main pagoda in the center
measuring 16.9 meters in height and eight smaller ones of the same height (9.1
meters); in the southern base is a large footprint measuring 0.9 meters in length
and 0.8 meters in width. It is blieved that the footprint was left by Sakyamuni
when he came here for expounding sutras.
Near the pagoda is a well. It is said that Sakyamuni dAug the well by magic,
so the water in it can cure some eye diseases. With a long history and profound
influence, the pagoda attracts hundreds of Buddhist followers from Myanmar and
Thailand, who come here for worshiping the Buddha.