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Overview

Discover the melange of ethnic groups and natural wonders that make Xishuangbanna region so very special. Travel to Jingshao, tucked at the bottom of Yunnan province, and encounter colourful hilltribes with deep-rooted traditions. Explore vast nature reserves teeming with incredible wildlife and appreciate the incredible riches of China.

Trip Highlights

Tropical Xishuangbanna

Discover Xishuangbanna’s diversity

Explore the villages and cultures of the region’s five ethnic groups, each with their own distinctive dress and traditions.

See the natural wonders of Xishuangbanna

Wander Menglun’s Botanical Gardens and the Sanchahe Nature Reserve to see diverse flora and fauna, many of which are endangered.

Get a taste of local life

Dine at a barbeque restaurant popular with locals, enjoy a traditional therapeutic massage and visit a bustling morning market.

Itinerary

1

Arrival in Jinghong

Estimate distance and journey time: Jinghong airport - Sanchahe nature reserve (approx. 28km) : 45 min Réserve Sanchahe – Jinghong city (approx. 25km): 40 min *Depends on local situation (the weather/construction/traffic jam, etc…), may take longer

Arrival in Jinghong, capital of Xishuangbanna which is known as the breadbasket of Yunnan province (the name ‘Xishuangbanna’ is derived from the Thai and means “the 12 rice producing countries”). Due to its proximity to Vietnam, Laos, and Myanmar, Xishuangbanna resembles a Southeast Asian country with its rainforests, jungle, fields growing sugarcane, bamboo plantations, fauna (including elephants, peacocks, monkeys, and even tigers), and ethnic group villages. [Sanchahe Nature Reserve in Xishuangbanna city]

Moreover, the region prides itself on a long and rich history of tea, which dates back to the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). During this time the tea from Xishuangbanna was officially selected to be the “Imperial tea”, and as such was transported on horse to Beijing. Pu’er tea is the most well-known among its teas, and is known across the world.

Welcome into Xishuangbanna by a local guide and transfer to the Sanchahe Nature Reserve, 1.5 million hectares featuring the amazing Wild Elephant Valley. Embark on a breathtaking cable-car ride (there and back) which offers a spectacular viewing platform towering over two kilometers of forest. For those who’d prefer to walk, a raised walkway is available as opposed to the cable car ride. Keep watch for peacocks, wild oxen, or even monkeys!

Finally arriving to Jinghong, head to the 15th century Mange Buddhist Temple, one of the best examples of Dai architecture.

Enjoy a memorable “Dai Barbecue” dinner (featuring passion fruit juice, purple rice with pineapple, meat skewers wrapped in banyan leaves, and more) on the lively Menghun road.

Night in Jinghong.

2

Jinghong

Estimate distance and journey time: Jinghong city– Xiaojie (approx. 45km): 1h Xiaojie – Damenglong (approx. 15km): 30 min Damenglong – Jinghong city (approx. 55km): 1h30 *Depends on local situation (the weather/construction/traffic jam, etc…), may take longer

Continue the Xishuangbanna tour with a visit to Dongfeng’s daily market, where the local ethnic groups come to sell their products, a real festival of color and traditional dress!

Journey onwards towards Xiaojie, where members of the Lahu and Bulang ethnic groups call home. The Lahu (around 500,000 people) men generally wear black turbans (predominant color) and the women dress according to the ethnic family to which they belong (black Lahu, yellow Lahu, white Lahu, etc.). Some older women still shave their heads, a traditional sign of feminine beauty.

The Bulang are culturally very close to the Dai (the majority are Buddhist), and now number less than 100,000. The women wear black turbans and silver jewelry, often in the design of fish or crustaceans. Some of the older people have tattooed stomachs and torsos, as per custom. The women usually chew on betel to dye their teeth black for its aesthetic appeal.

Continue onwards to the Damenglong village, housing two pagodas: the Manfeilong Pagoda, set in beautiful jungle surroundings, and the Black Pagoda. Manfeilong Pagoda was built in 1204 on the site of, according to legend, a sacred footprint of the Sakyamuni Buddha, which explains its reputation in Xishuangbanna.

Note: The pagoda is on top of a hill, taking around twenty minutes to reach on foot.

Visit to the Black Pagoda, which overlooks the town center and provides a beautiful view of Damenlong. Return transfer to Jinghong.

Complete the day with a massage (one hour) at the school of blind masseurs. For centuries, blind people in China have been specialists in therapeutic massage, and it is known that their sense of touch is more developed than their sighted colleagues. In 2006, the Chinese Government – under the aegis of the Chinese Federation for the Handicapped – launched a huge project training the blind and hard of sight in massage. The number now practicing the profession in the country today is more than 110,000.

Night in Jinghong

3

Jinghong

Estimate distance and journey time: Jinghong city– Jinuo (approx. 30km): 45 min Jinuo – Menglun (approx. 50km): 1h Menglun – Jinghong airport (approx. 80km): 2h *Depends on local situation (the weather/construction/traffic jam, etc…), may take longer

Begin Day 3 with a visit to Jinuo, which takes its name from the 20,000-strong Jinuo ethnic group, the 56th and last officially recognized ethnic group listed by the Chinese government. The Jinuo used to be organized in matrilineal clans, and still consider today the maternal uncle (and not the father) to be the most important person in the family who is consulted on all major decisions.

The women generally wear their hair in a white hood. They put as many flowers as they can in their pierced earlobes; the more they have the more beautiful they are considered to be! The men wear a predominantly white outfit, jazzed up with some strips of color.

On to Menglun for a final visit to the renowned Tropical Botanical Garden, the largest of its kind in China. Created in 1959 by the Chinese botanist Cai Xitao, the garden extends over an area of more than 1,000 hectares and is home to thousands of species, some of which are in danger of extinction.

Return transfer to Jinhong airport, and flight on to your next destination.             

Important Information

Our services include:

  • Accommodation in a shared twin or shared double room
  • Meals as mentioned (B= Breakfast, L= Lunch, D= Dinner).
  • English speaking guide(no shopping basis rates) (for other languages supplements apply)
  • Tours and transfers as mentioned by private air conditioned vehicle
  • Entrance fees for mentioned visits

Our services do not include:

  • Other meals not mentioned
  • Visa for China
  • Other services than mentioned
  • International and domestic flights
  • Laundry, telephone calls and expenditure of a personal nature
  • Tips, Travel insurance
  • Other services not clearly indicated in the package inclusions above.

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