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Sightseeing in Xishuangbanna

Jinghong City, Black and White Pagodas

    Beautiful and fascinating Xishuangbanna is famous all over the world, and is a very popular Yunnan tourist destination.

    Jinghong city is the capital of Xishuangbanna Dai Nationality Autonomous Prefecture. The city retains the characteristics of the tropical rainforest landscape by which it is surrounded; it also has a strong flavor of the customs of the local national minority groups. Among local scenic spots are Peacock Lake, Manting Park, the Dai Nationality Culture and Customs Garden, Manjinglan Nationality Flavor Food City, and the Tropical Botany Institute.

    The many Buddhist pagodas of Xishuangbanna, all different in character, are a popular tourist destination. The most outstanding ones of all are the two near Jinghong, the White Pagoda of Menglong and Black Pagoda of Damenglong.

    Jinghong is 709 kilometers from Kunming. Travellers have a choice of coach or air transport.

The Tropical Botanical Garden in Menglun

    The Tropical Botanical Garden is located on Hulu Island in Menglun Township, 96 kilometers from Jinghong.

    The Chinese call it the " Green Gem on the Crown of the Plant Kingdom ", and it is the birthplace of conservation activities in Xishuangbanna. The garden was established in 1959 under the famous botanist Cai Xitao. In the garden's 860 ha. area, thousands upon thousands of varieties of tropical and subtropical plants from home and abroad are growing. Visitors can view many rare exotic and endangered plant species here; the dragon tree, the maytenwood, and the poisonous upas tree; the thirst-relieving " carriage-pole vine "; the " clock flower " that opens and closes along with the sunrise and sunset; the " dancing grass " that responds to sound; the " king lotus " which can support a seated child on the water; the "mystery fruit" able to turn sour to sweet, then sweet to sour; and the "King of Tea Trees", which authorities say is at least 800 years old; it continues to sprout, and give the flavour of its' homeland, the land of the Pu'er red tea.

The Ganlan Basin-- Olive Grove of Menghan

    Local Dai people call the Ganlan Basin the " peacock's tail ", meaning the most beautiful part of Xishuangbanna. " No trip to Xishuangbanna is complete without a visit to Ganlan Basin ", as the popular saying goes.

    Covering an area of 50 square kilometers at an altitude of 530 metres (the lowest point of Xishuangbanna), the Ganlan Basin derives its name from the fact that it's forever clothed in greenery, and that it takes the shape of an olive. A total of 64 Dai-inhabited villages are found on the Basin; bamboo huts shine in the sun amongst the coconut trees, water flows past them all the year round, and flowers bloom in all four seasons. Ganlan Basin, with its' bamboo huts hiding amongst the virgin rain forest, is a place where man lives at one with nature in timeless peace.

    It is 37 kilometers away from Jinghong.

Mengla Tropical Rain Forest

    Mengla county is situated at the most south point of southwest China, bordering Laos on the east, south and southwest, and Myanmar on the west.

    The unique tropical climate here has created breathtaking rain forest scenery. Good communications by both land and water have been useful in developing both tourism and border trade. There is a very popular cross border tour route from Mengla to Loang Namtha, Phong Sali and Luang Phrabang in Laos, as well as into Thailand.

    Guanlei Pier, on the Lancang (Mekong) River and only about 21 km from where China, Myanmar and Laos meet, is known as " First Village of China ". Equally with Mohan National Port, it is the most important land route to the southeast Asian Countries from China.

    One unforgettable experience in this area is the Sancha He Forest Park near Mengla. There is an aerial walkway about one kilometer long which connects the so-called "skygazing trees". From this vantage point, you can spot many endangered animal species - golden monkeys, wild peacocks and wild elephants.

    If you want to stay the night, there is a tourist villa, in the shape of a bird's nest. And the elephant performance at Sancha He will add yet more memories to your Banna trip.

    It is about 832 kilometers from Mengla to Kunming. To get there, you can go either by air or by sleeper coach.

Menghai Octagonal Pavilion

    Menghai is one of three counties of Xishuangbanna. Its main attractions are the Hinayana Buddhist style buildings: Jingzhen Octagonal Pavilion, the Mother and Son Pagoda in Menglai, the Bamboo Shoot Tower of Menglun, the "King of tea trees" in the Nannuo Hills, and Bada.

    From Menghai, visitors can also pay a visit to Myanmar via Daluo.

Yexianggu ( Wild Elephants Valley )

    Yexianggu, meaning " Valley of Wild Elephants ", covers an area of 369 hectares by the Sancha River near Mengyang, and is situated 47 kilometers north of the city of Jinghong.

    The valley, aa open landscape with hills rolling gently at an altitude ranging between 747 and 1055 metres, is covered by tropical rain forests, crisscrossed by rivers and streams, and teeming with such endangered species as Asian wild elephants, wild oxen, green peacocks and monkeys. Situated at the junction of the two parts of the Mengyang Nature Reserve, Yexianggu provides a natural thoroughfare for all sorts of animals, and for this reason it is frequented by wild elephants. In fact this is the only place in Xishuangbanna to marvel at these giant animals. A five kilometre- long passageway, a 300-metre-long overhead corridor are built for elephant watchers. A hotel is built right in the trees. There are also an elephant training school, a butterfly breeding centre, and a giant aviary in Yexianggu Wildlife Valley, which makes it one of the finest scenic spots in Xishuangbanna.

Lancang ( Mekong ) River

    Lancang River (also called the Mekong River) has an 1187.5 kilometer-long stretch flowing through Xishuangbanna. At the moment, the Lancang River Tour is divided into two sections. The upper section is 135 kilometers long, from Jinghong to Simao; the lower section is 40 kilometers in length, from Jinghong to Olive Basin. The lower section attracts more tourists at present. Visitors will be enchanted by the primeval tropical rain forestand animals along the two banks of the river, especially by the incredible " Sky Garden ", where flowers bloom happily on dead branches and some trees have aerial roots, and the " One Tree Forest ".

    The Jinuo people, residing in the Jinuo Mountains on the west of the river bank 43 kilometers from Jinghong city, have in the last forty years adapted totally from a primitive to a modern way of life - a truly amazing story.

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