Xishuangbanna Travel Guide: Lost Gem of Yunnan

Xishuangbanna is a Dai Autonomous Prefecture in Yunnan province, China. The climate is pleasant all of a year here. Due to its location near the ocean, it rains a lot and many forests grow here. It is the reason why Xishuangbanna has a reputation as "the Kingdom of Plants. In 1993, Xishuangbanna is regarded as an international biosphere protection area. On seeing the map of the world, the places that have the same latitude as Xishuangbanna are almost deserts, and only Xishuangbanna is just like beryl on the earth. It has a lot of minorities here, such as Dai minority, Ha ni minority, Wa minority, etc. Xishuangbanna borders Laos and Burma.

Main Tourist Attractions

Xishuangbanna itself is the main attraction. This sub-tropical region is a wonder for travelers to explore. Visiting various villages of different ethnic groups, who still live in a very traditional way and are very welcoming to travelers.

Xishuangbanna Wild Elephant Valley

Situated some 47km north of Jinghong, the Mengyang nature reserve is home to Xishuangbanna's native wild Asian elephants, it's the last remaining refuge of wild elephants in the whole of China. The valley of the Sancha river and the hills to the west and east are covered in dense tropical rain forests and are well watered by numerous streams.

Daizu Garden

It is a famous tourist attraction in Xishuangbanna. There are 5 well-deserved natural Dai villages in the Daizu Garden. In this garden, tourists may not only enjoy the beautiful tropical landscape but also learn about the splendid culture of the Dai people. Girls must be absorbed in the famous dance - "peacock dance".

Olive Dam (Ganlanba)

This place has an altitude of 530 meters. It is the lowest point in the Xishuangbanna area, so the weather is hot. The hot weather brings abundant tropical fruits here. Besides, preserved fruits are loved by tourists very much.

Chunhuan Park

A thousand years ago, Chunhuan Park was an imperial garden. It has a famous bronze of Premier Zhou Enlai, memorizing that Premier Zhou took part in the Water-Splashing Festival in Chunhuan Park in 1961. There is a Dai Palace and peacock garden in the park, which blends natural landscape and human sight together.

Tropical Arboretum

This garden was built in 1997. There are large amounts kinds of tropical flowers in it. It was tropical plants science research institute. Tourists may not only enjoy the beautiful flowers but also get scientific knowledge about them.

The origin of the name "Xishuangbanna"

In the Dai people’s language, "Xishuang" means twelve, and "banna" means one thousand units of area. Xishuangbanna has 12 units of area, so this name comes from.

Xishuangbanna Climate

Xishuangbanna has a pleasant climate all of the year. In summer, the average temperature is 28 degrees centigrade. In winter, the average temperature is 16 degrees centigrade.  From November to April next year is the best time to travel there. Tourists may enjoy not only the amazing landscape but also the splendid culture of the Dai Minority.


It has a long history of Dai Minority. Dai people have been creating brilliant Dai culture during the last centuries. The dance of the Dai people is famous throughout the world. The dance movements are imitations of animals, such as the popular "Peacock Dance". The sculptures and paintings are also famous. The houses of the Dai people - bamboo houses with classic elegance are the traditional minority buildings in China.

The Dai New Year Festival (Water Splashing Festival) - Xishuangbanna. Every year on April 13th/15th the city of Jinghong, the capital city of Xishuangbanna, and neighboring villages celebrate the coming of the Dai New Year. Commonly known as the 'Water Splashing Festival' or the 'Festival for Bathing the Buddha', it's the most important festival for the Dai people.


Dai Cuisine wins a high reputation in Yunnan. It fully shows its special folk flavor. Visitors may have everything delicious that one expects to find at the night market. The most famous cuisine is sticky rice, barbecue, lichen, herb chicken, and insect dinner. There are lots of cuisines waiting for visitors to discover.

Special Local Products

Xishuangbanna is one of the oldest cradles of tea in China. The famous Puer tea is grown and produced in this area. In Ming and Qing dynasties, Puer tea had been exported to West Asia area and other countries.

Granule coffee is an important kind of coffee in the Xishuangbanna area. It is especially sweet. It is the best gift to give to friends and relatives.

There are lots of kinds of tropical fruits in Xishuangbanna, such as banana, pineapple, mango, grapefruit, poplar, etc. They grow all around the year.

Many bizarre medicines grow in the Xishuangbanna area. For example, a kind of medicine called "Xue Jie" may cure rheumatism and many diseases of women.

Man-made weaving carpets are popular in the craftwork field in China. The carpets are made of high-quality fell. The designs show originality and the Dai people’s splendid culture.

Xishuangbanna is an amazing place to sightsee and relax. There is more charm waiting for you to explore.

Travel Tips

  • An umbrella is a must to protect from the sun. Besides, medicines to drive away mosquitoes are necessary, too.
  • When you travel in Xishuangbanna, please respect the living habits of the Dai people and other minorities.
  • There are many kinds of jewelry and jade articles in the Xishuangbanna area, so you need to distinguish them.
  • Bring a T-shirt and short pants because the temperature during the day is high. Besides, a thin coat is necessary because the temperature in the early morning and at night is lower.
  • If you want to travel along the border area, please pay special attention to your safety.

Folk-Custom Taboo

  • Do not touch the monks' heads. Many men in Xishuangbanna will experience several years of religious life. When they are 8 years old, their parents will send them to temples to be monks. During that period, they will learn Buddhism knowledge, and accept strict religious education. After 2 or 3 years, they can leave the temple and live a life like a normal man. The one who touches a monk’s head is thought to be an enemy of his.
  • Do not peep into the bedroom of Dai people. If you are invited to a Dai people’s house, remember not to peep his bedroom. If you are found to peep his bedroom, you have to do 3 years' housework at his house.
  • When you are invited to a Dai people’s house, remember to take your shoes off and sit down according to people’s generation, age, and qualifications.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you need any suggestions or tailor-made tours in Xishuangbanna.

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