Sunday, June 20, 2010

Visit the hidden tropical wonderland of Xishuangbanna with Great Wall Adventure Club!

Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture is located at the south end of Yunnan Province. It shares a boundary of 966 kilometers (619 miles) with Burma and Laos in the east, south and west, being a vital pass from China to indo-China Peninsular by land.
To the Dai people, Xishuangbanna was known as 'Mengbanaxi' in ancient times, a name that means a miraculous and nice utopia. It had been a settlement where 13 ethnic minorities have lived in tight-knit communities for generations. The Jino ethnic minority is peculiar to the prefecture.

Located in the south extension of the Hengduan Mountains, Xishuangbanna has over ninety-five percent of its territory occupied by mountainous and hilly areas. Most of the prefecture is below the altitude of 1,500 meters (4921 feet). Jinghong City is only 550 meters (1804 feet) above the sea level. The Lancang River runs through the prefecture and when it passes through Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, it is known as the Mekong River.
The weather in this region is a combination of continental and oceanic climates with an annual average temperature of 18-22℃ (64.4-71.6℉). The coldest November is similar to the middle of summer in the lower reaches of the Yangtze River; thereby, Xishuangbanna is reputed as a happy land without winter. Generally, there are only two seasons. May to October is the rainy season and November to April is the dry season. 

 
Although it is an all-year-round tourist destination, the weather is most favourable from November to April. However since the roads conditions are excellent, Xishuangbanna is also a popular destination during the rainy season. Local products that are made in abundance in Xishuangbanna are tea, coffee, tropical fruit, herbs, and Yunan tobacco.
The Water Sprinkling Festival is New Year's Day for the Dai, and is the most important and grandest festival of the year. It lasts three days from 13th to 15th, April (the sixth month of the Dai Calendar). Dai people dip branches into the river and sprinkle the water onto others as a way to express their best wishes. In addition, the festivals of the Hani, Jino and Yao ethnic minorities are also delightful part of Xishuangbanna's ethnic customs. To find out about GWAC tours to Xishuangbanna go to http://www.greatwalladventure.com/ChinaCityTour/tour-xishuangbanna.htm

 
As the only tropical rain forest nature reserve in China, the area has surprising biological diversity in the virgin forest, particularly because Xishuangbanna is so far away from central China and considered isolated. In religion, it is greatly influenced by Hinayana Buddhism of Southeast Asia. The enticing white masonry structure, Manfeilong Buddhist Pagoda, is the quintessence of Hinayana Buddhist architecture. The main pagoda is comprised of eight small pagodas, like a cluster of bamboo shoots.

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