In many aspects, Xishuangbanna is China's own Mini-Thailand. As far as the population of this southernmost part of Yunnan is concerned, it is indeed more Thai than Chinese. In this district, the minority (and by Chinese definition the Dais populating the area are a minority) are actually the majority. Of the district's population of more 650,000, more than half belong to the Dais who are just as closely related to the Thais of Thailand as the name suggests. The Han Chinese make up only about a quarter of the population.
The district's name, too, is more Thai than Chinese. "Sip song pan na" is Thai for "Twelve thousand rice fields", and that's what the fertile district has been called among the local Thai, or Dai, population for centuries.
Xishuangbanna is China's Mini-Thailand, too, because like Thailand in all of Southeast Asia, Xishuangbanna is, among China's provinces, a much preferred tourist destination, though not so much by international tourists but rather for Chinese from provinces further north.
Xishuangbanna is China's Mini-Thailand, too, because there is a striking similarity of tourist attractions. The highest rating is given to the Water Festival, which is equivalent to Songkran in Thailand, falls on the same date (April 13 to 15), and has the same traditional meaning of greeting a new year by the Thai, and Dai, calendar.
But Songkran is not the only Thai festivity which is also found in Yunnan's Xishuangbanna: there are rocket festivals, like in Thailand's Northeast, and boat races on various festive occasions as they are common in Northern Thailand.
Xishuangbanna, or rather the Dai majority, are Theravada Buddhists just like the Burmese and the Thais which gives the region additional colour. Like in Thailand and Burma, saffron-robbed monks can be seen wandering from house to house to receive the faithfuls' offerings. And there are countless Burmese- and Thai-style pagodas.
Xishuangbanna has 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 Dai Minority.
Cuisine 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 Barbecues. The most famous cuisine is stickly 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. The excellent Yunnan coffee can be purchased in many places in Xishuangbanna area. There are lots of kinds of tropical fruits in Xishuangbanna, such as banana, pineapple, mango, grapefruit, popular, etc. They grow all around the year. Many bizarre medicines found in Xishuangbanna ; for example, a kind of medicine called “Xue Jie” may cure rheumatism and many women diseases. The 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 Dai people’s splendid culture. Xishuangbanna is an amazing place to sightsee and relax. There is more charm waiting for you to explore.
Culture Located at the extreme southern tip of Yunnan Province 550 km south of Kunming by the highway 8 hours by bus.or 730 km by the old road 12 hours by bus or just an hour by plane, the capital of Yunnan, Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture was known as Mengbalanaxi in old time (now days renamed Jinghong), referring to a piece of utopia in Dai words. In Dai language, Xishuang means twelve; Banna means a thousand pieces of land. Xishuangbanna is twelve thousand pieces of land, which simply denotes twelve administrative units. Xishuangbanna is home to a cultural mix of 994,000 people, about 30% are Dai, 29% are Han and the rest is a mixture of ethnic minorities such as Hani, Bulang, Lahu, Jinuo, Yi, Wa and Yao people. They all have their own customs which makes Xishuangbanna a very attractive destination for tourists .
Located just below the tropic of cancer Xishuangbanna is THE preserved oasis and also THE unique tropical forest in China ( 2,400 sq. km of rainforest which contains 18% of China's flora species ( over 5,000 species of woody and herbaceous plants ) and 20% of its fauna species despite the fact that its land area comprises only 0.2% of the total land of China ). Covering 19,185 square kilometers, Xishuangbanna shares 996 km boundary with Burma and Laos, it is therefore an important gateway to Southeast Asia. Xishuangbanna is divided in three parts: Jinghong county-level city, Menghai and Mengla counties, the land is hilly with some mountains and deep valleys. Lancang River (Mekong) and its tributaries flow through the area. There are numerous attractions in Xishuangbanna, it is also a Kingdom for various wild animals and plants.
Religion The religion of the Dai people is Southern Buddhism, which was adopted in the 6th to 8th century and had a profound influence on their politics, economy, culture and arts. According to records, Pali Buddhism was introduced to Yunnan in the middle of 7th century via Burma but it lasted only four centuries. No temples were built and the sutras were passed on orally. Thus, Southern Buddhism faded and monks fled during the war around the 11th century. The existing Southern Buddhism entered Yunnan from Burma and Thailand after the wars.
Various buildings also have bright national characteristic, give person to leave unforgettable impression, make one have the feeling that seems to stay the alien land of foreign country, are intoxicated in the atmosphere of tropical view. Have Peacock Lake and spring mainly joyfully park, graceful scene orchid travel village and the national garden of flirtatious expressions, Lan the scenery points more than twenty such as dark blue river big bridge swift, graceful cabinet Buddha temple and the graceful cup travel village of folk custom. After the tour you will know "if didn't do to Banna, you would regret forever!"