Day 1: A Pair of Pagodas. This journey begins in Kunming. If you need advice or assistance getting to Kunming then please contact us. You will be transferred to Kunming airport for your flight (unescorted) to Jinghong. On arrival you will be met by your local guide for your time here. We get busy straight away with visits to the Black Pagoda and the White Pagoda. The Buddhists of Xishuangbanna follow their Thai cousins and belong to the Hinayana tradition. The majority of Buddhists up-country belong to the more communal Mhayana tradition.
Both pagodas are features of Hinayana worship. The Black Pagoda is a magnificent seven-tier building though it is no longer black. The White Pagoda (aka Manfeilong Pagoda or the Bamboo Pagoda) is still white; its nine stupas looking like a row of bamboo shoots. The pair together are said to celebrate footprints of Sakyamuni; his right print in the Black Pagoda and his left in the White Pagoda. Meals: lunch, dinner.
Day 2: Tea and Hill-tribes. We drive out of Jinghong today for an excursion to Ning'er County up in the hills west of the city. Our first visit is to a tea plantation in the area famous for producing the mildly fermented Pu'er Tea. The actual processes which lead to the distinctive flavour of this tea are closely-guarded secrets and, although visitors are welcome to the plantations and shops, visits into the factories are not generally permitted. Pu'er tea is hard to classify: it qualifies as a green tea but definitely undergoes some fermentation: so it is part way between a green and a black tea. Later we continue to Hani and Yi minority villages to see something of their different lifestyles. Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Day 3: Jumbos in the mist. Xishuangbanna lies within the Tropic of Cancer, just, and since it is low-lying its forest can be said to be tropical. These are the home to many wild animals including the last wild elephants in China. We have an excursion to Elephant Valley a nature reserve where these gracious beasts wander at will across the rolling hills and steep-cut valleys. We hope to spot a herd from one of the many trails or, perhaps, from the 2 kilometer cable-way that runs through the canopy. If not, there are plenty of other species to keep us interested. Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Day 4: Little Thailand. We head off to Menghai County today for a look at a lifestyle that would not look out of place in Thailand. We will visit a series of sites but plenty of other interest will be found between these. Our first stop is to Jingzhen Octagonal Pavilion, said to have been built to resemble Buddha's headgear. It is a place where senior monks would meet and discuss important matters of faith. We move on to the Mother and Son Pagoda, a reference to the historical figure Siddartha and his mother from whom he gained the family name Gautama.
Our next visit is to Bada home of the Blang Minority. The Blang speak a South Asian language and are perhaps descendants of the ancient "Pu" tribe mentioned in historical records as inhabiting the Lancang River valley. Our last stop is to take a look at a very special tea tree. The King of Tea Trees is 800 years old and, since it is resistant to disease and insect pests, requires no chemical treatments so that its leaves are said to produce one of the most pure products available. Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Day 5: Tropical Gardens. We will drive out to the Botanical Gardens before returning to the airport for your flight back to Kunming. You don't have to be green-fingered to enjoy these gardens. The species are planted in zones so that you can wander to those areas that sound most interesting, and there are also indoor exhibitions to explain something of the work going on. After check-in you will say goodbye to your Xishuangbanna guide. A Kunming guide will meet you on arrival and see you safely to your hotel. The rest of the time is free. Meals: breakfast, lunch.
Day 6: Journey's end. This Journey ends after breakfast. Check-out is usually 12:00 (noon).
Also see tour packages in:
Asia China Local Culture Cultural Journey Garden Tours
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