If you want to travel Thailand and China in one go, then look no further than Xishuangbanna! Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture, as it is known officially, is located in southern Yunnan Province of China, on the borders of Laos and Myanmar. Compared with the distance to Beijing, the capital of China, Xishuangbanna is about a third of closer to Bangkok, the capital of Thailand. Therefore, unlike typical China you may imagine, you will get a strong taste of Thailand besides the charm of China in Xishuangbanna. Golden Southeast Asia style temples, banana trees, elephant groups and Thai-flavored snacks are somehow the strong proofs. Besides, known as the “Kingdom of Animals and Plants”, Xishuangbanna is, of course, a beautiful, mysterious and earthly paradise worthy of any nature lover’s bucket list.
Xishuangbanna is about 360km southwest of Kunming, the capital of Yunnan Province and the most vital gateway to Xishuangbanna. Convenient and frequent flights can take tourists to Xishuangbanna from Kunming in merely one hour or so.
In Xishuangbanna, tropical forest, garden, fruits and Dai culture are the picks of best that you should never miss, with Buddhist temples and adorable animals as rewards. The most visited attractions in Xishuangbanna include Manting Park, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Dai Nationality Garden, Wild Elephant Valley, Peacock Garden, Wangtainshu Scenic Area, etc.
Knwo more about Top 8 Xishuangbanna Tourist Attractions >>
With a history of more than 1,300 years, Manting Park (曼听公园) in Jinghong downtown with easy access is one of the iconic sites of Xishuangbanna. It was used to be a royal park of Dai kingdom.
Tropical Botanical Garden
Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (中科院热带植物园) is the largest botanical garden with the richest collection of species in China. It shows visitors an incredible preserve with a wide variety of plants, trees and flowers.
Dai Minority Park
Dai Minority Park (傣族园) is home to some best preserved Dai villages. Dai Villages aside, what makes Dai Minority Park stand out is the Water Splashing Celebration held every day. Everyone will get create happy time there.
Tropical Flower Garden
Compared with the Tropical Botanical Garden, the Xishuangbanna Tropical Flower Garden (热带花卉园) is closer to Jinghong downtown. It is also full of wonderful trees, lovely flowers and amazing fruits to feast your eyes.
Mengle Great Buddhist Monastery
Mengle Great Buddhist Monastery (勐泐大佛寺) about 4.5km south of Manting Park is the largest Theravada Buddhist Temple in China and the most sacred and important religion site of Dai people.
Zong Buddhist Monastery
Zongfosi is usually visited after the exploration of Manting Park, because it is just behind the garden. With a long history of more than 1,000 years, Zongfosi is a sacred monastery for believers in Xishuangbanna and even whole Southeast Asia.
Gaozhuang Night Market
There are so many night markets in Xishuangbanna, including Gaozhuang Night Market, Jiangbian Night Market, etc. Most of them are located on the two banks of Lancang River, offering from fresh food, toy, Dai clothes to handicrafts.
Wild Elephant Valley
Wild Elephant Valley (野象谷) is mainly famed for its huge number of elephant there. Visitors will have a close experience of watching a herd of wild elephants bathe or drink there.
It will be interesting when you see a hundred peacocks flying from the hillside and over the lake. And at Peacock Garden (孔雀园), those lovely and beautiful creatures will give you such an amazing performance.
Wangtianshu Scenic Area
Wangtianshu Scenic Area (望天树景区) 2~2.5 hours southeast of Xishuangbanna downtown, a little bit far. And thanks to the far distance from the modern areas, it offers the original looks of tropical forest.
Every minute in Xishuangbanna will never be boring. There are so many things to do, such as visit the monasteries, tropical forests, gardens, parks and villages in the day. At night, you can choose to cruise the Lancang River or explore the night markets!
Visit the Temples
Temples spread almost everywhere of Xishuangbanna. Paying a visit to one of the so many temples is somewhat stepping close to the belief and history of this region. So leave yourself at least half day to explore temples!
Wander in Tropical Forest/Garden
The best way to appreciate the charm of this “kingdom of animals and plant” is, of course, wandering in the tropical forests or gardens, like Tropical Flower Garden, Wantianshu Scenic Area and Tropical Botanical Garden...
Savor Festivals Atmosphere
Colorful festivals of minority groups in Xishuangbanna allow everyone to have fun there. And Water-Splashing Festival of Dai Minority is the most interesting one. Everyone ends up getting splashed with water, which is an expression of good luck.
Explore the Night Markets
Xishuangbanna is a paradise for foodies, and such a belief will be especially profound at night. Night markets with dizzying neon glow will light the night and drive the night away. Forget your bed until you full your last bit of belly space.
Enjoy Minority Shows
The minority groups in Xishuangbanna, particularly Dai, are extremely good at dancing. Featured on the elegance of peacocks, their shows are so interesting. The most famous show is presented at Manting Park.
Cruise Lancang River
If you are tired of walking on land, how about take a ship to cruise the Lancang River? It will give a different angle to appreciate Xishuangbanna. Minority shows will also be provided during the ship journey.
The vast tropical forest and mountains create endless hiking possibilities. The superb hiking in the surrounding mountains is the reason why Xishuangbanna is so popular among backpackers. Go with a local guide if you want a hiking trip there.
Dai Minority Park Water-splashing Festival
Xishuangbanna enjoys a year-round “hot” weather, with an average temperature of 21.8 °C. Even in winter, Xishuangbanna is still warm and pleasant, making it a place suitable to be visited all year around. The peak season of Xishuangbanna usually comes in April, when the annual grand Water Splining Festival raises the curtain.
The best time to visited Xishuangbanna is said to be the months from November to April of next year. However, noon hours aside, the rest months are also good time for a Xishuangbanna tour!
In Xishuangbanna, T-shirts or skirts are good choices during all the day hours of a year. However, the temperature will drop a lot at night, so take a coat with you. And to protect yourself from getting sunburned, you are suggested to wear sunglasses and take sunscreens with you all the time.
Get more ideas of Xishuangbanna Weather, Best Time & What to Wear >>
Xishuangbanna on the southwest edge of China is mainly reached by flight or coach. To get to Xishuangbanna mostly means to get to its downtown Jinghong City (景洪), where you will find the only airport and main coach stations of Xishuangbanna.
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Xishuangbanna Gasa International Airport
Xishuangbanna Gasa International Airport is the only airport offering flights to/from Xishuangbanna. Tourists can catch a flight to the airport from international cities like Bangkok, London, Singapore, New York and also domestic cities like Kunming, Beijing, Shanghai, Guilin, Chengdu, Guangzhou, etc.
Address: Jichang Road, Jinghong City, Xishuangbanna (西双版纳傣族自治州景洪市机场公路，西双版纳嘎洒国际机场)
The nearby cities like Vientiane in Laos and Kunming in Yunnan also operate long-distance coach to Xishuangbanna, which is hot chosen by independent backpackers. However, it is usually a long and tough journey. The coach journey from Kunming, for instance, takes more than 8.5 hours.
Warm tip: Normally, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand tourists aside, visitors prefer to get to Xishuangbanna from Kunming, the capital of Yunnan Province. By taking a flight from Kunming, you will be in Xishuangbanna in only one hour around. Know more about How to Get to Xishuangbanna from Kunming >>
Streets of Gaozhuang
Hotels at Gaozhuang (告庄) or near Water-Splashing Square (Poshui Square 泼水广场) on the two banks of Lancang River are usually the best choices to stay in Xishuangbanna, because most of the best hotels can be found at these two areas. Besides, if you choose a hotel there, you will find many busy night markets within steps.
Hotels are a lot for your accommodation at Gaozhuang or near Poshui Square. There are 800+ hotels from luxury 5-star hotels or 2-star guesthouses for you to choose. Check more about where to stay at Xishuangbanna >>
To help you have a better understanding of Xishuangbanna’ location, transportation, tourist attraction, we’ve made some useful English Xishuangbanna maps here, including Xishuangbanna China Map, Xishuangbanna Tourist Map and Xishuangbanna Map. If you are interested, you can get more maps at 2023 Xishuangbanna Maps >>
Besides Xishuangbanna, there are many other hot destinations in Yunnan, like Kunming, Lijiang, Shangri-la, Dali, Yuanyang and Jianshui, etc. Check the travel guide of each destination and discover now!
China is vast and diverse. Besides Kunming and the colorful Yunnan, you can enrich your trip to more wonderful destination to enjoy more beautiful sceneries, historical culture, etc. Following are 4 top popular destinations you may get interested in. Please check the travel guide of each destination to start. Also, you can check all our popular travel destinations in China!
Chinese Name: 西双版纳
Chinese Pinyin: xī shuāng bǎn nà
Population: 1.18 million
Language: Mandarin, Yunnan Dialect & Dai
Ethnic Groups: 13
Tel Code: 0691
Zip Code: 532800
Time Zone: (UTC+8)
To fully catch the unique tropical flavor of Xishuangbanna, travelers spend about 3~4 days there. Since most of the scenic spots in Xishuangbanna are 1~3 hours apart from each other, tourists usually visit less than three sites of its most visited scenic spots each day, like Wild Elephant Valley, Wangtianshu Scenic Area, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanic Garden, Manting Park.. And after the night falls, they will explore one of the so many amazing night markets in Jinghong City to savor some mouth-watering snacks in Thai or Dai flavor and buy some unique ethnic souvenirs.
Most of the visitors head to Xishuangbanna from Kunming, the capital of Yunnan Province. Therefore, they will travel Kunming and Xishuangbanna in one go. Before heading to Xishuangbanna, they will spend 1~3 days in Kunming City to discover Green Lake, West Hill and Dragon Gate, Stone Forest…
Want more surprises of Yunnan? Why not extending your tour to more top destinations, such as Lijiang to meet the best ancient town, mountain and gorge, Daliwith profound Dali Old Town and splendid Erhai Lake, Shangri-La to seek the pure holy sceneries and Tibetan belief? Such a Yunnan tour needs 6-15 days based on your exploration depth!
Travel with China Discovery
We have helped many global travelers enjoy their memorable trips to Yunnan for the past few years. Among them Mr. Elie & his wife from Belgium had 15 great days in Yunnan during their 69 days China trip customized with us and shared us their special travel story. Travel with China Discovery to create your wonderful Yunnan trip memories!
Kunming / Xishuangbanna