A unique destination on the Thai-Chinese border, Xishuangbanna is a Chinese approximation of its Thai name Sip Sawng Pan Na, or Twelve Thousand Rice Fields. Indeed, this border prefecture seems more Thai than Chinese; most of its inhabitants are members of hill tribes and ethnic minorities, such as the Dai, the Yao, and the Zhuang.


A handpicked selection of experiences endorsed by our experts. If you can’t see what you’re looking for, let us know, as our extensive network of local contacts can open many doors.

Black Pagoda

The Black Pagoda is a Dai monastery. Visitors will be able to speak with the resident monks and discuss their views and philosophy, as well as take in the lovely views of the surrounding area.

Dai and Bulan Village Trek

Trek to villages inhabited by the Dai and Bulan ethnic minorities in southern Yunnan, whose food, stories and culture are entirely distinct and separate from the rest of China. The trek is a moderate one, crossing hills and slopes, but no mountains.

Mekong Ferry

Take a ferry across the Mekong River, the lifeblood of the local area. You will pass tea fields, rainforests, and endless fields of rice – glimpses of a quieter, slower life.

Olive Dam

Perhaps the most popular site in all of Xishuangbanna, the Olive Dam is named for its distinct shape. Home to the Dai ethnic minority, Olive Dam is a quaint village of wooden houses built on stilts, and features an agricultural bounty of tropical fruits. Nearby, the landscape is dotted with ornate, multi-tiered Burmese-style Buddhist pagodas.

Wild Elephant Valley

The last primeval rainforest remaining in China, the forest of Xishuangbanna is a biodiverse habitat home to China’s last remaining population of wild elephants. The best time to spot elephants is at dusk or dawn; park authorities have built a series of viewing towers and treehouses from which to spot the elephants.

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