Travel Journal

Xishuangbanna region (China)

(Friday 18 January 2008) by Lynda
In search of some subtropical weather we ended up in Xishuangbanna. This is the
Dai woman at the Xiding market
Dai woman at the Xiding market
most southern tip of Yunnan and is bordered by Myanmar and Laos and the region is a great mix of all different ethnic groups, Han Chinese, Burmese people with longi's, Laos people wearing their sarongs and of course the very colorful ethnic minorities: Dai, Aini, Lisu, Yao and Bulang.

We arrived early morning in Jinghong on the night bus from Kunming and it was very chilly just sitting outside the bus station waiting for a decent time to go for a breakfast in town. But around 10.00 am the town started to wake up and we had a great breakfast and found out the reason for this cold situation......China is an extreme big country but strangely enough....only one time zone.....Beijing Time! So according to Beijing Time it's 8 in the morning and time to start working but according to the sun it's only 6 o'clock and way to early (way to cold that is) to rise. So the golden rule in Banna region is: move with the sun! And indeed, after our breakfast the sun came out and the temperature was amazingly warm, loved it.

We booked a 2,5 day hiking trip to visit tribal villages and see the Thursday market in Xiding. The trip was great, amazing views over the rice terraces, tea plantations and sugar cane fields. Small villages with houses on wooden poles, very friendly people, curious little kids and beautiful temples and great weather, used my sunscreen for the first time in 3 months!!!! We slept the first night with a local Bulang family, just on a blanket on their wooden floor, but amazingly enough we slept perfect. Rice for breakfast is still not my favorite but you can't be picky when you're invited to share food with these people. Overwhelming friendly and constantly checking that you have everything you need: eat more, drink more tea!
Views of the Banna region
Views of the Banna region
Never seen Joost drinking so much tea! The market in Xiding was small but it was great to be there and look at the colorful people that trade their homegrown vegetables, fruits and herbs. These days only the older women still wear the traditional (and colorful) cloths when they go to the market, but it's still a great sight. Yes, this trekking was definitely one of the highlights of our trip, although our guide didn't really contribute to that..... but we had each other and this great area and that was enough to have a great trip.

Back in Jinghong we explored the city itself and it's botanical garden and of course the Mekong River (Lancan river is the name of the Mekong in China). We also explored the small villages in the surrounding by bike. It's really great to bike around in the countryside and see the other very rural part of China.... and simply get lost on the little dirt tracks that are not shown on any map. A bit scary when you start but to be honest....you get used to it.

I'm back in HongKong at the moment, Joost got on the plane last Wednessday back to Amsterdam and I'm figuring out where to go next. And to be honest.......I'm having the biggest traveldip ever.....so I don't have a clue what to do of where to go but it will come to me hopefully

 


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