Xishuangbanna: the Tropical Delight of China

Xishuangbanna is the gateway to Southeast Asia in China. However this prefecture is not just a part of the route. It is also the home of the Dai Community, and hence an important destination for those who wish to learn more about the Chinese culture and way of life. The warm climate and abundant rainfall have led to the rich biodiversity that has made this region one of the most beautiful places to visit in the country. The Dai community has also been able to preserve its culture over the centuries.

The Natural Beauty of Xishuangbanna is Worth Exploration

Xishuangbanna is an autonomous prefecture in Yunnan Province of China. This is one of the oldest sites in the province which is known for its pleasant tropical climate and ethnic concentration. Naturally it has become an important destination of study abroad programs in China.

It is vital for a gap year program or a Chinese language program to incorporate those places in China which not only reflect the modern life that the citizens have embraced but also the deep rooted culture which is poignant and pervasive throughout the country. For example, the modern city of Beijing has been separated from the old Beijing City and, despite being right next to each other, one can clearly see the difference in the lifestyles led by people in these two vastly different regions. The hustle and bustle of modern Beijing and the baroque lifestyle of the old city magically coexist side by side. Likewise, there are entire townships which though having embraced modern culture and the fast-paced life, they preserve their cultural practices and way of living through it all. Such destinations prove to be a great source of learning for students who want to learn Mandarin and also understand the Chinese culture.

Xishuangbanna is one of such destinations. It is located at a lesser height than the rest of the Yunnan Province and hence it features relatively warmer weather with tropical features. Its location also offers one strategic benefit to those who have come on China tour. These individuals can easily travel to neighboring Asian countries of Myanmar and Laos, the former lying to the west and the latter lying towards the east of the prefecture. But this is not all. Xishuangbanna is home to the Dai people and the official name of the prefecture is Dai Minority People’s Autonomous Prefecture. The name Xishuangbanna in turn can be translated to “Twelve Thousand Rice Fields”, which is indicative of the traditional work that the Dai community has been involved in for centuries.

The prefecture is marked by two seasons. There is the rainy season and the dry season. The rainy season starts in May and ends in October. The dry season starts in November and continues till April. Those interested in learning Chinese and going on China travel can visit anytime of the year. The abundant rainfall and warm climate has created diverse flora and fauna. The rich biodiversity has allowed preservation of forests and the few elephants remaining in China are found here. This region also produces the landmark tea of the country. There are six mountains called the Tea Mountains where among others, the highly regarded Pu-erh tea is also produced. The dominant religion here is Theravada Buddhism and the region is flanked by several temples and pagodas. One can also see the traditions and customs as being an integral part of the daily life of people living here.

  • Twitter
  • del.icio.us
  • Digg
  • Facebook
  • Technorati
  • Reddit
  • Yahoo Buzz
  • StumbleUpon

Historically Rich Lijiang is a Not-to-be-Missed Part of China

Beautiful Lijiang

Lijiang is a small town in Yunnan Province which has a history of almost 800 years. It is built at a spot where the Jade River divides into three sections. The Ancient Town of Lijiang was listed as a World Heritage Site in 1997 and the place houses a remarkable plethora of history, landscapes and culture. It is known for its quiet tranquility and of late it has become one of the most popular tourist spots in the country as well.

Exploring Lijiang

If you have opted for Chinese language programs or gap year jobs in Yunnan Province of China, you will get the opportunity to see some of the oldest places in the country. Yunnan has temperate climatic conditions which make it the ideal destination for all forms of study abroad and gap year programs. One can visit the province anytime of the year and there are no temperature extremities of the kind that are encountered in Beijing or Shanghai during summers.

Close to the capital city of Kunming is the small city of Lijiang which has attracted a lot of tourists visiting China. Lijiang City has an 800-year-old history; this town was built between 1127 and 1279 during the end of the reign of the Song Dynasty in South China. The period also coincided with the beginning of the reign of the Yuan Dynasty. Lijiang was the stopover of traders from Tibet who traded horses for tea in that region.

Lijiang was founded at the place where the Jade River parts into three rivers. The town was built in such a manner that the three rivers coursed through it and the complex water system that developed has been compared to the canal system of Venice. The river gets divided into streams which get further subdivided in such a manner that they flow through courtyards and side alleys of the houses. This water system has been hailed as an exclusive method for daily use of water as well as for water storage. Students studying architecture marvel at this 800year-old system.

Students learning Mandarin in Yunnan take time out of their study schedule, and visit Lijiang. The town offers them the history and complete oversight of the ancient Chinese culture which has remained preserved here. The town came to the world’s attention  in 1996 because of an earthquake that had hit the region. But since then the residents have recovered and transformed the town into one of the most popular tourist spots in the country.

Studying abroad is not complete without a comprehensive cultural immersion program. This is why Lijiang becomes an important destination for all those who have opted for Chinese language programs. The old town of the city has been maintained, and, while visiting it, one goes back in time. There is a bonfire every evening at the Central Plaza where foreigners frequently gather. Another feature is the Mu Palace which was built by the Mu Clan when it ruled over the Naxi for 400 years. There is also the beautiful and scenic Black Dragon Pool from which one can take beautiful pictures of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. This mountain rises almost to a height of 5,600 meters.

  • Twitter
  • del.icio.us
  • Digg
  • Facebook
  • Technorati
  • Reddit
  • Yahoo Buzz
  • StumbleUpon