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.

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