Every year on October first, the people of China celebrate National Day, a holiday commemorating the founding of the PRC, whose festivities are second only to those of the Spring Festival (aka “Chinese New Year”). This year, it happened that the day before National Day was the Moon Festival, and the combined holiday resulted in an unparalleled bonanza of fireworks, mooncakes, and general debauchery. It also meant that even foreign students were given time off school. And so, armed with a backpack and a couple of pages torn from the Lonely Planet China Edition, I and four of my classmates set out to explore Xishuangbanna.
Xishuangbanna (the “Xi” is pronounced “shee”) is an autonomous prefecture in the southern-most part of Yunnan Province and on the border of Laos and Myanmar. Its low valley regions are filled with steamy jungles that hold year-round supplies of tropical fruits, bamboo plants the size of oak trees, and even a few elephants. The prefecture is also home to Yunnan’s largest population of ethnic minorities, with almost a third of the population identifying as Dai, and another third identifying as either Hanyi, Yi, Bulong, Hui, Jino, Yao, or Bai.
This picture was taken in Jinghong, the capital city of Xishuangbanna, at the Tropical Flowers Garden.