Cultural Crossroads – Jinghong

The minute you step foot into this laid-back village, you will feel as if you have been transported to the lands of tropical Southeast Asia. This provincial capital is surrounded by jungles teaming with diverse varieties of wildlife, contributing to the humid temperatures of the region.

The borders of Thailand, Burma, Laos and Vietnam lie close by and many tourists as well as more permanent visitors come from these countries adding to the unique cultural makeup of the city. Around half of the population is comprised of the Dai ethnic minority originally from Northern Thailand who brought their own unique language and alphabet with them as they resettled.

Chinese tourists head to this area know as China’s mini-Thailand to enjoy the sunshine, indulge on the Dai cuisine and participate in the various festivals. The National Culture and Custom Park located close to the airport exhibits the rare tropical plants and animals that can be found in this area of Xishuangbanna, as well as the local culture and customs of its people.

Just southwest of the city towards Burma, you can take the special opportunity to visit the Mangguanglong Monastery where you can witness the daily lives of 30 young Buddhist monks. Be sure to use discretion when taking photographs, however, and never display the soles of your feet towards another person!