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China's tropical south

Kunming - Jinghong

village in Xishuangbanna

Xishuangbanna is the southernmost part of Yunnan, in south-west China, on the border with Burma (Myanmar) and Laos. It is a land of rich farmland, broad rivers and rainforests with more in common with its neighbouring countries than the rest of China. It is also home to many of China's ethnic minority peoples, with their own distinctive traditional costumes, food and festivals.

Day 1  Arrive Kunming, capital of Yunnan province. City tour before evening flight to Jinghong, capital of the Xishuangbanna region. Transfer to hotel.

Day 2  Visit to the Tropical Plant Research Institute in Jinghong - an extensive botanical garden - plus Wat Manting, a large Thai-style temple on the banks of the Lancang (Mekong) River. Savour the atmosphere of the old town.

Day 3  Travel by car to the Meglun Botanic Gardens, one of the most famous in the world for the study of tropical plants, via Ganlamba, an immensely fertile plain cultivated by rice paddy fields and rubber plantations. Visit one of the villages of the local Dai nationality with their distinctive wooden raised houses and local Buddhist shrines.

Day 4  Travel by car to the Sancha He wildlife reserve, with the chance to see elephants and an aerial cable car ride above the rainforest.

Day 5  Travel by car to the tea-growing centre of Menghai, famous for its Pu'er tea - China's most treasured tea, and the Octagonal Pagoda at Jingzhen.

Day 6  Transfer to airport for your onward journey. (B)