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By Momentum Editor (@momentumtravels)     19 Aug 2016

The southern Chinese region of Xishuangbanna—often referred to as Banna by those in the know—is a delightful enclave in Yunnan province that’s home to the Dai ethnic group.

The mountainous, hilly landscape of Banna draws frequent comparisons to neighbors Laos and Thailand thanks to its tropical rainforests, wild elephants and stilted wooden villages—and has much to offer visitors looking to experience local life. Escape the city to these three spots and while away an hour or two.

Manbie Dai Village

For a real insight into the age-old traditions and community spirit of the Dai people, pay a visit to this charming village. Stilted, multistoried wooden houses line the tranquil streets and the Dai locals will greet you like long-lost members of the family, keen to stop and chat or even share a game of basketball. Ride a bicycle through the village or venture out on foot, being sure to stop by the village centerpiece, Dai House, and the morning market for fresh fruit and vegetables.

Address: Manbie Dai Village, Gasa, Jinghong


Known as Yunnan’s hot spring district, Gasa is about four miles south of Jinghong. Locals flock here from the city for the town’s breakfast spots, as well as its fruit and vegetable market. After soaking up daily life, spend an evening at Gasa Hot Springs—a country-club-style venue popular for its large natural hot-spring pool.

Address: Gasa, Jinghong

Mansa Buddhist Temple

Jinghong boasts some beautiful Buddhist temples, including the ornate Mansa Buddhist Temple in Mansa Village. Intricate golden sculptures encircle the small shrine, which is tucked away off the road in a peaceful courtyard. The spot offers a few moments of repose and is the perfect way to contemplate Buddhist culture away from the crowds of some of the larger city temples. The route here is lined with a number of traditional Dai village houses.

Address: Mansa Village, Gasa, Jinghong


Need somewhere to stay? The Sheraton Grand Xishuangbanna Hotel is within 15 minutes of each of these sites.


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