"Banna" has wild peacocks

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Xishuangbanna

"Banna" as it is called, looks more like Laos, Myanmar or Thailand than a place one would associate with China. It shares some of their climate, geographic features and cultures, not to mention the Mekong.

It is a land of lush rainforests, terraced hillsides and small villages of bamboo and thatch. It is where wild elephants trumpet and peacocks screech, where tea, pineapples and cocoanuts grow next to blinding bougainvilla. Banna is home to one fourth of China's species of fauna and one sixth of its varieties of plants.

Here, the food is spicy and the celebrations are energetic. The largest is the Water Splashing Festival held on Dai Lunar New Year, April 13 to 18. It is similar to Thailand's Songkran, three days of unbridled festivities in which everybody gets doused with water.


Jewels of the Mekong
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