Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Gardens (XTBG) were created in 1959 to help study and preserve China’s only tropical rainforest.
Most visitors will stay in the capital JingHong or the nearby Menglun Town, but we were lucky enough to stay as guests at the only hotel in the park, exclusively for use by members of the Chinese Academy of Science.
It’s an elegant but ageing hotel in the middle of the Gardens. The hot water only runs for a few hours a day and the internet varies between slow and broken, yet all is forgotten when you look out the windows across the giant Lilly pads floating in the palm tree lined pond.
Half of the 1,100ha area is given over to growing 12,000 varieties of plant. The gardens are divided into sections by plant type. Small electric cars with surly drivers drop passengers off at various points around the landscaped gardens. The whole site is encircled by the LuoSuo River, which is a tributary of the Mekong Delta.
The larger area is a virgin rainforest, with slippery walkways guiding you to the highlights. These include a strangling vine and a ‘Huge Woody’ to stare at if that’s your thing.
XiShuangBanna Visitor details
Entry ticket: 80rmb
There’s an additional charge of 30rmb a day to use the unlimited bus service. Alternatively it’s possible to hire bicycles as it is very flat, or simply walk.
For more ideas in the XiShuangBanna area, have a read of this post about temples and minority village tours.