Straddling the Lancang River and bordering Myanmar and Laos in China’s southernmost region, Xishuangbanna is an autonomous prefecture located in the Yunnan Province. Centrally located in the Gasa Tourism Zone, Sheraton Grand Xishuangbanna Hotel is only 15 minutes from downtown Jinghong City and provides convenient access to the rich biodiversity, hot springs, culture, and historical landmarks of the area, which in ancient times was known as Mengbanaxi, a “miraculous and nice utopia.”
Xishuangbanna is home to the last of China’s Asian Elephants, an endangered species since 1986. Visitors to Wild Elephant Valley, 40 kilometers from the hotel, have the rare opportunity to view them in the wild via cable rides or a walking corridor above the rainforest. Part of Mengyang Natural Reserve, the park is abundant with wildlife, including oxen, peacocks, and monkeys, and visitors can enjoy butterfly displays, a peacock show, or a wild elephant performance. Exploration of the region’s extraordinary biodiversity continues at Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, which preserves over 13,000 plant species, and Ganlan Ba (Olive Plain), which showcases an uncommon array of betel palms, coconut palms, oil palms, and banana trees amongst bamboo houses on stilts and traditional Buddhist pagodas.
Guests can peek into the region’s history at Jingzhen Octagonal Pavilion, featuring ancient 11th-century Buddhist architecture and the White Pagodas—a remarkable structure comprised of nine rising steeples topped with golden pinnacles. Located atop Feilong Mountain, the pagodas house impressive paintings and historic Chinese sculptures. Once an imperial garden, Chunhaun (Manting) Park offers a glimpse into the traditional culture of the Dai people with unique architecture and a Thai-style Buddhist temple.
The region’s renowned strong-tasting teas, as well as its spectacular supply of indigenous tropical fruits like pineapples, lychees, jackfruit, passion fruit, and more, are welcome refreshments for any explorer.