Xishuangbana

She swung bananas.  That's about the best pronunciation
most of you will make.  Xishuangbana is a region or
prefecture in southern Yunnan Province.  Now being
promoted as a vacation destination, it is home to China's last
wild elephants, which are protected and now toured upon.  
Xishuangbana has large tracts of protected land, wildlife
refuges, and a wide variety of plants remain.  I say remain,
because large expanses of forest were burned, and rubber
trees were planted in their stead.  From the road, it looks
lovely, but upon closer inspection, one realizes there is too
much order to the trees.  Nevertheless, Xishuangbana has a
tropical garden, located near the town of Menglung and
almost adjacent to the village of Medeng, about 80 km by
bus from Jinghong, which features a large variety of native
plants.  Some are found only in this preserve.  

I visited this location in May of 2004.  I was working in
Shantou, and learned that I had a week off, for Labor Week.  
I knew of China's rain forest, and took the opportunity to
visit.  Jinghong is about 200 km south of Simao, which is
about 600 km south of Kunming (see maps at end of page).  I
traveled by plane to Kunming and then Simao, but had to
take a bus to Jinghong - all flights were booked during the
holiday.  The entrance to the Xishuangbana Tropical
Botanical Garden at the right.  Indigenous women of this
region, members of the Dai tribe, dress very colorfully.  
Peacocks chained to a chair, just inside the garden (inset).



The next day, I began my adventure.  I decided to first visit
the nearby Tropical Botanical Garden, which has about 800
species of plants, some found no where else.  A child makes
his way over the rickety footbridge.






























No collecting is allowed in the Tropical Botanical Garden, so
after my visit, I hiked 2 km down the road to Medeng.  Here
I found a wash with a trickle of water - it was the dry season
- and visited this spot for the next six days.  This was
because I can't speak Chinese, therefore I decided not to visit
different regions each day.  Purchasing a bus ticket was
difficult, I didn't know where I might accidentally end up, so
each day I just showed the agent an old receipt and gave her
the money.  I did find about 100 lifers (first time butterflies
for me) in this spot.  Many of the photos are posted on this
website, go to the butterfly homepage to view, link below.  
Another reason that I returned was the hospitality of the
people in this village.  The owner of the store cleaned a
wound the second day of my visit.  By day four, I was
bringing my own cans of soda for his fridge, as I drank all he
had to sell.Images from the Xishuangbana Tropical Botanical
Garden. The signpost for Medeng, China.  This village has
about 200 people.  Located about 25 km southeast of
Jinghong.















The store in Medeng.  The owner is very friendly and the
town medic.
































The entrance to the wash, just 50 feet from Medeng.

































The lower stretch of the wash.  I observed a lot of neat
butterflies here.
































Looking up a side of the wash.

































Looking up another side of the wash.
































Maps

Maps of the region and links to the original website.
Jinghong prefecture is the center area, the town of Jinghong
is labeled Yunjinghong.  I took the bus to Medeng, which is
not shown, but is just before Menglun, in the Mengla
prefecture.  These regions are in southernmost Yunnan
Province and China.