Xishuangbanna is the southernmost prefecture of Yunnan Province with the city of Jinghong and the counties of Menghai and Mengla under its jurisdiction. Of Xishuangbannas 19,184.45 square kilometres of territory, tourist and scenic resorts make up 1,202.13 square kilometres, and nature reserves occupy a total of 2,064.6 square kilometres.
The prefecture is nicknamed. Aerial Garden for its luxuriant and multi - layered primitive woods and tropical rain forests, which are teeming with animals and plants.
Within thick and boundless forests wild elephants and wild oxen ramble about , with peacocks in their pride , gibbons at play , and hornbills whispering .
Renowned as a huge natural zoo , Xishuangbannas rain forest and monsoon jungles provide a habitat for more than 500 species of terrestrial vertebrates . over 300 species of birds , over 40 species of amphibious animals and more than 60 species of reptiles,including the boa constrictor.
Among animals for world protection are elephants , white-breasted black woodpeckers , leopards and Bengalese tigers . Thirteen species of wild life enjoy state protection , including loris , the gibbons , the red-necked cranes , the brown-neck horn-bills , and the green peacocks , which to the Dai people are a symbol of peace , happiness and good fortune and whose graceful postures can put professional dancers to shame. The region has 5,000 kinds of plants or about one-sixth of the total in China . This has earned it the renown and sobriquet The moonstone on the Crown of the Kingdom of Plants .
Among these are such fascinating ones as the color-changing flower whose colors change three times daily and the dancing herb whose leaves rotate gently . Then there is mysterious fruit which reverse tastes , turning sour to sweet .
Species of trees that go back a million years are still propagating themselves . The King of Tea Trees , which authorities say is at least 800 years old , contitues to sprout , adding extraordinary splendor to the homeland of the famous Puer tea . In Xishuangbanna ,there is a saying : even a single tree can make a forest and an old stalk can blossom and beat fruit .
It takes twenty or so hours to drive from Kunming to Xishuangbanna, which are 700 kilometres apart. Banna Airport is large enough to accommodate Boeing-737s, and a flight between Kunming and Xishuangbanna takes about 50 minutes. Apart from daily flights to and from Kunming, the airport also operates chartered flights between the prefecture and Chengdu, Chongqing, Bangkok and some other cities
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