Xishuangbanna Virgin Forest Park covers an area of 25,000 mu (1666 ha, circa, where 1 mu is roughly equal to 1/15 hectare). Here are deep gorges, mountain streams, thick forests, clear lakes, and a seemingly infinite variety of tropical plants that share every available square centimeter of stratified space, from the floor of the forest to its canopy; here is truly some of the most prized tropical rain forest on earth (the plant coverage here is greater than 98%, a remarkable density even for a rain forest).
Xishuangbanna Virgin Forest Park comprises 10 different scenic zones, including more than 50 sites of special interest. Xishuangbanna Virgin Forest Park includes a peacock reproduction facility, a monkey domesticating base, a large stadium devoted to ethnic activities (the Garden of Ethnic Cultures), and a number of ethnic dwellings displaying the living habitats, the implements and the utensils unique to each ethnic group. There are some 10 ethnic minorities, here, including the Dai, the Hani, the Bulang, the Jinuo, the Lahu, the Wa, and the Yao, whereof the Dai is the largest, comprising one-third of the population.
There are many natural settings within the park that are so characteristic that they have been given descriptive names by the indigenous peoples. These include such scenes as 'Shallow Lake Overgrown With Wild Plants', 'One Tree One Forest', 'Old Stalk Blooms', and 'Plants Strangle Each Other'. Special nationality customs are re-enacted here, such as the custom of 'Taking a Woman for Marriage by Force' that can be seen in the Aini minority village. The most popular and most widely-known festival is the delightful Water-Sprinkling Festival, in which visitors are also encouraged to participate.
Of particular prominence in Xishuangbanna Virgin Forest Park is the Peacock Park of Great China. Xishuangbanna has always enjoyed the reputation of being the birthplace of the peacock, which fascinating creature, among the indigenous Dai nationality, is taken as the symbol of luck, happiness, beauty and kindness. The Peacock Park of Great China has been constructed with this reputation in mind. The park covers an area of some 10,000 square meters, with more than 1000 peacocks living in it, and includes a peacock-reproduction facility that is the most ambitious such project in all of Southeast Asia. The peacock dance is regularly performed by the Dai people to the rhythm of the gong and drum, especially during the Water-Sprinkling Festival.
Other attractions of Xishuangbanna Virgin Forest Park include natural settings such as 'The Aerial Flower Garden' (flowers and blossoms that occur high up in the trees in special areas in the forest), 'The Waterfall of Nine Dragons' (a waterfall that suggests the image which gives it its name), and 'The Legend of the Gold Lake', a scene involving a lake with a reference to a legendary lake of gold (there are many Dai nationality legends connected to this lake), which legend has prompted some to suggest that the Shangri-La referred to in James Hilton's Lost Horizon was modelled upon Xishuangbanna. Whatever the truth of this, it is certain that your enounter with Xishuangbanna's tropical paradise with its many exotic species such as the peacock with its rare beauty and haunting cry, the python, the lizard, the pangolin, and the black bear will stay in your memory forever. Here you will experience first-hand the harmony that has existed since time immemorial between the peoples, the animals, and the plants that make up this tropical paradise.
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