Often shortened to Banna, Xishuangbanna, China, a remote area near Myanmar and Laos about 1,600 mi/2,500 km southwest of Beijing, is reached by plane (about an hour) or bus (about a 14-hour ride) from Kunming. Its main attractions are its thriving ethnic culture and trekking opportunities.
Although it's hard to get airline tickets, the best time to visit Xishuangbanna is during the Water-Splashing Festival (usually in mid-April), which symbolically washes away the demons and dirt of the old year. It features traditional dragon-boat racing, fireworks and free-for-all water fights (plan on being soaked). The town of Jinghong, on the Mekong River near the Myanmar border, is the center of festivities.
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