Water Splashing Festival 4 Day Tour

Highlights:

  • Come see one of China’s greatest and most vibrant minority festivals in the The Water Splashing Festival (Water Spray Festival). The Water Splashing Festival is the grandest traditional festival of the Dai minority group. During three days in mid April of each year, the Dai people bless each other by splashing water and take part in activities such as dragon boat racing, singing and dancing.
  • This tour will give you a piece of the lush, tropical landscape of southeast Asia by visiting the prefecture of Xishuangbanna. Xishuangbanna contains the one setting of China's tropical rainforest in China. While biology buffs may salivate over the various of flora and fauna in the region, those who have no horticultural inclination will still be intrigued by the region's unique culture.
  • On your tour you will be accompanied by a professional and experienced English-speaking guide, so you can worry about getting the most fun and enjoyment out of your trip while your guide handles all the logistical work.

(B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner)

Detailed itinerary:

Day 1 arrive in Xishuangbanna (L)

You will fly into Jinghong, Diqing prefecture, and upon arrival you will be met by your English-speaking travel guide. After being taken to your hotel, you will get some time to relax and unpack. We will then get started with the day’s activities with a visit to Manting Park.

With a history of more than 1,300 years, Manting Park is the oldest park in Jinghong City. In medieval times, it was the park where feudal leaders went to relax and enjoy themselves. Manting Park is also called 'Chunhuan Park' which means the place where people can have their soul relax and keep all the earthly cares out of minds. This name came from a legend: One day, the King of the Dai ethnic group came to visit this park with his princess. The princess then was so completely enthralled by the beauty of the sceneries in the park that she lost her soul and forgot anything else around her.

Following our time there, we’ll head to Wild Elephant Valley, which is actually is a nature reserve for tropical rainforest and wild lives. Here in the jungle live about 70 wild Asian elephants. Wild elephants usually come out at night, so people have built small hotels on tops of trees in the forest for those who want to observe wild elephants closely. A 2-kilometer long cable way in the park enables people to enjoy rainforest view from the air.

You will then be taken back to your hotel, where the rest of the evening can be spent at your own leisure.

Day 2 Xishuangbanna (B, L)

Following breakfast you’ll be taken to Menglun in order to visit the Tropical Botanical Garden. The Tropical Botanical Garden in Menglun is the biggest tropical botanical garden in China. It is a research base belonging to Chinese Academy of Science, about 80 kilometers far from Jinghong. The garden was built in 1959 under leadership of famous botanist Cai Xitao, specializing in cultivation and introduction of all kinds of tropical plants. The garden covers an area of around 900 hectares, more than 3000 kinds of plants growing here, formed a picturesque garden and has delighted countless visitors for over 50 years.

On the way back, we’ll pay a visit to Jinuo Village, where we will learn about the Jinuo ethnic minority group, which inhabits these parts. At the Jinuo village you can observe first-hand the unique lifestyle of this special minority group, and, with a bit of luck, one might observe a Jinuo religious ceremony where ritualistic music is played involving the use of very large - and sacred - sun-drums (the Jinuo are animists, i.e., they believe, as do many other ethnic groups around the world, including American Indians, that all things, inanimate as well as animate, possess a spirit, the sun being especially sacred to the Jinuo.

We will then return to Jinghong, and you can spend the evening at your own discretion.

Day 3 Xishuangbanna (B, L)

You will have the whole day to experience the sights, sounds, and pageantry of the Water Splashing Festival. The Water Splashing Festival (Water Spray Festival) is the grandest traditional festival of the Dai nationality.

It is the most important festival observed by the Dai ethnic people of Xishuangbanna Prefecture, and, similar to neighboring Thailand's Songkran Festival, it involves three days of celebrations that include sincere, yet light-hearted religious rituals that invariably end in merrymaking, where everyone ends up getting splashed, sprayed or doused with water..The activities are very rich and colorful during the three Water Splashing Festival (Water Spray Festival) days. In the first day, people hold dragon boats match near the Lancangjiang River. That day, there are many long dragon boats on the surface of the river, painted with colorful wood-carved head of the dragon and dragon tail, installed in front and back of the boat.

Travel tip:

People will bless each other by splashing water everywhere during the Water Spray Festival, please bring some spare clothes with you.

Day 4 Xishuangbanna-departure (B, L)

In the morning, we will explore the octagonal pavilions of Jung Zhen. As one of the important relics of Xishuangbanna, the Jung Zhen Octagonal Pavilion is named after the place where it is located. The octagonal pavilion, called "Wo Su" in the Dai language, is a place where the senior Buddhist monks giving sutra, repenting, holding meetings and memorizing Buddha. With the history of almost 300 years, the pavilion acted as the hall of precept when it was built in 1704AD, while now being a national relic protection unit. With the smart and magnificent shape, the octagonal pavilion is considered as the marvelous word in the Hinayana Buddhism and it is also a mark of the Dai minority architecture in ancient Xishuangbanna.

Before your flight, we’ll have a little time to do some last minute bargain hunting at the town’s open bazaar, where locals come to hawk and trade their wares. It is always teeming and buzzing with activity, and it represents a great slice of life in this region. After the bazaar, you will be taken to the airport, where you will fly on to your next destination.


        Darcy Tucker, Edmonton, CAN:

I went with your company to Xishuangbanna for the Water Splashing Festival and it was indeed very funny as well as interesting. My guesstimate is that there were 15-20.000 people dancing and throwing water around. It was great fun although we all quickly ran low on accessible water. The fire dancing in the evening was also a barrel of fun, especially for the locals since I apparently was the only “laowai” there who attempted to move around in something that was meant to be dance. A great trip overall, and a wonderful way to experience some of the lesser-known cultural traditions of China.