Existing Member?

nomadnorrie From Sydney to the formula 1 grand prix in Shanghai, Beijing, South Korea, Mongolia, Russia, Ukraine and Europe. Final destination by train is London. Hopping on a flight to Finland, then on to Japan and finally back to Sydney.

Tropical China, wild elephants and an afternoon snooze

CHINA | Tuesday, 19 February 2008 | Views [3816]

Wild elephant valley-  - the main viewing platform

Wild elephant valley- - the main viewing platform


Xishuangbanna, it’s a tropical place where the soil is an appealing reddish brown colour, you can buy sweet corn flavoured ice lollies, elephants are on almost every corner (statues at least) and the afternoon snooze is high on the daily agenda.


The afternoon shift

The backpackers

This sleeper bus from Dali takes 17 hours to get to Jinghong. Chinese people smoke even though they know they are not allowed to and the bus conductor brushes off complaints with "people don't listen to me". The bus ride is not exactly a laugh.

The Jinghong tropical flower garden.

Local Dai minority style houses.

Raging wild elephants

I suffered from digestive problems in Jinghong and so cancelled any plans to to travel more than an hour away (in fear of any accidents). I did manage to get to an enormous local botanical garden and the area's wild elephant valley. In the valley I decided to stay the night in the hope of seeing some wild elephants. I had to put some effort in to haggling the price down to 100 Yuan from 480 Yuan, but it was worthwhile. That night a single bull elephant with enormous tusks came to the stream and splashed about a bit. He wasn't exactly raging, in fact he was scared of the corn cobs that I was throwing him, but then it was dark. In fact it was so dark that the ranger had to show me the elephant with his torch at first. Although I could see the elephant after that, my camera was not up to the job. I really did see an elephant, I really did.

Sadly there are a couple of dissapointing things about wild elephant valley:

1, The valley has a paved walkway along it and during the day there are dozens of tourist groups led by megaphone wielding guides. The tourist groups are literally one after the other, it is near impossible to get away from the groups - unless you stay overnight. Even then are only one or two hours of daylight when it is relatively peaceful. Shortly after the tourists leave though the staff at the shop next to the main elephant viewing platform take over. They sit around a table, talk way too loud and make tarzan like noises (no joke) every so often.

Signs along the path to the main viewing platform area
Wild elephant nature reserve or Chinese theme park?

2, There is a little too much rubbish discarded by tourists and it is not cleaned up. At the main viewing platform the stream running through the valley carries away plastic bags, bottles, take away food packaging and pot noodle tubs. Along the way there are signs every 50 metres alternately telling tourists not to discard rubbish and to be quiet. Even so, the tourists sadly treat the nature reserve as they do everywhere else - the floor is the dustbin. Amazingly, staff get up early to sweep the paved walkway clean of leaves and twigs, however nobody picks up the rubbish in and around the stream. It's a good thing those disgusting, dirty, ubiquitous twigs and leaves in the nature reserve get swept up.

Tags: Sightseeing



Travel Answers about China

Do you have a travel question? Ask other World Nomads.