I like to travel but unfortunately I only have 2 wks to work with a year. It's not much time so I want to decide between yunnan province and Laos. I have LP SE Asia on a Shoestring, but I'm looking for reading material that is informative about Yunnan province (especially Xishuangbanna). If anyone know of any books or websites please let me know.
Is it possible to do three villages in Xishuangbanna (including mengla), and cross over to Laos visiting two places (Mengsing and Luang Prabang...I'm only interested in see temples in Luang Prabang)?
Try the Lonely Planet guide books for Laos & China. I live in Kunming, and went to Xishuangbanna in December 2004. You can arrange a boat down the Mekong into Laos. Two weeks is really cut it fine for both places but not impossible. Laos visa's can be arranged in Kunming, but it may save time to arrange it before you leave home
Hey Thanks, I'll browse through them at a local bookstore. How is the weather in December? I have family in a few of the villages (Xishuangbanna) and I wanted to be sure I stopped by to say hello. I also have an uncle in mengsing (Laos). I really wish I could go on a longer trip...
The weather was pleasant in Xishuangbanna at Xmas time. 15 - 20 celsius during the day time.
Lonely Planet has a guide on "Southwest China". I took it with me when I crossed from N. veitnam into SW China (spent couple weeks in and around Yunnan). If you like "hilltribes, etc." check out the area around Guiyang also. North Vietnam is also very cool.
Anyway, check out the latest edition of LP's SW China for an idea of what's there.
By the way, I stayed in Jingjong and took excursions from there. You can visit a village a day down in Xishuangbanna (at last that's what I did). It helps if you speak some Chinese (I don't but I did notice less people speaking ANY English down there than elsewhere in China).
Also the Temples in Luang Prabang are great. That would be a nice combo (the Temples in Loas, the Villages in Xishuangbanna and some time around the mekong).
Do you speak Chinese?
Hey thanks for the advice! I'll be sure to checkout LP SW China.
I don't speak Mandarin, but I do speak Lue which is a dialect spoken by one of the Dai hilltribes in Xishuangbanna. I don't think I'll spend too much time in Jinghong. I have a few relatives that lives in the villages, so I can probably stay with them.
I'm still not sure if I want to devote my entire time visiting relatives I've never met before, or stopping by to say "hi" and continue my exploration of the region. I really want to see as many Temples as I can, but at the sametime I don't want to seem disrespectful to my relatives by staying for only a short time.
Luang Prabang is high on my list it's just getting htere and having enough time to see everything. (2wks total)
Hope you got a chance to check out the LP "SW China" guide. You probably already know they have a seperate "Loas" guide as well.
"Odyssey Passport" has a guidebook on Yunnan. I have it and am looking at it now. It doesn't suggest hotels, etc.., but goes over the sights in detail and has a lot of very good pictures to help you decide where to go. There's probably a newer edition available, the one I have is from 1997. The Author is: Patrick R. Booz. If you go to a good book store you can probably find a copy.
By the way, its good you speak Dai (the Dai woman are very beautiful).