Jinghong in general can be summarised as a giant tourist rip off. Almost all of the 'attractions' have absurdly high entrance fees of RMB100-200, often for very little to see. The Dai Ethnic Park and Jinuo Ethnic Village are the worst two examples. These places are very much geared to Chinese tour groups, with little other than cynical shows or sad looking mistreated animals tied up for the sole benefit of convenient photo opportunities. Likewise the culture of ethnic minorities is reduced to tacky side shows. Independant western travellers beware!
Unique Suggestions: Avoid the published tourist 'attractions' by hiring a mountain bike and heading out into the countryside on your own. You can find genuine ethnic minority villages and see how real people live, and see some impressive countryside.
Fun Alternatives: As per above
- Arts and Culture
- Theme Park Trips
- National/State Park
The disgraceful Ethnic Minorities Park
We had wanted to see some of the houses, clothes and handicrafts of some of the minorities whose villages we had not managed to visit, but this park is a complete waste of money.
The reconstructed houses are inaccurate and poor quality, and staffed by ignorant attendants (since when did the Bulang wear mini-skirts and high heels?). The place is filled with souvenir stalls which do not sell minority handicrafts, preferring to sell "Amazing Thailand" elephant T-shirts, and mass-produced, cheap clothing and plastic crap.
The educational value is close to zero. The interest value is closeto zero. The anthropological interest is zero. The place is falling apart. The zoo is an utter disgrace, and should be avoided altogether.
It is a genuine pity that this park is so abysmal as the Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Gardens is superb, and a shining example of just how good the authorities can do.
Don't waste your money here.
Unique Suggestions: Leave quickly
Fun Alternatives: Visit the Dai, Jinuo, Aini and other villages within 20km of Jinghong.
Check the handicrafts at several shops in Jinghong or buy them at the villages themselves.
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