Dai Minority Park at Ganlanba (Olives Dam), Xishuangbanna

Dai Minority Park at Ganlanba (Olives Dam), Xishuangbanna

By Sunny XieUpdated Oct. 1, 2021

Dai Minority Park or Dai Ethnic Garden is a popular theme park or open-air museum for visitors to experience the exotic customs and traditional culture of the Dai ethnic group. Dai cultural shows are performed inside the park daily and the exciting water splashing activity is held twice a day there.

Scroll down for interesting facts about Dai Minority Park and travel tips.

Dai VillagesDai Villages

Basic Facts about Dai Minority Park

  • Chinese: 傣族园 Dǎizú Yuán /deye-dzoo ywen/ ‘Dai Minority Park’
  • Location: 30 km (20 miles) southeast of Jinghong City in Xishuangbanna
  • Recommended visit duration: over 3 hours
  • Open: 8:00am to 6:00pm
  • Suited to: anyone who loves Buddhist culture, photography, or ethnic culture

The Dai Minority Park Ethnic Area

Dai Minority Park is the town area of Ganlanba or ‘Olives Dam’, a small cultivated basin with a reservoir that has an area of about 40 or 50 square kilometers (15–20 square miles) and the Lancang River (Mekong) flowing through it.

Ganlanba has an average elevation of only 530 meters: the lowest area in Xishuangbanna and hence the hottest place. Hundreds of Dai families have lived there for generations, providing a strong tropical ethnic flavor.

Tropical Ethnic Flavor at GanlanbaTropical Ethnic Flavor at Ganlanba

The Dai Ethnic Villages around Dai Minority Park

Ganlanba’s Dai name means “Imperial Garden Village” and it has five well-preserved Dai villages: Manchunman (曼春满 /man-chwn-man/), Manting (曼听 /man-ting/), Manjiang (曼将 /man-jyang/), Manzha (曼乍 /man-jar/), and Manga (曼嘎 /man-gaa/).

Among the five villages, Manchunman — “the garden village” and Manting — “the flower and fruit village” are most outstanding. No matter which village you visit, you will see the typical local Buddhist pagodas, the traditional stilted bamboo houses of the Dai, and tropical plants: coconut trees, queen palms, mango trees, jackfruit trees, etc.

Cannot wait to taste the authentic Dai life? Take a look at our sample 6-Day Xishuangbanna and Pu'er Tour, which can be customized to include a trip out to Ganlanba.

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Best Times to Visit Dai Minority Park

The best time to visit Dai Minority Park is during dry season: from October to April.

Though water splashing activities are held at the park daily, if you wish to join in the most authentic and grand celebrations, come during the Water Splashing Festival from April 13 to 15.

Contact our Xishuangbanna expert for tour recommendations so that you do not miss this big event.

Water Splashing FestivalWater Splashing Festival

5 Things to Do at Dai Minority Park

1. Visit Historical Manchunman Buddhist Temple

Dai people believe in Theravada Buddhism and you will find Buddhist temples in every village of Xishuangbanna. Among them all, Manchunman Buddhist Temple in Manchunman village is one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Xishuangbanna, with a history of more than 1,400 years.

The temple is mainly composed of pavilions, the Buddha Hall, the golden pagoda, monks’ quarters, and the Drum Tower, etc. The golden pagoda inside the temple is the most charming. You can usually hear monks chanting in the temple.

Manchunman Buddhist TempleManchunman Buddhist Temple

2. Join in a Water Splashing Activity

The water splashing fun (a traditional Dai blessing) is held at Water Splashing Square twice a day, at 1:30pm and 3:30 pm, and lasts for 30 minutes. You can rent and change into beautiful Dai ethnic costumes to partake in the exciting moments.

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3. See Dai Folk Performances

Dai folk songs and dances are performed at 2:30pm in the Mengbalanaxi Song and Dance Theater. Dance styles mainly imitate animals or daily-life utensils, including the peacock, elephant, fish, hat, umbrella, and tank dances. Among them, the peacock dance and utensil dances are the most representative.

4. Wander in a Quiet Dai Village and See Ethnic Crafts

Strolling in the village area is the best way to experience the atmosphere of peaceful rural life. You may find local people making wickerwork from bamboo strips and Dai woman spinning or weaving in their courtyards.

5. Taste Local Tropical Fruit

Do not miss the chance to taste various fresh or preserved tropical fruits. Thanks to the hot climate, a wide variety of tropical fruits are produced there, such as coconuts, pineapples, betel nuts, bananas, mangoes, lychees, starfruits, jackfruits, and passion fruits.

Taste PineapplesTaste Pineapples

Touring Xishuangbanna with China Highlights

To best use your time at Dai Minority Park and to visit a suitable Dai village for an authentic experience, it would be easier to tour with a professional guide. We can help you customize a worry-free tour to visit Dai Minority Park at Ganlanba and other highlights of Banna.

Here is a fully-customizable sample tour plan, which you could start from:

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