Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture (Banna for short) is located in central south Yunnan Province, with Jinghong as its major city. Being next to Myanmar and Laos, Xishuangbanna is known for its magical animals and plants, tropical rain forest scenery, and ethnic minority charms.
Scroll down for information about transportation to and in Xishuangbanna or contact a Xishuangbanna expert for more personalized travel information.
Xishuangbanna Gasa Airport, also known as Jinghong Airport, is the second largest airport in Yunnan Province. It serves domestic airlines to about 46 cities and international airlines to 3 Southeast Asian countries: Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia (when COVID restrictions are lifted).
Below is a list of the cities with Banna flights:
- Yunnan Province: Kunming, Dali, Lijiang, Baoshan, Tengchong, Mangshi, Lancang, Lincang, Ninglang, and Zhaotong
- First-tier cities: Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Xi’an, Chengdu, Hangzhou, Tianjin, Nanjing, Chongqing, Changsha, Shenyang, Wuhan, and Zhengzhou
- Other cities: Guilin, Shenzhen, Zhanjiang, Lanzhou, Taiyuan, Qingdao, Nanchang, Zunyi, Luzhou, Guiyang, Yangzhou, Harbin, Jinan, Mianyang, Yibin, Bijie, Nanning, Xuzhou, Panzhihua, Xingyi, Xichang, Wenzhou, and Wuxi
- Southeast Asian cities: Luang Prabang in Laos, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai in Thailand, and Siem Reap and Sihanoukville in Cambodia
How to Get to Xishuangbanna Gasa Airport
Xishuangbanna Gasa Airport is only 5 kilometers (3 miles) southwest from urban Jinghong and can be easily reached by public bus or taxi. For a hassle-free experience, we are happy to arrange a private transfer with an English-speaking guide. Your guide will arrange a suitable pickup time, check your flight status in advance and assist you with check-in, your luggage, etc. as needed. Feel free to contact us for a high-quality transfer service.
Thanks to the construction of the Boten–Vientiane railway, the first train station in Jinghong city, Xishuangbanna Railway Station, will be opened to visitors by the end of 2021. Passengers can then take a bullet train from Kunming to Xishuangbanna, which will take only 3 hours.
The road network in Xishuangbanna is excellent (considering it’s a remote rainforested area), with national highways 213 and 214 converging in Jinghong City. The well-surfaced road system covers the towns and most villages, and there are international highways connecting Xishuangbanna with Laos and Myanmar.
There are 3 long-distance bus stations in Jinghong City:
- Jinghong (North) Bus Station: The largest bus station in Jinghong operates international, inter-provincial, and intra-provincial lines, with over 200 daily services. Most cities in Yunnan Province are covered. Routes outside the province go to cities such as Hengyang in Hunan, Nanning in Guangxi, and Chengdu in Sichuan. International routes include Laos Nanta and Myanmar Nanban.
- Banna Bus Station: Its buses mainly run to the major attractions of Xishuangbanna and to Kunming.
- Jinghong South Terminal Bus Station: It mainly operates buses to Kunming.
Jinghong is situated on the banks of the Lancang River (known as the Mekong River outside of China), near the borders of Myanmar and Laos. This makes Xishuangbanna an important trading port to the other Southeast Asian countries on the Mekong: Laos, Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam.
To enter Xishuangbanna, passengers can take a cruise from either Luang Prabang in Laos or Chiang Saen in Thailand and disembark at Guanlei Pier of Jinghong Port (when COVID rules permit).
The cruise can either be a short journey (2 days and 1 night) or a 2-week leisurely cruise to enjoy the rainforest of the mysterious Golden Triangle (the borders of Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar). Contact us for a rainforest cruise if you are interested.
Transport between Kunming and Xishuangbanna
Xishuangbana is about 525 kilometers (326 miles) southwest from Kunming, the capital city of Yunnan Province. The most convenient way to cover the distance would be taking a flight. The flight takes only an hour, with over 25 planes operating every day.
If you choose to take the bus, it takes over 9 hours since the road has many turns through the mountains. Many long-distance coaches running from Kunming to Xishuangbanna have sleeping berths. The fare is around CN¥200.
By the end of 2021, bullet trains should be available which take only 3 hours. More on China trains>>>
Getting Around Xishuangbanna
The taxi flag drop rate in Jinghong City is 8 yuan, covering the first 2 kilometers (about 1 mile). Another 2 yuan is charged for each additional kilometer.
There are nine bus routes in Jinghong City, and most scenic spots in the city are reachable by bus. The ticket fee is normally 2 yuan per trip, but for buses returning from scenic spots or villages to Jinghong, the fare increases by 1–3 yuan.
Jinghong’s downtown area is not big and it is convenient to ride a bicycle around. Shared bicycles are available on the main streets and you can also rent one from the local bars or hostels at around 10–30 yuan per day.
Private Transfer Services and Tours
Tourist attractions outside Jinghong are well spread out. Though there are buses departing Jinghong to every county town and most tourist spots in Xishuangbanna, in such a small city where English is not commonly used, you would need to read the signs on the bus and the bus route carefully, in case of taking a wrong bus or getting off at a wrong bus stop.
To avoid any communication barriers and to better use your limit time in Xishuangbanna, taking a private transfer with an English-speaking guide service is highly recommended.
Touring Banna with China Highlights
China Highlights have professional travel consultants, experienced English-speaking guides, and drivers to assist you and make your Xishuangbanna trip smooth, fulfilling, and enjoyable. Here’s a sample tour for inspiration:
Our standard tour can be customized to meet your interests and requirements. Contact us to inquire about touring Xishuangbanna your way.