Jinghong (景洪; Jǐnghóng) is the capital of Xishuangbanna in southern Yunnan. It is a hub for Chinese package tourists as well as for travellers passing between China and Laos. A prime area for backpackers, it is an interesting alternative to Laos or northern Thailand. It is an easy overland trip from Laos and it is also possible to get there by boat from Thailand without obtaining a Lao visa.

Main Gate of Da Fo (Big Buddha) Temple

Get in

By plane

Jinghong's tiny airport (IATA: JHG) fields daily flights from Kunming and a few other cities in China. Currently China Eastern flies twice weekly between Bangkok (IATA: BKK) and Jinghong. Note that when booking a plane ticket to Jinghong, if it is not listed as "Jinghong" it may be listed as "Xishuangbanna".

By bus

There are over a dozen sleeper buses from Kunming daily, from around 9am to 10pm. They cost ¥150-260, depending on the coach quality. The bus takes around 8 hours, and will travel over some bumpy dirt roads. Note that it may be a "sleeper bus" (lying down) even during the day.

From Yuanyang coming down to Jinghong is a bit more tricky. First option is from Xinjie or Nansha you backtrack to Jianshui (3-4 hours) and take a sleeper bus to Jinghong from there (¥177, 12 hours, at 1330 and 1630). Second option, again from Xinjie city you can take a bus to Luchun (¥38, 5 hours), spent the night there and catch the one and only Luchun to Jinghong bus at 8.00am the next morning (¥120, 12 hours). Be aware that the second option will take you through very bumpy, rough and many times unpaved roads crossing endless mountains, rice terraces, banana plantations and little villages so its not for the fainthearted but the scenery is stunning. Landslides are often and many times small streams go through the unpaved road so its not recommended during the rainy reason, you might get stuck in the middle of nowhere due to a blocked road. Furthermore there will be a few police checkpoints where your passport will be checked but its very fast and hassle free.

This is the first big city for travelers coming from Laos, but most travelers will have to change buses in Mengla to get here. A direct bus from the border town of Mohan takes 3 hours.

Get around

The few limited interesting parts of town are definitely walkable.

Jinghong has plenty of tuk-tuks or auto-ricksaws about. Hire these as a slightly cheaper way to get between places, but more than a kilometer or two and your butt might be sore all day.

Taxis run about ¥5-15 to places in town.

Down by the Nancang it may be possible to hire a boat for a bit of river cruising.


Wat Chienglarn


Songkran celebration in Jinghong


Bank of China with 24 hours ATM is available a few minutes walk from the bus terminal. Cross the road and turn right as you leave the terminal. There are other banks in the area as well.

The usual Chinese tourist gimmicks, somehow more here than anywhere else in China. Local Dai produced items also available.



View of the New Bridge and the Mekong (Lancang)

There are many nice bars by the Mekong river on the left side of the New Bridge, a bit expensive but beautiful at night, they are worth a stroll even if you don't go inside for a drink.


There are a number of O.K. options near the bus station, with the cheapest starting at ¥15 a night. For other, more expensive options, try the reservation booth at the bus station. They'll steer you to the city's four and five star options at a discount.

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