Sanchahe Park, Xishuangbanna
About 30km outside Jinghong is a natural park called Sanchahe, which runs along a river called the Sancha River. As this shot shows, it’s a dense
jungle park, and is best known as the home of a band of about 40 wild elephants. (If you’re curious about the blue thing in the shot, it’s a cable car that connects the two entrances to the park: Chinese tourist sites seem to feel cable cars are de rigueur.) We spent parts of two days there, overnighting in houses built up on stakes so they’re among the trees. They’re built at a bend in the river where, one hears, some of the elephants occasionally come to drink and wash themselves in the morning.
I had high hopes of seeing live wild elephants, but all we saw were elephant
footprints in the mud — still a rather cool experience, but not quite the same as seeing them splash in the river. The park’s lovely, though there aren’t any good hikes to be done there as I’d hoped: it’s rather commercialized to be honest. Nonetheless, the night is very dark and full of the sounds of thousands of frogs all singing their little lungs (?) out. We did a bit of walking on the elevated walkways at night, hence the nighttime shot of Howard.