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I've been to Heijing a few times and it really is a pleasant place. Very authentic and "lived-in" but with pretty, traditional buildings dotted around narrow cobbled streets wherever you look. well worth a visit. Not mentioned above is that visitors to the town should buy a ticket (40RMB?), and the Salt Museum was surprisingly expensive (about 100RMB?) and really not worth it, IMO.

Yeah, well, they can just go look. Or they can leave local farm kids & farm animals to find them by tripping over them.

Because they have no idea where they put them. That's the deal with mines, military don't seem to keep track of where exactly every mine is positioned, especially as some of them are moved around by landslides or other factors.

Wasn't the local people who put these mines there, those who did put them there are responsible for getting rid of them. Why don't they?

Kunming south bus station, at the Luosiwan trade center, accessible by metro. Get a ticket to Chengjiang (about 16 per person), 1.5hrs due to road improvements (due to complete ~2015/2016). By 2017 or so the metro will come all the way to Chengjiang.

From Chengjiang, you can get a public bus halfway down the western side of the lake to Luchong very cheaply. From there hail a bus further on to Jiangcheng, then get out to the port.

Alternatively, you can get a bus straight to Jiangcheng from Chengjiang.

You can also probably book a private taxi direct to the Jiangcheng port for the island for around 150 from Chengjiang, a bit more if you want them to wait for you to check it out and go back same day.

@nnoble The government has actually seemed to work pretty hard to protect elephants and other endangered species in Xishuangbanna. I'm not sure there are many places where poachers face the death penalty if caught, but China is one of them.

Anymore, the bigger problem I've read about is the encroachment of rubber and other cash crops on their habitats. I visited this area earlier this summer and talked to some farmers living in between two large nature reserves about the elephants. Apparently the elephants will regularly stroll into the villages, wreck houses, eat crops, and occasionally kill people. But in an effort to keep the farmers from killing the elephants, the government has set up an arrangement with a private insurance to compensate farmers for material losses.

China has a long way to go to dissuade people from purchasing ivory and other endangered animal products obtained elsewhere, and to prevent the trafficking of these goods into the country. But it seems that the policies in place to protect the 200-250 elephants living here are actually quite robust.