Indulge in luxury at Yourantai Ecolodge, which combines traditional Dai architecture with Chinese antiques in a recreated rainforest and offers organic food grown in the onsite vegetable garden. Managed by a Swiss couple, Yourantai offers a serene atmosphere that keeps the heart of all who visit here.
What to experience ?
Recreating the local rainforest on a patch of rubber plantation, the Yourantai Lodge presents travellers with a luxurious accommodation built in harmony with the tropical environment. Overlooking the Mekong River, the domain occupies about 17,000 m² meters of hilly land in Jinghong, Xishuangbanna, and the tropical corner of Yunnan. The design and construction of Yourantai was done in close cooperation with local Dai master builders.
The guest rooms at Yourantai are made up of four separate cottages, each built and decorated with a unique style that reflects the local Dai and traditional Chinese architecture. These cottages possess private balconies with splendid views over the forest and river, modern bathrooms with 24 hour hot water, wireless internet connection and comfortable beds, complemented by public areas that include a library and an outdoor tea pavilion.
Their cook is certainly the only Bulang minority girl in Yunnan who can bake sourdough bread and cook memorable French classic dishes as well as local specialties. They also link interested guests with local minority guides who will take them to adventure treks with overnight in mountain villages.
You’ll be advised where to find local handicrafts and top quality teas, how to avoid fake attractions and tourist traps. The manager is an environmental scientist and provides explanations on the benefits of biodiversity and destructive effects of intensive rubber plantations.
How does it help?
By recreating a local rainforest on a patch of old rubber tree plantation, Yourantai offers an alternative model of environment-friendly and sustainable business. The tree diversity (already more than 250 species!) in turn attracted innumerable birds, bats, butterflies, frogs, wild beehives, etc which have turned Yourantai into a biodiversity hotspot in the sea of monoculture rubber plantations surrounding Jinghong. The creation of a new forest also entails significant carbon absorption, which counterbalances our carbon-intensive activities (car, travels). Through both their website and recommendations to their guests, they strongly encourage a tourism which is respectful of the environment and of local ethnic minorities.
Most of Yourantai was built with recycled wood from demolished village houses, avoiding new hard wood of dubious source. All wastewater is treated naturally on the premises and then absorbed by either bananas plants or the surrounding incipient forest. Not one drop goes to the Mekong River below. Solid waste is sorted and organic waste is composted and used in the forest or in the on-site organic vegetable garden.
Energy efficiency is optimised and some of the heating comes from solar energy.
A high proportion of staff is composed of young people from mountain minority villages. Training is emphasized.
- 2009 Best of China label by Wild China