Quintessential Old Tea Horse Trail

This journey starts in the south of Yunnan Province following the path of the ancient "Old Tea Horse Trail" north as we uncover the path of ancient traders, customs and heritage of the ethnic tribes. A sojourn of stunning serendipity. 

HIGHLIGHTS

Witness changing landscapes from tea plantations to medieval towns

Stay in boutique and local lodges

Experience intimate encounters with the Dai, Naxi, Tibetan & Bai people

Savour immaculate cuisine in the different regions

ITINERARY

DAY 1: ARRIVE  JINGMAI MOUNTAINS

Meet and greet at Xishuangbanna Gasa Airport and transfer 2.5hrs to the Bolian Resort & Spa, Jingmai, located in a stunning environment with over 10000 acres of ancient Pu'er tea fields which occupies two villages, Wenji Village owned by the Blang people and Nuogan Village owned by the Dai people. On arrival, enjoy an introduction to the tea fields, tea-picking and workshop and sample the goodness of probably the finest tea in the world. This evening, enjoy a Gourmet Welcome Dinner set to tantalize your tastebuds. 

Overnight: Bolian Resort & Spa, Jingmai Mountains

Meals: Dinner

DAY 2: JINGMAI MOUNTAINS

Awake to a refreshing day as we begin a hike to the villages to gain insights into the art of Pu'er tea cultivation and exploring the beautiful customs of minority folk culture. 

Overnight: Bolian Resort & Spa, Jingmai Mountains

Meals: Breakfast & Lunch

DAY 3: JINGMAI MOUNTAINS / XISHUANGBANNA

We leave Jingmai Mountains today to Xishuangbanna, center of the Dai people and the "Mini Thailand" of China. Arriving into Jinghong, capital of Xishuangbanna, make stops at a few ethnic villages dotting the area where you may have the opportunity to visit and see the tea-producing process. Thereafter, drive to Menglun where en route, we visit a Dai village and their traditional wooden houses built on stilts. Finally, arrive at the wonderful environments of Anantara Xishuangbanna nestled along the banks of the Luosuo River. 

 

Overnight: Anantara Xishuangbanna

Meals: Breakfast & Lunch

DAY 4: XISHUANGBANNA

We awake this morning to visit the local market at Menglun where you will see the Dai and Jinuo ethnic people come from their villages to shop for fresh vegetables and meat. Thereafter, we drive to the historical town of Yiwu, a small but crucial starting point of the ancient Tea-Horse route. Visit the Tea Museum and learn about the humble beginnings of the tea horse route and Yiwu's importance as the link between China and Southeast Asia. Stroll around the old streets and discover the time-honoured trademarks of tea businesses such as Cheshun, Qianlizhen, Anle and Tongxing. 

Overnight: Anantara Xishuangbanna

Meals: Breakfast & Lunch

DAY 5: XISHUANGBANNA / PU'ER

We set off today north towards Simao, home of the famous Pu'er tea. Visit a small town, one of the last remaining Tea-Horse caravan oases in Yunnan. The caravan inns, the wind-rain corridor bridges and courtyards are still used by caravans who transported brick tea to Tibet. Also visit a grand Pu'er tea garden as you walk through the fragrance of tea hills and admire the scenic panorama of lush green plantations spread over 10000 square metres. 

Overnight: New Century Spa & Resort, Pu'er

Meals: Breakfast & Lunch

 

DAY 6: PU'ER / LIUYI VILLAGE / KUNMING

Our journey continues north as we drive towards Kunming. Our first stop will be to visit the village of Liuyi - home to the last remaining bound-feet women in China. Footbinding in Chinese culture dates back to the Southern Tang and Song dynasties over a thousand years ago where feet binding is symbolized as an elite practise of the richer families and increases the attractiveness of women in the days gone by. We take the opportunity to visit the last of the bound-feet women - many of them now over the age of 70 to gain; to gain insights into this abolished culture. Thereafter, continue on the road as we drive past the beautiful Dianchi Lake before arriving into the beautiful environments of Bolian Resort & Spa, Kunming. This evening, enjoy a Gourmet Dinner to celebrate the halfway point of your journey. 

Overnight: Bolian Resort & Spa, Kunming

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

 

DAY 7: KUNMING / DALI

We travel to Dali today and on arrival, visit the iconic Three Pagodas of Chongshen Monastery against the backdrop of Cangshan Mountain facing the beautiful Erhai Lake. Thereafter, continue by private small boat to the islet of Jinsuo - home to over 200 Bai ethnic families. Finally, we head to Xizhou town to appreciate Bai-style traditional courtyards, taste their signature 'Three Course Tea' and explore their culture and customs. Enjoy some time to stroll through the ancient city with its stone-paved streets, traditional-styled houses and shops selling tea and Bai snacks. 

Overnight: The One Resort, Dali

Meals: Breakfast & Lunch

 

DAY 8: DALI / SHAXI / LIJIANG

Depart Dali today as we continue on the Old Tea Horse trail to Shaxi where traditions from a forgotten era are well-preserved. Shaxi is an ancient town integrating business and Buddhist culture where the old ancient stage, ancient temples, shops, alleyways, houses remain intact. Spend time visiting the bazaar at Square Street, visit the Ancient Stage - the heart and soul of Shaxi, built during the Qing Dynasty. Cross the Yujin Bridge, first built during the reigns of Emperor Kangxi in the Qing Dynasty and is the only way the Bai people can go to tend the crop fields and do business. Finally, continue to Lijiang where we check in to the charming and intimate adventure lodge, The Bivou

Overnight: The Bivou, Lijiang

Meals: Breakfast & Lunch

 

DAY 9: LIJIANG

Begin the day with the "Impression of Lijiang" Show choreographed by famous Chinese director, Zhang Yimou and involves more than 500 ethnic dancers of various ethnic minority group in their best costumes performing against the stunning backdrop of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. Thereafter, drive through the lovely countryside and visit the home of explorer Joseph Rock, the village of Baisha before spending some time in Lijiang Ancient Town. Consider a walk up to Lion Hill for a panoramic view. 

Overnight: The Bivou, Lijiang

Meals: Breakfast & Lunch

 

DAY 10: DEPART LIJIANG

Today, transfer to Lijiang Sanyi Airport for your onward journey. 

Meals: Breakfast

 

HOTELS

Bolian Resort & Spa Jingmai is located in the stunning Lancang River area, the worldwide origin of the tea tree. 10000 acres of Pu'er tea garden with thousands of years of history are located in the Jingmai mountains, which are inhabited by the descendents of tea plantation minority groups. 

Bolian Resort & Spa, Jingmai Mountains

Tucked away in the primeval forests of Yunnan Province, Anantara Xishuangbanna sits at the threshold of a region rich in cultural experiences and astonishing natural beauty. This elegant hotel blends contemporary style with awe-inspiring scenery in an evocative locale and nestled along the banks of a sweeping curve of the Luosuo River. 

Anantara Xishuangbanna

New Century Spa & Resort Pu'er is located 5mins drive from Meizihu Park and Zoo. The luxurious 5 star resort boasts an outdoor pool, a well-appointed gym, hot spring bath and 10 dining options. Tastefully-decorated, the elegant guestrooms feature red wooden floors and large windows that overlook the beautiful city. 

New Century Spa & Resort, Pu'er

The Bolian Resort & Spa, Kunming is located by scenic Yangzonghai Lake and faces the Chuncheng course across the lake. Villas of the hotel come with independent swimming pools, hot spring pools, gardens. 

Bolian Resort & Spa, Kunming

Located in Dali Ancient Town, The One Resort offers a peaceful retreat in luxurious accommodation with classic Chinese-style decor. Featuring a spa centre and a restaurant, The One Resort is a 10min drive from Cangshan Mountain. 

The One Resort, Dali

The Bivou Lijiang, located in the UNESCO World Heritage site of Lijiang, is a designer guesthouse for the modern adventurer. Housed within two historic farmyards built by the area's Naxi minority tribe, all 16 rooms look out over private gardens landscaped to reflect the full colour and fragrances of the changing seasons. Bivou Lijiang is the proud Winner of Tripadvisor 2014 Traveler's Choice Award for Top 10 Small Hotels in China. 

The Bivou, Lijiang

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