Ancient Tea Route in Yunnan


There is a mysterious road in the history of China. With the starting station in Simao, it extended to Southeast Asia and South Asia. It connects Kunming on the north and Qinghai-Tibet Plateau on the west. It has a history of 1,800 years, witnessing the blooming business of Pu'er Tea. It is the well-known Ancient Tea Route.

Simao and Ning'er, starting stations of the route, are the settlements of some ethnic minorities in southwest of China and have been a center of the counties of origin and trading of Pu'er Tea. The route has linked Simao, Jingdong, Dali, Lijiang, Zhongdian and Tibet, with elevations of the route ascending from one thousand meters to over four thousand meters.

About 1.030-km-site route in Malipo, Nakeli and Chaantang has been well-preserved in Simao and Ning'er. Mosses and weeds can be see on the stones and slabstones which have been paved on the road and branded with several centimeters of marks of horseshoes.

The route had been working as a passage for two-way trades of goods. The horse caravans carried out the Pu'er Tea and transported some manufactured goods or special products to Pu'er.

Usually, a horse caravan on the route was made up of less than 50 people, more than 20. They had to take knives and guns with them. Some of them must be able to speak languages of some ethnic groups on the way, know about the customs, geographic location, climate, and find place for accommodating. A horse caravan could be as long as five kilometers.

There are three transnational routes:




(Editors:Lynn, Minnie Mao)

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