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The Ancient Tea Horse Road (Yunnan-Tibet Route)

 Xishuangbanna Attractions

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Introduction to The Tea Horse Road (茶马古道)

Like the Silk Road, the ancient Tea Horse Road, or chamagudao, is not an indivisual road. It was, instead, a network of winding paths across Sichuan, Yunnan and Guizhou in southwest China on which caravans shuttled for tea-horse exchange. It is also referred as the Southern Silk Road. This route, with a trackable origin from around a thousand years ago, linked Yunnan, one of the first tea-producing region, to Bengal, Tibet, and central China. This route is believed to enable the spreading of tea across ancient China and Asian countries from Pu'er county in Yunnan.

There are three major routes in the Tea Horse Road in ancient time, namely Qinghai-Tibet Route, Yunnan-Tibet Route, and Sichuan-Tibet Route. With masses of branch routes, the Road stretched a radiating reach to neighboring Asian coutries and even far to Europe. The Yunnan-Tibet Route covered important stages en route lining as, Xishuangbana, Pu'er, Dali, Shangri-la, Thakin, Zay, Bomda, Nyingchi, and Lhasa.

The route gained its name as Tea Horse Road for the complementary trade of Tibetan horse in exchange of tea. As the trade developed, new categories of commodities were added to the exchange. For example, salt, cloth into the tea-end while fur products and medicine into the horse-end.

Today this network of land trading routes is a hot attraction for tourists with its historic-cultural heritage and the diverse minority groups residing there. En route tourists will appreciate imposing mountains and valleys, lush grassland and flower fields, snow-capped hills and glaciers, as well as tranquil lakes, all making for an ideal tourist route for both shutterbugs and adventure-seekers.

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Yunnan Province and Tibet Autonomous Region

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Main Sights

Xishuangbanna Dai Minority Park (Ganlanba), Shangri-la, Potala Palace, Jokhang Monastery, Dali, Pu'er, Zay, Bomda, Nyingchi

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To Xishuangbanna: Xishuangbanna Jinghong International Airport, the 2nd largest airport in Yunnan Province, is about 5km away from Jinghong city center. It serves seven domestic cities including Kunming, Shanghai, Tianjin, Chengdu, Chongqing, Lijiang and Dali. Airport express to city center is available at CNY5 per person (single way).

To Lhasa: There is one airport, one railway station and four coach station in Lhasa serving neighboring area and major cities in China.

To Dali: By air - Flights in Dali Airport connecting the city with Kunming, Xishuangbanna, Guangzhou, Beijing, Chengdu, and Chongqing. Tourists can take airport express to shuttle between the airport and city center.

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Travel Tips 

1. Touring some attractions along the route may involve physibility-demanding activities. Tourists are suggested to bring comfortable walking shoes and water-proof coat.

2. Medicine to acute high altitude reaction are recommended for tourists to plateau area such as Lhasa (consumed 15 days prior to departure)

3. Please show respect to local religious customs and obtain approval before take photos.

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Tour including Visiting the Tea Horse Road

5 Days Group Tour to Dali, Lijiang & Shangri-La

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