Ancient Tea and Horse Road

Rachel Palfini

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This past week was the CIEE Weeklong Excursion and I went to Yunnan Province with 30 other students and 3 teachers. We were traveling along the Ancient Tea and Horse Road (茶马古道) and stopped at different towns that used to be along the route. The Ancient Tea and Horse Road is sort of like the southern equivalent of the Silk Road. This route connected southwest China with Tibet and India. The Chinese traded tea bricks for Tibetan ponies, which were needed for the various wars China was often engaged in. This trade route was used as early as the Song Dynasty (960-1279 CE) and was more than 4000 km long.

Besides being home to much of the Ancient Tea and Horse Road, Yunnan Province is just a very interesting province in modern Chinese society. China has 56 recognized ethnic groups and 25 of them are found in Yunnan. We visited areas that are indigenous to the Bai, Hui, Yi, Naxi and Tibetan. Yunnan also has the largest diversity of plant life in China.

Below, I have included a photo journal of sorts from the trip. Enjoy!

Day 1: Travel.

The bus ride should have taken 5 hours from Kunming to Dali but it took 9 hours instead. It was after midnight when we arrived and dark….so I don’t have any photos from this day.

Day 2: Dali (大理), Cangshan National Park (苍山国家森林公园), and Shaxi Ancient Town (沙溪古镇)

Cangshan National Park (苍山国家森林公园)

Cangshan National Park (苍山国家森林公园)

Cangshan National Park (苍山国家森林公园)

Cangshan National Park (苍山国家森林公园)

Shaxi Ancient Town (沙溪古镇)

Shaxi Ancient Town (沙溪古镇)

Shaxi Ancient Town (沙溪古镇)

Shaxi Ancient Town (沙溪古镇)

Shaxi Ancient Town (沙溪古镇)

Shaxi Ancient Town (沙溪古镇)

View of Shaxi Ancient Town (沙溪古镇) from Shibao Mountain National Park (石宝山国家森林公园)

View of Shaxi Ancient Town (沙溪古镇) from Shibao Mountain National Park (石宝山国家森林公园)

Day 3: Shibao Mountain National Park (石宝山国家森林公园) and Stone Grottos

Shibao Mountain National Park (石宝山国家森林公园)

Shibao Mountain National Park (石宝山国家森林公园)

Shibao Mountain National Park (石宝山国家森林公园)

Shibao Mountain National Park (石宝山国家森林公园)

Shibao Mountain National Park (石宝山国家森林公园)

Shibao Mountain National Park (石宝山国家森林公园)

Day 4: Tiger Leaping Gorge (虎跳峡)

Tiger Leaping Gorge (虎跳峡)

Tiger Leaping Gorge (虎跳峡)

Day 5: Shangri-la (香格里拉), Pudacuo National Park (普达措国家森林公园), Tibetan Family Meal and Traditional Dance Lessons

Shangri-la (香格里拉)

Shangri-la (香格里拉)

Pudacuo National Park (普达措国家森林公园)

Pudacuo National Park (普达措国家森林公园)

Pudacuo National Park (普达措国家森林公园)

Pudacuo National Park (普达措国家森林公园)

Pudacuo National Park (普达措国家森林公园)

Pudacuo National Park (普达措国家森林公园)

Day 6: Lijiang (丽江) and Tea Workshop Ceremony in Lijiang Dayan Old Town

Lijiang (丽江)

Lijiang (丽江)

Tea Workshop Ceremony in Lijiang Dayan Old Town

Tea Workshop Ceremony in Lijiang Dayan Old Town

Lijiang (丽江)

Lijiang (丽江)

Day 7: Jade Dragon Snow Mountain (玉龙丽山) and Shuhe Old Town (束河古镇)

Jade Dragon Snow Mountain (玉龙丽山)

Jade Dragon Snow Mountain (玉龙丽山)

Jade Dragon Snow Mountain (玉龙丽山)

Jade Dragon Snow Mountain (玉龙丽山)

Day 8: Overnight Train –> Kunming (昆明)–> Shanghai (上海)

-Little Sparrow

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