I am planning a trip and have put together a list of resources that I have used in this process. Initially, I found it hard-work narrowing down good information, but hopefully, these will also be helpful if you are starting to plan a trip along part of the Ancient Tea Horse Road.
So, 1st I’ve done a short historical summary, followed by planning, activity and other resources.
The Ancient Tea Horse Road was a trade caravan route that existed from the 7th to the 20th century. In China it stretched from the tea growing areas in the southern Yunnan province into Tibet. Tea traveled north and horses for the army, were traded for the southern journey.
Currently efforts are being put into making this a tourist destination. An interesting piece of research was being done in 2016 looking at the tourism impressions of this area and it’s future potential Research Background information
The LUX* hotel group has a very good brochure on the history of the road. Download here here or here They offer specialist luxury trips between their hotels in Lijiang and Shangri-La. [I have no affiliation with them. I just thought their information was exceptionally good and their trips interesting. LUX* hotel luxury tour ]
The major towns on this route are: * Xishuangbanna * Dali * Lijiang * Shaxi * Shangri-La (Zhongdian)
The Lonely Planet has a good summary of the role of each of these towns along the Ancient Tea Horse Road: see Lonely Plant towns on the road
Planning Inspiration for places along the tea horse road
Some history and references to other sources of travel and background information: bibbulmuntrack.org.au
With some lovely images and visual stories of the people along the route: kensington-explorersinresidence
I think this site is aimed at Kunming expats, but it has some excellent travel material. While looking for where we wanted to go, these provided a lot of inspiration about trips or day-trips from locations. yunnanyi or In_search_of_shangri_la or weishan
Hiking Tiger Leaping Gorge
We plan to do a hike on the Tiger Leaping Gorge located about 2.5 hours outside Lijiang. Some good information about the logisitics involved can be found here:
- The title of this one appeals (and reassures me) a guide for the averagely fit
- Some good preparation and practical advice included in this one. I really like how it clarifies things like ‘what can I buy in the gorge’www.saporedicina.com
- I like the idea of avoiding the other hikers by stopping at Naxi guesthouse and doing the climb early the next morning www.victorstravels.com
- These bloggers cover it all www.nomadasaurus.com/
Alternative to hiking Tiger Leaping Gorge
Another hiking area that came to light while researching was hiking at Meili Snow Mountain Trails or Yubeng. While people rave about it, you do need to have enough travel to time to access the area north of Shangri-La, and go to places where vehicles don’t go.
All of these blogs give a good insight and will help you decide if this is for you or not
Planning travel around Food
- Food inspirations from a native of Dali: http://www.thatsmags.com/shanghai/post/17845/mei-zhang If you are interested check out her book here http://amzn.to/2FDdM5x
- Food explanations for Yunnan: http://www.wildchina.com/blog/2016/09/a-foodies-yunnan-voyage/
- From the UK Guardian, mouth watering description. Done in 2009, but the information is still relevant: https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2009/dec/05/allegra-mcevedy-china-food-yunnan
- Some good background information on local ingredients: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/food/2015-03/26/content_19912332_2.htm
- Food blogger impressions of the Dali area: https://bocconifoodblog.wordpress.com/2016/12/25/a-food-adventure-in-yunnan/
- Just a little food focusing on Dali, Lijinag and Shangri-La with glorious photos: http://www.fathomaway.com/chef-simone-tong-yunnan-food-china/
- And just delicious a_gourmands_tour_of_yunnan_province
Special Places to stay
When I look for somewhere to stay, we are normally middle of the road. We like good value, location and cleanliness. Generally speaking, we are the sort of people that don’t go to hostels but we occasionally splurge. Perhaps you could say we are IBIS people 🙂 Interestingly the places that have come up on my radar for Yunnan are at higher end of the middle budget. However, they are well-regarded and seem to be little havens to retreat to.
There are 2 stand-outs here and they are both about USD $120 per night. Both have a very large number of consistently excellent reviews on tripadvisor
The history of the conversion of these buildings and the profiles on the work of the owners are inspiring. The accommodation looks pretty good too! http://www.linden-centre.com/
Also in the same area is Sky Valley Heritage Boutique Hotel with a modern, East Meets West vibe. http://www.skyvalleyhotel.com/
I have to admit Lijiang and all the “Disneyland” bad press it receives makes me not want to stay in the city itself. One boutique hotel outside the city that caught my eye was http://www.zinchotels.com/arro-khampa-lijiang/overview in Shuhe about USD $100 per night
Here I thought there was one attractive boutique inn http://www.oldtheatreinn.com/ . What I particularly like about this place is their website covers most of the things you want to know: location, rooms, how to get there, what to do in the area. About USD $80 per night