Tea Horse Trade Route

The over 1,800 year old Tea Horse Trade Route starts from Simao, a place that has been famous for its Pu’er tea, in southwest China’s Yunnan province. The Tea Horse Trade Route, or simply Tea Horse Road, goes from its southern end to Southeast Asia, connects Beijing from its north and zigzags to Tibet from its West.
The road had long been an important trade route in history, along which the local rich Pu’er tea was carried out of the country for border trade, together with China’s culture.
Pu’er tea, in fact, is everywhere in the air in and around Simao. Thus if you have the chance to travel to Simao then a visit to the Tea Horse Road is a must.
The Banjiu ( meaning “turtle dove”) slope section is a key part of the Tea Horse Road from its south to north. It’s also the best preserved section that contains the richest part of the ancient tea horse road’s culture. It’s called a “living fossil in Chinese, even world, transportation history.”
It was along the Tea Horse Trade Route that tribute tea was sent to Beijing long ago. On the distant journey, the tea inevitably became wet and hot due to the rain fall and the sun. Accidentally, the post-fermentation of Pu’er tea was discovered and made the tea well-known. Countless stories occurred along the Tea Horse Road.
Even though nowadays it takes only a matter of hours to travel from Shanghai to London or America, and we have far more transportation options, it’s still good to re-walk the ancient Tea Horse Road, not just for the brilliant scenery and fresh air but also to re-connect with the history.