Multi-Day Tour | Independent, Private

Travelling Yunnan's Tea Horse Road, China (10 days)

Remote Lands, Inc

Xishuangbanna, China To Shangri-La, China

Valid for Departures Now Through: 18 Mar 2019


Day 1
Xishuangbanna, China
Anantara Xishuangbanna Resort and Spa Dinner

Your 10-day journey begins in the autonomous prefecture of Xishuangbanna. Located in the very south of Yunnan province, this former trading hub is the perfect launch point for exploring the Ancient Tea Route. Here, you will be greeted at Jinghong airport by your guide who will escort you to your hotel for check-in and brief you on the tour. Tonight, enjoy a welcome dinner and your first taste of local tea. For accommodation, we recommend the superlative Anantara Xishuangbanna Resort and Spa, located in virgin forest on the Luosuo River and sporting luxurious amenities and traditional Dai-style design.

Day 2
Xishuangbanna, China
Anantara Xishuangbanna Resort and Spa Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 Xishuangbanna is home to ethnic Dai, and its culture bears many resemblances to that of Thailand, with whom the region once had close ties. You can see some of these similarities today during a visit to the Dai Ethnic Folklore Village, which stages music and dance performances and provides insight into local customs and tradition. After a day exploring the beautiful gardens and pavilions of the Folklore Village, return to your resort. At the Anantara you can enjoy authentic Dai cuisine, or your favorite Chinese or Thai dishes.

Day 3
Xishuangbanna, China
Anantara Xishuangbanna Resort and Spa Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Enjoy an early start today with a visit out of town to Menghai daily market, where local farmers come to sell fresh produce. It’s a colorful affair where you can expect to see a convergence of different ethnic communities, each with their own array of fragrant spices, teas and vegetables. Next, you’ll stop at at ethnic Bulang village, after which you’ll enjoy a leisurely hike, where your guide will lead you to a local monastery. After that, you’ll enjoy locally-grown tea in the home of an Aini family. The Aini have a long history of tea cultivation and their aged Green Pu’er brew is noted for its golden color and mellow flavor. After dinner with an Aini family, you’ll return to your resort.

Day 4
Shaxi, China
Laomadian Lodge Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today you will fly to Dali, where you’ll stop for a traditional Bai lunch before heading onwards to Shaxi, around three hours away. Shaxi is another major point along the Ancient Tea Route, and little appears to have changed in its Old Town since the days of tea caravans. You have time this afternoon to explore the cobblestone alleys and traditional architecture before checking into your guesthouse-- we recommend either the Laomadian Lodge or the Old Theatre Inn.

Day 5
Shaxi, China
Laomadian Lodge Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

The tranquil valley that Shaxi inhabits provides a backdrop for the day’s activities, with a morning hike and a picnic lunch. The Bai and Yi ethnic minorities call this area home, and for lunch, you’ll take part in a cooking class where you’ll learn how to prepare some traditional Bai dishes. You’ll return to Shaxi in time for dinner - another authentic local meal featuring fresh produce and plenty of indigenous tea.

Day 6
Lijiang, China
Banyan Tree Lijiang Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Your first destination today is the Jianchuan Shibaoshan Grottoes, nestled in the stunning natural reserve of Shibaoshan mountain. These Buddhist grottoes hail from the Dali Kingdom and feature ancient frescoes, statues and stone carvings. From there, you will hike back to Shaxi and enjoy a hearty lunch before heading to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Lijiang. In Lijiang, you can wander the streets of its beautifully preserved Old Town, stopping for coffee in an ambient cafe or browsing handicrafts in its boutiques. You’ll stay in Lijiang tonight, we recommend the luxurious Banyan Tree Lijiang.

Day 7
Shangri-La, China
Banyan Tree Ringha Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

In the morning, you have time to explore more of Lijiang’s Old Town before driving to Shangri-La. En route, you’ll take a break at a viewpoint along the Yangtze River, enjoying the scenery while sipping hot tea. In the afternoon, you’ll arrive in the idyllic town of Shangri-La on the Tibetan Plateau. Tonight, check into your hotel in Shangri-La - we recommend the Banyan Tree Ringha or the Songtsam Shangri-La, both stylish modern properties with a traditional Tibetan design aesthetic.  

Day 8
Shangri-La, China
Banyan Tree Ringha Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today you’ll visit the largest monastery in Yunnan Province, Songzanlin Monastery. This Buddhist center is home to more than 700 monks and during your visit you’ll have the chance to meet with one of them and tour some parts of the monastery not usually open to visitors. Enjoy lunch in a local restaurant, then spend the afternoon wandering Shangri-La’s Old Town. For dinner, sample some traditional Tibetan cuisine with yak milk and yak butter tea, and watch a dance performance in the town square.

Day 9
Shangri-La, China
Banyan Tree Ringha Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Continue your journey along the Ancient Tea Road with a hike around Napa Lake where you’ll enjoy a picnic lunch with stunning mountain and valley views. Next you’ll visit Nixi, a village specialising in black pottery, a tradition that dates back more than 2,000 years. When you return to Shangri-La, you’ll be treated to an unforgettable farewell feast, featuring traditional Tibetan delicacies such as yak butter tea and yak cheese. In the evening, enjoy another dance in the town square.

Day 10
Shangri-La, China
None Breakfast

After gourmet breakfast in your hotel, you’ll be chauffeur-driven to the airport for your departing flight.  

Exclusively for Virtuoso Guests

VIP Arrival

The following VIP services are complimentary for all Virtuoso guests upon arrival at participating airports.

  • Meet and greet as you disembark the aircraft
  • Luggage assistance
  • Escort through immigration and customs formalities
  • Escort to your private guide

Further services may be available, contingent upon individual airport regulations. Please enquire for further details.

Tour Features


Experiences have not been selected at this time


Retrace the ancient route of the tea trading caravans across the picturesque province of Yunnan. This 10-day luxury itinerary begins in Xishuangbanna and encompasses the Bai villages of Jinghong, the UNESCO World Heritage site of Lijiang and the virtually unchanged Old Town of Shaxi. End your trip in picturesque Shangri-La, hiking to Napa Lake. On this journey, you’ll stay in the province’s best hotels and, of course, sample its famous teas.


  •     A trip to the Dai Ethnic Folklore Village in the ancient trade link of Xishuangbanna

  •     Sampling a wide variety of locally cultivated teas and learning of their cultural significance

  •     Time in the Old Town of Lijiang, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

  •     A few nights in Shangri-La, visiting the Old Town and enjoying traditional Tibetan cuisine

About Us

Remote Lands creates highly personalized itineraries with extraordinary experiences for discerning travelers, based on their own passions, interests and needs. The world’s most elite travel advisors rely on us for our deep knowledge of Asia and entrust us with their highly discerning clients, from celebrities to CEO’s, Wall Street titans to professional athletes. We are available to travel advisors 24/7 from the initial consultation to the day your clients return from Asia.

Insider Tip

Contact your Virtuoso Travel Advisor for insider knowledge to help enhance your experience.

Terms & Conditions

Payment Notes
  • Payment by wire transfer or by cheque; American Express, Visa and MasterCard also accepted.
  • 25%

Refund Policy
  • Fully refundable, less a 15% of total trip price cancellation fee, if cancelled 91 days or more before departure, subject to the refund policies of each hotel, airline and other vendor
  • 50% of total trip price refundable if cancelled 30-90 days before departure, subject to the refund policies of each hotel, airline and other vendor
  • No refund less than 30 days before departure

  • Please note that some vendors have onerous cancellation policies with substantial penalties for changes where funds paid are non-refundable

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highly recommended

By: Squash1

Reviewed on: 30 Jan 2013

excellent at making sure everything is taken care of...personal cell phone contact appreciated and very customized orientation...also very nice
Travel Advisor:  Deborah Bush

Excellent package

By: Mike53-Birmingham

Reviewed on: 27 Nov 2013

Shangri La Rasa Ria Resort in Kota Kinabalu was fantastic as was the Kinabatangan River Resort. Raimie our guide was first-rate!
Travel Advisor:  Deborah Barth


By: Dustin and Eli

Reviewed on: 20 Mar 2018

Remote Lands coordinated our trip and made the experience worry-free. All of our transfers and guides were on time, professional, kind and even went above and beyond when a couple of unexpected needs arose. Thank you!
Travel Advisor:  Geraldine Hasting

Taiwan 2018 trip

By: Cindi

Reviewed on: 29 Mar 2018

Wonderful experience! This was my daughter’s senior trip prior to going away to college and it was everything I’d hoped it would be. Great guide, driver, travel agent, etc. Overall a very positive experience!!
Travel Advisor:  Deanna Byrd

far east

By: Mike

Reviewed on: 18 May 2018

we had to different tour guides, both were just excellent and well worth the money definitely made the trip more memorable
Travel Advisor:  Jason Swaye


By: Joel and Kathy

Reviewed on: 17 Jun 2018

The Remote Lands Guides were excellent. The cars used for transportation were roomy and clean. The hotels were 5 star and their attention to detail was over the top. There was only perfection from the people we met and it was also comforting to know that our trip was being carefully monitored by Remote Lands supervisors every step of the way. We would recommend Remote Lands to anyone needing exceptional service in Asia.
Travel Advisor:  Kate Winslow

Remote Lands Rocks

By: Morty

Reviewed on: 16 Oct 2018

Terrific professionals! Looked out for us the entire time we were on the road!! Many thanks!
Travel Advisor:  Debbie Elias