Xishuangbanna Tea Mountain Tour from Yiwu Town to Wangong Village

“Not yet the pine felled on its mountains had descended

To the liquid waves that it might see a foreign world,

And mortals knew no shores but their own.

There was eternal spring, and placid zephyrs with warm

Blasts soothed the flowers born without seed. ” American author Thoreau(梭罗) wrote the verse in his Walden《瓦尔登湖》.

All the way to Dingjia village(丁家寨) tea trees in Wangong Village(弯弓大寨), mostly it is the place that leaves you the deepest impression in Yiwu tea area, if you have enough enthusiasm and courage, this period of trip, will present you a natural gift of endless beauty and adventure.

At 7:30hrs, we started from Yiwu township(易武古镇) to Wangong village. We booked the car last night and the driver surnamed He. If you do not drive, in Yiwu town, it is not difficult to find a car to the village. Friends can ask the friend, and even in the hotel the boss can find tea farmers who have a car to take you to the mountain you want to go. Yiwu people are enthusiasm and obliging, so just take it easy to the journey because no matter how bumpy the mountain road is, they know where to go.

Past through the Luoshuidong(落水洞村) and Mahei villages(麻黑村), we met the Daqishu village and then diverted here. An hour’s drive later, old Mansa comes out and more than an hour later, we met Yao ethnic people in Dingjia village. From the main driving road we can clearly see the branches to the old Mansa, make sure to tell your guide in advance if you want to see.
Old Mansa Street(漫撒老街): people have gone, while the tea trees remained in the breeze

In the north of Yiwu street, passed through luoshuidong, Mahei and Daqishu villages, we got to the Mansa tea mountain (old tea-panting area of Yiwu), which is close to Yiwu mountain and the boundary is in the Mahei village.

Yunnan writer Ms. Zhan YingPei pointed out in “Ancient Six Great Tea Mountains of Chinese Pu’er tea ” that the whole Yiwu tea mountain is located in the east of the ancient six great tea mountains, which is close to the border of Laos, occupying an area of 750 square kilometers, including Yiwu mountain(易武正山), Mansa tea mountain(漫撒茶山) and Manla tea mountain(曼腊茶山). And about record of the name “Yiwu”, until Guangxu period of Qing dynasty, it changed from original “Mansa” into “Yiwu” in “Pu’er Prefecture”. Visibly to know the change of Tea Mountain’s name reflects its rise and fall and the transfer of processing trade center.

Prior to Xianfeng periods of Qing dynasty, Wangong village and Mansa village(漫撒老街) used to be the most prosperous two stockaded village among dense population of Mansa mountain village, which are five kilometers away separated by a hilltop. “In the past, there were more than four hundred households in Wangong village, which is the largest stockaded village in Mansa mountain”, Mr. Zhao Guochuan from Manla zhangjiawan village recorded in his article.About an hour’s drive, we met old Mansa on the way to Wangong village. Old Mansa street lying in the mountain ridge, we just saw miscellaneous wood, flat roads and lush growth of trees rather than originally expected debris when driver He took us move down inside. With high altitudes and open vision in old Mansa Street, we could clearly see the distant mountain forest, and high terrain here doesn’t cause water shortage. Because of frequent natural disasters, people have gone and the tea plantation still remained here.

Mansa tea mountain is a tropical rainforest climate standing up high between 750 ~ 1958 m above sea level with fertile and deep soil. Mansa ancient tea plantation has gone through several vicissitudes of life and mostly deserted and declining. According to field test & measurement of census team, the ancient tea plantation area is only 2500 Chinese acres, distributed in Mansa, Manla, Mannai and Kede. Due to long-term neglect or just picking and no management situation, quite a number of tea plantations becoming barren, tree condition in recession, thus, some plantation changed into a mixed wood of tea and trees. Driver Mr. He said, pointing to the opposite mountain languishing, “Look, those are tea trees in the woods.”

Mansa went into his most glory time in Qianlong period and annual output was above 5,000kgs according to historical records. At that time, the tea trading was concentrated in the old Mansa Street. Tongzhi thirteen years, old Mansa Street suffered a devastating fire for the first time. Guangxu thirteen years, Mansa suffered the big fire again and the relentless fire ravaged the boom town rapidly. The third time, fire and disease crashed it into a desert city. Mansa people were so inconsolable to leave this scarred home and more than one hundred years of glory disappeared transiently.

However, Yiwu, 20 kilometers away from Mansa, replaced its position and immediately stepped into the stage of history. It also explained why “Yiwu” replaced “Mansa” in the “Pu’er Prefecture” to become an important tea mountain in the six great tea mountains.

Move down inside, strong and lush trees growing in the left of the flat path, some were full of fruit like wild figs. No any sites, even no any ground, we can only imagine the life scene of Mansa villagers at that time.

Mansa in its heyday, there were more than three hundred households, and occasionally there were people passing through and walking path inside.

Going back and forth and looking around in the Mansa village, we had to set foot on the new road although we were very emotional.

Dingjia village(丁家寨): Cheeky to drink a cup of Wangong spring tea from Captain Lu

Nearly more than an hour’s bumpy car ride later, we reached Yao ethnic people in Dingjia village finally.

At the village, Captain Lu, the head of the production team waiting for us here, was wearing a white shirt and jeans in the hot sun and yellow grey dirt road, making a phone call while waiting for us, which seems to be very busy.

Dingjia village is divided into the up village and the down village, the majority surnamed Pan and Li. Captain Lu lived in a remarkable place in the down village, with the door hanging a brand “Wangong Bohetang white tea garden”.

Upon looking at words “white tea”, we just remembered a non-local drunken man when we had dinner in a small restaurant last night, who kept saying white tea garden. Here it is. My company’s eyes were bright, narrowing his eyes and smiling to me.

Captain Lu’s yard was very big and we saw tea leaves being dried in the dustpan when we got into the yard. In addition, an old man was picking out the yellow slice.

Follow Captain Lu getting into the door, they were drinking Wangong spring tea just dried well this morning. In spite of the last cup of tea liquor, it was still very tasty and refreshing, for the reason we estimated was that we were too thirsty on the road and it made us feel the tea so sweet. Then, immediately we cheeky requested Captain Lu to brew another pinch of tea for us.

Aroma was rising up from the cup, which was full of good taste and we had a great time. While drinking tea, we asked Captain Lu whether we can go into the tea mountain. It was the time of fresh tea-leaf picking, so we basically had the answer in the mind when we asking. While we learned cars cannot get in, I was inwardly and secretly pleased, for the reason that we could slowly appreciate the scenery along the way.

Taking a motorcycle or walking to the mountain was not for us to choose, because there was hardly enough manpower to ride a motorcycle for us at this time. So we started to sigh with regret why we didn’t learn to ride a motorcycle before.

Experience the bumpy mountain road with country knight

It may not be companion’s laughter, but animals’ singing and plants’ rich aroma on the road accompanying you.

This part is the most fantastic memory in this journey. I’m not going to write a pathos ode, although I ever think so, because the recall of trees being skinned and cut down always made me heartache and chilling. Start from Dingjia village, we probably needed taking more than an hour’s motor or three or four hours’ walking to get to the Wangong village.

Despite with expectation in my mind, all this beautiful was still beyond my imagination.

Mr. Li, Captain Lu’s cousin, Yao people, would ride a motorcycle to bring me in the mountain. He was tall and thin, always with a shy smile on his face as talking. Mr. Li had been urging us to start when we determined departure to the mountain, he putting on his coat and heavy shoes, and then putting things inside a black cloth bag. When I got my closer look, it was sausage and rice packed with red plastic bag. He smiled again and said to me, “Catch up on to cook a meal, or no meal for lunch.”

Then, sit on the motorcycle, turn left and right towards the mountains. Heard the mountain road was difficult to go through, that two motorcycles can only approached each other to scrape through, with happy and afraid in heart because it was not fun flying out from the motorcycle in the mountains.

Out of the village soon, passed through a large banana woods firstly, then we were all the way through in the mountains.

Sometimes it was full of lush vegetation and the air was so cool and refreshing. Sometimes it was narrow cliff road, mountains on the right and unfathomable cliff on the left, however, with the wide vision, we could see distant rolling mountains layer behind layer, beautiful and amazing, mountain roads up and down greatly, feeling nervous and also sighing its grand beauty. My heart was trembling in watching beautiful scenery and repeatedly exclaimed, “Ah, it is amazing. The air is so fresh. So beautiful!”

While Mr. Li said, “Large chunks of rubber trees, not beautiful at all.” My heart dropped from heaven to the underground, heavy and sick.

Rich vegetation and fresh air in the mountains, I thought on the half way that fresh and cool air would always be here and all kinds of plants with cheerful aroma would accompany us on the whole road, while the smell of Mr. Li’s sweat and the beads of sweat on his neck, all of a sudden I had no mood to admire the view, with much bitterness in heart and the hard in tea-leaf picking for the way back and forth once a day.

Wangong tea montain, the other kind of The wizard of oz

“Not yet the pine felled on its mountains had descended

To the liquid waves that it might see a foreign world,

And mortals knew no shores but their own.

There was eternal spring, and placid zephyrs with warm

Blasts soothed the flowers born without seed. ” American author Thoreau wrote the verse in his Walden..

Going under the canopy, all the things in Wangong rainforest grow in a large size. The giant root full of wrinkles, crisscross in the rock, tiny luxuriant vine growth formed the natural door of road; lush plants and bracken grew tall and long nearly a metre long here, which is usually in more than 10cm; deciduous drifted down from the sky, which took a long time to rotate to glide to the ground.

All the way around was sweet birdsong, as if in a fairy tale world. Brisk walking and looking around, you may also see the birds between looking up and down with colorful feathers flying like a flash. Everything was so beautiful like a dream.
Soon, air becoming cooler, sweet flowing sound coming from the distant faintly, yes, that is the Wangong River, which is cheerfully passing through the tall and thick woods.

The tea plantation we would go to was the origin of the Wangong River, where we took water from to do lunch. River splash and pleasing sounds made me immediately throwing my pack, with both my hands toward the river touching the flowing water, at that moment, my whole heart was so soft and words couldn’t describe the joy.


Mr. Liu and his favorite food
Fellow partners were respectively sent in by captain Lu and another brother in riding motorcycle, and they put their companion on the half way due to lots of guys in the home. Only Mr. Li and a motorcycle could send us three into mountains, while we decided to walk into, Mr. Li had been in a hurry and said “Be quick to get on the motor. I send you back and forth and I need to do lunch.”
Then back and forth, by motor and walking, it took nearly two hours to reach the destination.

This time of every spring, Mr. Liu came to Dingjia village personally to look at tea-leaf picking and make his favorite Wangong tea. And he paid the human cost of tea-leaf picking by himself, 100RMB/day.

“Tea-leaf picking is expensive and quality is poor!” He said to us, pointing to the fresh leaves at his side.

A simple wooden house, clapboard set up in the middle, one for the fresh leaf cooling, another for the person to rest.

He has been in this wait for two days for watching hired Yao female, an old lady and a teenager girl, picking tea leaves in the daylight. The girl could communicate in mandarin barely, but the old woman almost didn’t know what we were talking, just shyly laughing when we talked to her.

Mr. Liu leafed through the new picked tea leaves and chose very carefully, “Don’t pick in the young trees and don’t pick this long in the tree stems, ah…” After a short rest and a drinking of tea liquor, we took the cloth bag and went to pick the tea leaves with them.

The ancient Wangong tea plantation was damaged seriously and ruined too much, so we couldn’t see the patchy tea woods, until near Wangong River on this way, we could see small pieces of tea plantations in all sizes.

Somewhere we still could see a lot of replanted small tea trees, but they grew in good symbiosis with plants, which place was a relatively concentrated tea-growing field. The tilted terrain together with weeds and some plants with thorns increases the difficulty to go.

The photographer came over staggeringly, watching and screaming at the beautiful vegetation in the opposite mountain, at the same time, he accidentally slipped in the weeds. Then he got up and said “oh the good tea grows in a place like this.”


Although weeds covered the road, Mr. Liu was gone out of sight soon. Every year a lot of tea merchants come here to receive tea, while few people are as crazy as him.

We have no idea whether he don’t trust the people so much or just want to make some good teas personally to taste and enjoy.

Like playing acrobatics roll in the tea garden for more than ten minutes and back to the cabin, we saw a cup of tea brewed with rough old leaf.

Mr. Li said it was baked directly over charcoal and then brewed by boiled water. Ferial baked tea were dried in clay jars on fire and then made by boiling water, which should be condition restriction, while the tea was very sweet.
In front of the cabin space, there were two pieces of wood pile split as a table, a bunch of coals, and a few of unwashed pots and pans. This was the place for “picnic” today.

After all fellow men arrived, Mr. Li finally relieved and picked up the dark iron pan walking down towards the slope. The water source was below the small slope and water came out with a bamboo stick stuck in to clean out the rice and then we could begin to cook.


Mr. Li cooked the rice and then made the roasted sausage stringed by sharp bamboo.

With pots and pans in hands, I followed the hillside filled with weeds and tea trees as excited as a wild man, walking and sliding to do dishwashing.

Mr. Li prepared a sweet-smelling and dainty food quickly. With clear water cooked with river fish, sausage roasted by coals and fragrant white rice, the background is mountains and tea plantation, which was the most tasteful meal, like a cup of memorable good tea that I will never forget.

Chinese Version: http://www.chayu.com/article/126583