15 Days Southwest Yunnan Ancient Tea Culture Tour

Yunnan boasts beautiful scenery, unique and diverse natural landscape, which is rich in resources. There are 26 kinds of ethnic, long history of tea production, abundant social and human resources, and fertile soil for tea growing. Enjoy this fantastic Yunnan 15 day tour where you can learn about the ancient tea culture. Through this tour, you will have a better understanding about Yunnan province and the history behind the fascinating tea culture. 


  • Visit different tea gardens, tea mountains and tea workshops.
  • Explore the ethnic villages, ancient towns along the way.
  • Enjoy the rainforest of Menglun Tropical Botanical Garden.

Brief Itinerary

  • Day 1: Kunming Arrival
  • Day 2: Kunming – Puer
  • Day 3: Puer – Menglun
  • Day 4: Menglun – Yiwu
  • Day 5: Yiwu – Jinghong
  • Day 6: Jinghong – Menghai
  • Day 7: Menghai – Jingmai
  • Day 8: Jingmai – Ximeng
  • Day 9: Ximeng – Shuangjiang
  • Day 10: shuangjiang – Lincang
  • Day 11: Lincang – Fengqing
  • Day 12: Fengqing – Manwan
  • Day 13: Manwan – Dali
  • Day 14: Dali
  • Day 15: Dali Departure

Google Map

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 Kunming Arrival

Sightseeing and Activities:Kunming Arrival
Accommodation: Kunming

You’ll begin your journey to the diverse and captivating province of Yunnan from the capital city, Kunming. Upon arrival at the Kunming International Airport, meet your local guide and transfer to the hotel. 

Day 2 Kunming-Puer

Sightseeing and Activities: Plum Lake
Accommodation: Puer
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

After breakfast, we will drive around 8 hours to Puer City. It is situated in the northwest of Yunnan Province, which has an important location in China’s southwestern boundary, neighboring Laos, Vietnam and Burma and sharing a 486 kilometers boundary line with these three countries. Kunming is about 550 kilometers from Puer.  We will be relaxed around the Plum Lake which is 4 KM away from the downtown.

Day 3 Puer-Menglun

Sightseeing and Activities: Puer Tea Gardens, Puer Tea Institute, Puer Tea Factory
Accommodation: Menglun
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

In the morning, drive up to Puer Tea Gardens, overlooking Puer City where Austin was interviewed by the media. You will explore the Chinese Tea Institute and their library of dried tea leaves before being whisked off to a tea tasting and more interviews. Visit the Puer tea factory and experience how local people cook the Puer tea cakes.

In the afternoon, transfer around 2 hours to Jinghong City. Then continue the driving to Menglun Tropical Botanical Garden in Mengla County; Stay at Menglun Botanical Garden Hotel.

Day 4 Menglun Botanical Garden-Yiwu Ancient Town

Sightseeing and Activities:Menglun Tropical Botanical Garden, He Tian Neng’s old tea workshop, Yiwu Village
Accommodation: Yiwu
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

After a noodle breakfast, visit Menglun Tropical Botanical Garden. The Garden was founded in 1958 and is currently playing an important role in research in the areas of medicinal plants, taxonomy, economic plants and biochemistry. After visiting Menglun Tropical Botanical Garden, drive along a winding road through a tropical rain forest and stopped briefly at a rubber tree orchard on the way to Yiwu. 

Take a bumpy dirt road to see an 800-year old tea tree overlooking a gorgeous lush valley in Zhengshan Mountain. On the way back, walk along the Tea Horse Trail which begins in Yiwu village and goes all the way to Tibet. Our next stop is He Tian Neng’s old tea workshop where you drink tea and see the stone blocks used to press tea cakes. Mr. He then will take you to his newer workshop where you watch as workers make puer tea cakes by hand.

In the evening you hang out in the small Yiwu Village, have tea and beer in front a shop and fired off roman candles in the street. Glenn fired an errant shot, narrowly missed Kevin’s head, before we retired to our slightly rough accommodations for the night.

Day 5 Yiwu Town-Jinghong City

Sightseeing and Activities: Cha Ma Shi factory in Youle, DaDuGang factory
Accommodation: Jinghong
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Today we get the chance to make our own puer tea cakes at a small Cha Ma Shi factory in Youle, another of the 6 famous Puer tea mountains. After steaming, pressing and wrapping 2 cakes each we really get to experience how naturally simple the whole process is compared to other types of tea which are fried, rolled and processed substantially more. The only downside I see to puer cakes is the lengthy aging process which is necessary for the deep rich taste to develop.

From this small tea factory we traveled to DaDuGang, the owner of the largest tea plantation in Asia. Terraced fields of 30yr old tea bushes could be seen in all directions and the view was breathtaking.  In stark contrast to the small factory we’d seen earlier in the day, the DaDuGang factory was filled with massive processing equipment, primarily for green though they make 107 different varieties, which had a very industrial feeling to it. We had some tea with the owners of DaDuGang while Austin had a long discussion about policies and international tea trade.

Transfer to Jinghong City in the late afternoon.

Day 6 Jinghong-Menghai

Sightseeing and Activities: Mengsong Tea Mountain; Nannuoshan Tea Mountain,Yunnan Tea Research Institute,Jinzheng Octagonal Pavilion
Accommodation: Menghai
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Banpo Village Tea Plantation of Nannuo Mountain in Menghai County, XishuangBanna

Drive to Mengsong Mountain and visit the ancient tea trees. Then move to Menghai County, visit Nannuo Mountain Tea Plantation and Yunnan Tea Research Institute. Nanuo is one of six tea Mountains, the origin of tea of the world; today we will visit a tea plantation with history of over 600 years old. 

At Yunnan Tea Research Institute, we will be given a lecture on Yunnan minority tea culture while enjoy the tea performance of courses of Flaming Tea from Ai’Ni ethnic minority, cool mixed tea of Jinou, Earth-pot tea of La’hu and so on.

Visit Jinzheng Octagonal Pavilion, and then drive to Lancang Lahu Autonomous County. Transfer to Huimin Town which is 50 kilometers away from Lancang Lahu Autonomous County.

Day 7 Menghai County-Jingmai

Sightseeing and Activities: Jingmai and Mangjing Ancient Tea Mountains
Accommodation: Jingmai
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Drive to Jingmai, visit Jingmai and Mangjing Ancient Tea Mountains. The Jingmai Mangjing Ancient Tea Association consists of 209 member households from two administrative villages, namely Jingmai and Mangjing, which are composed of six natural villages. Some of the poorest populations are often ethnic minorities in border regions where the Jingmai Mangjing Ancient Tea Association is located.

The popularity of ancient tea among Chinese tea drinkers has rapidly increased in recent years and can be produced in excellent quality from Jingmai and Mangjing’s tea trees. The number of leaves picked from ancient trees is currently 10 times higher than that of the fresh leaves picked from cultivated tea plants.

The Jingmai Mangjing Tea Association makes up most of the Jingmai Ancient Tea garden, which covers an area of 1600 ha, 910 ha of which are organic. The government has declared the Jingmai Ancient Tea Garden an important area for protection and began promoting ecotourism. The government also emphasizes organic management to increase the value of tea products. 

Day 8 Jingmai -Ximeng

Sightseeing and Activities:Mengsuo Dragon Pool, Wa ethnic villages
Accommodation: Ximeng
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

After breakfast, drive to Ximeng County. Visit the Mengsuo Dragon Pool and the Wa tribal villages. The Wa Tribal people share a special connection to the ancient and wild tea trees. You will see and learn how the Wa Tribal people believe in living in harmony with nature.

Ximeng and Cangyuan counties are the main places where the Va people live in compact communities. In the areas where the Va people live, there are also Hans, Yis, Dais, Hanis, Lahus, Jingpos, Blangs, De’angs and Lisus.

Day 9 Ximeng County-Shuangjiang

Sightseeing and Activities: Fodianshan Mountain Ancient Tea
Accommodation: Shuangjiang
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

In the morning, we will visit a special ancient tea group and a wild tea forest on Fodian Mountain which is 8000 feet above the sea level! There are over 12 square kilometers ancient tea trees here making it a special place on earth.

Drive to Shuangjiang after lunch.

Day 10 Shuangjiang-Lincang

Sightseeing and Activities:Bingdao Village, Mengku Daxueshan Virgin Forest
Accommodation: Lincang
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

After a short drive we will take a light trek to a small village called Bingdao(冰岛) , which is the origin of the tea plantation in China. We will see several huge ancient tea trees over 2000 years old! We will have a chance to see this rare, unique village of the Lahu people. They are known to wear colorful, traditional clothes. 

After we will have a scrumptious local lunch. Drive to Lincang City in the late afternoon.

Optional trekking tour (7 hours):

In the afternoon we will make it to the Mengku Daxueshan Virgin Forest, home to the 10, 000 Acre Wild Ancient Tea Tree Garden. The forest has a total area of 12,000 acres and a history of more than 2,500 years. It is home to over 80, 000 ancient, wild tea trees. It has the largest, oldest and highest tea trees in the world.

Day 11 Lincang-Fengqing

Sightseeing and Activities:Lincang Tea Culture and Customs Garden, Lincang Tea Factories
Accommodation: Fengqing
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Visit Lincang Tea Culture and Customs Garden . Lying in the suburb of the Lin Xiang District, the 110 hectare scenic zone is one of the 25 most heated attractions of Yunnan Province. Here we will get to wander through this giant tea garden as well as learn deeper of the Chinese Yunnan tea culture. 

After we will see the Lincang tea factories for lessons in Lincang’s Puer. What makes Lincang Puer different and unique to the other regions of Yunnan. Drive to Fengqing County in the afternoon.

Day 12 Fengqing-Manwan

Sightseeing and Activities:Dianhong Black Tea Factory, Manwan Hydropower Station

Manwan Hydropower Station between Jingdong and Yunxian

After a hearty breakfast we will tour the famous Dianhong Black Tea factory. They have teas that are honey and chocolate like tasting that will make your mouth water for more. We will see hands on their processing methods and learn what makes this black tea so tasty and unique. They have over 200 varieties of black tea! 

Drive to Manwan Town in the afternoon. Pay a visit to the Manwan Hydropower Station located in the upper Mekong River between Wuliang Mountain and Yunxian County.

Day 13 Manwan-Dali

Sightseeing and Activities:Wuliang Mountain and the Ancient Tea Forest
Accommodation: Dali
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Wuliang Mountain Ancient Tree Study and Trek

We will be doing some light trekking in the mountains to see the ancient tea trees growing in Wuliang Mountain and the surrounding mountains. Bring your camera for reference photos when you go home. We will study leaf identification methods, soil as well as how to distinguish ancient trees from common ones.  Afterwards we will go back to a tea house that has all certified organic ancient and wild teas for a taste test and a taste study of how to judge different Puers. Afterwards we will have a delicious banquet feast of local dishes.

Drive to Dali City.

Day 14 Dali Eco Factory Tour

Sightseeing and Activities: Ecological tea factory, Three Pagodas, Erhai Lake Cruise, Dali Ancient City Wall
Accommodation: Dali
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

From Dali we will be whisked away to a rare one of a kind Ecological tea factory nestled in the mountains. Here you will see first hand what exactly an eco tea factory is and what differentiates it from the other common tea factories around China. We will learn first hand their methods of processing down to their efforts to protect and co-exist with the environment to create a tea line that is beyond Fair Trade.

Visit Three Pagodas, Erhai Lake Cruise, Dali Ancient City Wall.

Day 15 Departure from Dali

Sightseeing and Activities:Departure from Dali

Transfer to Dali airport or train station for the departure.

Service Included:

  • Transfers and tours with local English speaking guidesin private air-conditioned vehicles
  • All entrance feesas mentioned in the programme
  • Accommodation  with breakfast as listed;
  • Meals as mentioned in the programmed

Service Excluded:

  • International or domestic airfare/ train tickets : entry & departure Yunnan
  • Optional tours
  • Tips to the tour guides and drivers
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Personal expenditure, such as drinks, souvenirs, laundry, camera fees, communications, postage, gratuities etc.
  • Meals and services other than mentioned in the programme
  • Drinks with meals
  • Chinese Visa application fees
  • Early check-in and late check-out at hotels, if not mentioned in the programme