Tea Horse Road - ancient trade route in South-Western China
Last Update: 19th October 2020
The ancient Tea Horse road originated from the tea-and-horse trade in the southwestern frontier in ancient China. It started in the Tang (618 – 907) and Song (960 – 1279) Dynasties and flourished in the Ming (1368 – 1644) and Qing (1644 – 1912) Dynasties. It was the most popular in the middle and late World War II. The ancient tea-horse road is divided into Shaanxi-Gansu, Shaanxi-Kang-Tibet, Yunnan-Tibet and Sichuan-Tibet Road.
Tea Horse Road Fast Facts
- Chinese Name: Chamagudao (茶马古道)
- Location: spanning between Yunnan, Shanxi, Gansu, Tibet and Sichuan in China
- Things to do there: Photography, Hiking, Horseback Riding
- Who visits: Photographers, Adventure Enthusiasts
- Time required: 3 – 4 x hours
Shaanxi-Gansu Tea Horse Road is for the trade of tea produced in the mainland and the horse in the Western Region in the ancient China. It is also one section of the ancient Silk Road. Shaanxi-Kang-Tibet Tea Horse Road was originally formed in the Han Dynasty (202 BC – 220 AD). Businessmen in Shaanxi and businessmen in the southwestern China in the ancient times exchanged tea and horses on the road.
Formed during the late 6th Century, Yunnan-Tibetan Tea Horse Road offered a channel to do tea and horses trade between Yunnan businessmen and Tibet, India or Nepal. The road starts from Yiwu and Puer City in the south, through Dali, Lijiang and Shangrila into Lhasa and even to India or Nepal. Sichuan-Tiebt Tea Horse Road is one section of Shaanxi-Kang-Tibet Tea Horse Road. It starts from Ya’an in the east, through Kangding west to Lhasa and to Bhutan, Nepal and India. It is nearly 4,000 kilometers long. The transportation means was mainly horses, yaks, and mules.
You could explore the well-preserved ruins on Tea Horse Road near Lashi Lake in Lijiang. If interested, you could enjoy horseback riding along the road near Lashi Lake. After you pay for the horseback riding, you could pick one horse you love at the horse ranch. Four horses are tied to a line led by a professional horsebreaker. The first section of the road is flat while the second section of the road for horse riding is a little steep. Or if you love hiking, you could explore the old road which is different from the one for horseback riding with your foot. It is said that the right Tea Horse Road is the road near the edge of the cliff.
The best time to visit Tea Horse Road is in the morning.
The best months to visit are from April to October.
You could take Bus 31 or Bus 32 to the Stop of Wetland Park (湿地公园) where the Lashi Lake is located or rent a vehicle to the Lashi Lake from Lijiang.
- Opening hours: 24 hours.
- As at 19th October 2020, the entrance pricing to the horseback riding near the Lashi Lake is 260 CNY per person. For the latest pricing information, please contact us via email (email@example.com)
- Please wear the sunscreen cream, sunglasses, long trousers and long clothes to protect the sun on fine days.
- Some horsebreakers can speak a little simple English.
- Please do not take pictures when enjoying horseback riding in case your camera or cellphone falls down.