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14 July 2010 @ 04:26 pm
Travelling to Yunnan  
Hi Folks, I've got the once in a decade (once in a decade for me at least) opportunity to travel to Yunnan. Xishuangbanna is on the itinerary, of course, but I don't know where in that region I can go see the tea first hand. This has been a dream of mine, to go see a real tea plantation or tea producing area, well, for over a decade now. I've got only two days, so I've got to make them count. It would probably be good to avoid the kind of places where all of the Chinese tour groups go with their little matching hats. Somewhere quiet would be better. I don't really plan on buying puer (unless somebody here recommends some friend or trusted seller) because I figure that if there's one place to get ripped off buying tea, it's in a tourist/ tea producing area like Banna. Plus, I can buy all the puer I want down the block from my house in NE China. It would just be nice to meet some of the people who grow/pick/produce puer and enjoy a cup or two. This forum really has some impressive figures in the puer tea world, so it is a really wonderful opportunity to ask this question. Even though I leave on June 17, I'm sure that others in this forum, who have an opportunity to travel to Yunnan, would also benefit from any travel suggestions that members have no matter when they post them.
Linda Louiellouie on August 25th, 2010 06:33 am (UTC)
Traveling to the tea mountains requires knowing the local. From Xishuangbanna to the nearby tea mountains takes about 2-3 hours. Because the tea trees are grown in the forest among other forest trees, it's difficult for a lay person to know where the tea garden starts and ends. So you will need a guide. Sometimes it may require a long hike. The local government in Yunnan actually desires to promote tourism in the tea mountains. A friend of mine is in charge of this project. However, it is difficult to strike the right balance because if there are too many tourist, it will eventually destroy the pristine environment, where the tea trees are allowed to thrive for centuries and where the tribal groups have been undisturbed for generations. Another problem is language. Few people in Yunnan speak English, which means you will need a translator. If you are ever in the area and want to visit the tea gardens, contact me and I may be able to put you in contact with my friend.