LIJIANG and BENZILAN: Discover ancient Naxi lifestyles and encounter epoch-old Tibetan traditions as customers experience a soul-stirring adventure through tiny mountain villages that few westerners see.
Two LUX* TEA HORSE ROAD boutique hotels are dotted along these ancient trails where the horse caravans once carried precious Pu'er tea along this historic route from the far south of Yunnan to Lhasa in Tibet.
More Immersive Than Sightseeing
A LUX* TEA HORSE ROAD journey lets you encounter the cultural and spiritual identities of Sichuan, Tibet and Yunnan - a province with one of China's most ethnically diverse populations, and home to the Tea Horse Road's greatest storytellers. In the heart of Lijiang's ancient town, a Unesco World Heritage site, is LUX* Lijiang; LUX* Benzilan is an elegant mountain retreat at the gateway to Meili Snow Mountain National Park.
"This stunning and daunting route, so vital to so many of the remote Himalayan peoples, somehow remained a virtual mystery to the west for almost 13 centuries - it is now hopefully getting its credit and some of the acclaim it deserves, as one of the globes's most daunting and incredible journeys."
- Jeff Fuchs, explorer and the first westerner to travel the length of China's Ancient Tea Horse Road, across the Himalayas from Yunnan into Tibet.
Extraordinary Beauty, Nature Untouched
Today, the trail remains a place of awe-inspiring natural beauty where its legacy of nomadic tribes and intrepid travellers lives on in the landscape. LUX* invites you to stay at these two hotels to experience an expedition of a lifetime. Discover a magical world where compelling paths take customers through a region which is home to a staggering diversity of ethnic groups. Many of the inhabitants in this remote corner of China are still united by their dependence on the lifeblood of this remote region - tea and horses. Whether customers are seeking adventure, enlightenment or tranquility, they are invited to experience the spirit of a truly extraordinary corner of the world with LUX*.
Authentic Culture, Hikes Through History
Memorable adventures are about more than destinations: reflecting the timeless spirit of the locale and its people, each hotel offers a simpler, fresher take on experiential luxury travel. Travelling from the south to north, the Tea Horse Road showcases unrivalled sights. From lush tropical forests and tea plantations in the south to the snow- capped peaks of the Meili Snow Mountains in the north, these journeys reveal a world rich in rare flora and fauna, with diverse tribal groups intrinsically linked to the history and traditions of the Tea Horse Road. Engage with a history of romance and adventure in one of the best preserved ancient towns in China to the heart of the Three Parallel Rivers area, the most biodiverse temperate zone on Earth.
Not to be missed
-Sipping rare Pu'er teas. Experience the ritual of authentic tea ceremonies with Madame He (pronounced 'her') in one of Lijiang oldest tea houses. Unique among China's six tea types, Pu'er was the reason the 13-century- old Tea Horse Road evolved. After watching the precious, pungent leaves being pressed into cakes by someone standing and rocking on specially shaped stones (guests can also try this balancing act), you are guided through a tasting session to learn the secrets of revered Pu'er terroir and connoisseurship. Since the oldest cakes of this aged tea command the highest prices in the world, this is a privileged and exclusive audience with Madame He and her tea masters.
-Tasting Yunnan's diverse cuisine. The region's culinary traditions reflect a rich tapestry of cultures through hearty seasonal flavours. In Lijiang, Naxi dishes are influenced by neighbouring ethnic groups like the Yi, Hui, Bai and Dai. Known for their spicy, sweet and sour seasoning, and dizzying array of dishes, the mushroom is among its most celebrated ingredients since so many special funghi are found here, which means delicacies such as matsutake-rich hotpots.
Customers will love
-Learning the ancient calligraphic art of Dongba. Understand the world's last living pictographic language as you go behind the scenes at the Naxi Culture Institute in Baisha Village; meet one of the few remaining Dongba shamans, and find out how to create your own pictograms.
-Chanting with the lamas at Dongzhulin Lamasery. Hear the monks singing their morning prayers in the prayer hall, then join them as they head towards the sacred peak of Kawagebo, the highest in the Meili Snow Mountains. This entire village is a religious community and you are invited on a guided tour of the temple, including the upper floors with Buddhist images and sand mandalas.
-Meeting Luo Sang, Nixi pottery master. Unique to Shangri-la, learn how to craft a black-pottery Tibetan tea bowl with your own hands.
-Refuelling on yak butter tea. Sipping a comforting bowl of yak butter tea, or po cha, is a centuries-old cultural tradition in Tibet.
We have crafted different itineraries along the Tea Horse Road so you can let your senses guide you through the beauty of this magical place through personalised once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
"We are thrilled to provide the chance to experience one of the world's greatest journeys, starting at the heart of the ancient town of Lijiang, then to another distinctive stay further along the LUX* Tea Horse Road." - Eisa Chu, General Manager, LUX* Tea Horse Road.
Booking the LUX* TEA HORSE ROAD Experience
The various LUX* Tea Horse Road experience itineraries and packages can be viewed online on luxresorts.com and booked directly on the special offer page of LUX* Resorts & Hotels. The LUX* Tea Horse Road Combo offer, which includes the discovery of both Lijiang and Benzilan, starts as from CNY4,800 - for a 4 nights stay on Bed&Breakfast, exclusive of transfers.
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