Riding along the Tea & Horse Caravan in Yunnan

Trip 1: Dali Caicun - Shaxi (center of Yunnan) 大理洱海西才村 - 沙溪,云南中部

Shaxi was one of the important stops along the ancient tea road, aka Tea and Horse Caravan Road/chamagudao of Southwest China.


travel in Yunnan, China - explore the ancient tea and horse road

By Depth of Field Guesthouse Dali 恬野文化摄影家庭客栈




end of June, monsoon season, but relatively dry this year


transportation: Yamaha 110cc gas motorbike 雅马哈轻摩/换挡半自动燃油摩托车

must bring: things to protect you from sunburnt, sunglasses, sun cream, long sleeves, scarf, thin gloves could be useful if riding motorbike 必带:防晒用品


Day 1, Dali to Eryuan 大理才村到洱源茈碧湖

leave from Dali Depth of Field Guesthouse by middle west side of Erhai lake, can ride on Dali Road 大丽路 or Erhai West ring roade 环海西路, fields and mountain views all along.

we left Dali at 6:30 p.m., good way to avoid the heat, the sky was light till 8:30, so the last hour we were riding in the dark, across mountain roads with graveyards, to a village Liyuancun 梨园村 on the north tip of Zibi Lake 茈碧湖,just in time to find a roof before the rain came.

The lake is not as big or pretty as Erhai lake, but better place for swimming or fishing. If I passed here again, I'd remember to take a photo of the graveyard outgrown with cactus.

Shaxi, along the Ancient Tea Road   沙溪, 茶马古道上的驿站wild Yunnan 云南野外


Day 2 Eryuan to Shaxi, over mountains 从洱源到沙溪,走山路,从牛街上山直接翻到山的另一边,农夫说是捷径,很快的他说,三四小时,三四小时说的不是步行,说的就是我们的车子

Rode along the countryside road next to the highway, turned up to a mountain from Niujie/Xipo 牛街/西坡, it was under construction at the entrance, a worker told me that’s the right way, a short cut, he said, about 3-4 hours you can get there. I thought he meant by walk, Shaxi is just on the other side of the mountain, then I realized, he did mean 3-4 hours by motorbike… 

note: get water supply before you leave the village of Niujie/Xipo, as you won’t get to see any houses or anyone pretty much the whole time in the mountain…


straight uphill for two hours, then we started seeing the path going down

徒步沙溪 Yunnan travels, Shaxitraveling in Yunnan, local tour guides, walking meditation


then more signs of civilization, cows, fields, houses

explore west China, Yunnan 探索中国西南部,云南traveling in Dali, Yunnan



The Shepherd 孤独的牧羊人

shepherds - Shaxi, yunnan, southwest of China 茶马古道上的牧羊人 shepherds - Shaxi, yunnan, southwest of China 茶马古道上的牧羊人



Lady in the market, it's spring festival (Chinese New Year), everyone was in a high spirit.

Man walking his cow by the market.

local markets in Yunnan, Shaxi 沙溪赶集 explore ethnic local markets in Yunnan

Spring on the bridge 村外的小桥,夏天的时候长满青草;

Bathing the horse 白马在村外河里洗澡;

Outside every village, often by a mountain, you often will see a shrine 村子外面一般有个神社,通常是依山而立,祈求风调雨顺.


bridges - shaxi, Yunnan 小桥流水人家 bathing horse 洗澡的马   

Cows and horses in their winter homeland 枯草原上的奶牛;

Lady coming back from the filed 田里归来的妇女;

Drying sheets of milk skin 晒乳扇;

In every village, by the field, there often is a relatively taller white house, still don't know what it's for 村口总会有一座稍高的白房子,用处不明;



The respected men 巩固两基成果;

Local restaurant 镇上的白族餐厅;

China Mobile advertising 中国移动;

Birth control propaganda 计划生育;


 Along the tea road 茶马古道;

Doors to the past 古建筑;


 Light tower and the homeland 灯塔,田园,家园.




Dali, the lost kingdom 大理迁徙记

Depth of Field Guesthouse Dali 恬野文化摄影家庭客栈 


© 2010-2018 Keiko Wong - journey of life, travel photography, portraits, literature 中英文现代文学译者,摄影师