Bordering Laos, Burma, and Vietnam – Yunnan is home to twenty-six of China’s fifty-six ethnic minorities.
Tropical Xishuangbanna, the southernmost prefecture of both Yunnan and China is lush with rare plants and diverse fauna.
Notably it is also the birthplace of tea – which provides much of the favour to a Bana ride.
The mountains bordering Myanmar (Burma) are home to tea trees more than 1000 years old – the leaves from which would have once been offered as tribute to the emperor, back when Xishuangbana still self-identified as Thai.
Tea was currency, compressed into Pu’er tea bricks and traded along the ancient tea horse route through the Himalaya, all the way to Mongolia, Beijing, and the other imperial capitals of different ages.
For foody tourists this is a beyond-gourmet bike ride. Enjoy fresh or fermented Pu er tea, home staying with the villages who pick and process the leaves. Learn the different ways Pu er is fermented, aged. We stay in a village that makes the beautiful mulberry bar paper that is used to wrap the tea cakes.
Each village is a visual and culinary banquet – from the Thai-like Dai, to the region’s most remote ethnic groups like the Jinuo or the Hani.