According to an ancient Chinese legend, the divine farmer, Shennong, first discovered tea when an errant leaf fluttered into his open mouth. While foraging for edible plants and herbs, he had accidentally poisoned himself along the way, and the serendipitous tea leaf brought him back to good health. The myth speaks to the delicate leaf’s enormous power in Chinese culture and history. Since its cultivation 6,000 years ago, tea has transformed empires, religions, cultures, and morning routines—in China and across the globe. On this 11-day journey, we’ll explore the cultivation, production, and preparation of Chinese tea while learning about the rich history in which it’s steeped. We’ll stop to visit tea houses and temples, learn from monks and tea masters, explore buzzing cityscapes and tranquil lakes, and spend time with local friends and families. Though tea is our focal point, we’ll be exploring much more than the drink itself. From plantations to porcelain manufacturers, we’ll learn about the cultures and communities that go into making Chinese tea such an exquisite beverage—and, in many ways, a global force.
This tour is fairly active; travelers should be reasonably fit and feel comfortable walking three to five miles each day, and remaining on their feet for long periods of time. Several parts of the tour involve some longer walks, including up and down stairs and on uneven ground.
When planning your travel, we recommend that you arrive in Hangzhou by 4 p.m. on March 28 and depart from Shanghai after 6 p.m. on April 7, or if joining for the extension, from Kunming anytime on April 11. If you'd like assistance booking flights, let us know and we'll connect you to our flight specialists.