The Ancient Tea Horse Road is a series of trading routes crisscrossing Southwest China. This tour explores the southern section of the Tea Road, namely, the prefectures of Puer and Xishuangbanna in Yunnan Province (straddling both sides of the Mekong as it exits China into Laos). This is the zone of tea production where most of the tea was grown. The tea was harvested, processed, steam compressed into ‘cakes’ and transported by horse and mule caravan on long-distance journeys over countless rivers and mountains to places as far away as Lhasa and beyond. The tea is still grown arboreally as trees in large groves. Many are several hundred years old and not a few have been dated to over 800 or even 1000 years. The local trees are used to make a distinctive kind of tea called ‘puer tea’. The tea groves are tended by a diverse array of ethnic peoples, some of whom are probably among the first peoples to ever harvest, cultivate and enjoy tea as a beverage. As an item that binds a diverse array of different people into a shared culture tea is thus an integral and rich part of the social life and history, and indeed future, of Yunnan.