Ancient Tea Horse Road
Songtsam Hotels, Resorts and Tours, based in Tibet, launched a “Young Scholar Program” to support field research projects in remote villages along the Ancient Southwest Silk Road, also known as the Ancient Tea Horse Road in Northwestern Yunnan. The concept of a “Young Scholar Program” was a result of a recent “Tea Horse Road Investigation and Academic Seminar,” which Songtsam co-sponsored together with Discovery Tours.
Songtsam's focus has always been on exploring, presenting, and protecting the authentic local culture and revitalizing the villages. Their tours, with the hotel properties located along this road, are a unique travel experience that enables their guests to fully immerse themselves in the cultural traditions of these remote villages along this ancient trading route.
Most Songtsam employees (92%) are from local villages and are trained to be travel guides and hotel service staff, making them the most authentic and direct representatives of the local culture. Songtsam hopes that through training and sharing the knowledge provided by experts and scholars, the local employees will experience personal growth and be better equipped on how to best convey an understanding of their culture to the guests. Songtsam will continue inviting local villagers who have lived in the village for generations to share their life story and use it as an important element of the tours. In this way guests will be able to establish a more personal and direct connection with the locals of Tibet and Yunnan.
About the Ancient Southwest Silk Road
The Ancient Southwest Silk Road (also known as the Ancient Tea Horse Road) was a trade route mainly through Yunnan, Sichuan, and Tibet. From the 6th century to the 20th century, people in Sichuan and Yunnan provinces traveled by foot and horseback with pack horses to exchange tea for horses with people in Tibet – and thus the pathway was called the Tea Horse Road. The Ancient Tea Horse Road rivaled the Silk Road trade routes for importance. It was the longest ancient trade road in the world, more than 10,000 kilometers (approx. 6,213 miles) in length, and certainly the toughest to travel.
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Rice field in front of Songtsam Lodge Tacheng, Yunnan, China