Exploring China’s Ancient Tea Horse Road The LUX* Resorts Way Curated Experiences Take Centre Stage at LUX* Tea Horse Road Benzilan
One of a growing number of LUX* Resorts properties along the historic Tea Horse Road in China’s Yunnan Province, LUX* Tea Horse Road Benzilan promises authentic experiences that get to the heart of what makes this region of southwestern China truly unique. This luxury boutique hotel located in the mountain town of Shangrila is the perfect base for exploring the many glaciers nearby or venturing off the beaten path to hidden mountain trails. LUX* Tea Horse Road Benzilan’s ‘curated experiences’ are the perfect way to discover the surrounding areas. These are guided excursions tailor-made for the adventurous and culturally curious. Whether it is a temple tour and tea talk with a monk or a sumptuous picnic alongside a stunningly beautiful mountain lake, these bespoke experiences promise to create enduring memories.
Niding is one of several charming Tibetan villages in the area surrounding LUX* Tea Horse Road Benzilan, and it’s the perfect destination for a half-day outing. With the help of a local guide, guests can go on a hike through some of the most beautiful natural scenery in Western China. The hike passes through pristine Tibetan forests and along cool, clear snowmelt fed creeks.
Guests will learn about the wide variety of flora and fauna that they will encounter along the trail. Once in Niding, a delicious lunch spread of local produce are prepared by the team in an authentic wooden hut. and getting to know the local villagers. They will share their unique way of life with all of its rich traditions and customs. Traditional attire is also available for guests to try on for unique photo opportunities. Guests may even hear a few fascinating stories about the days when the tea caravans passed through, carrying tea and other goods along this once vital trade route.
Napa Lake is another stunning example of the dynamic and breathtaking scenery of Shangri-La. In the summer months, the snow from the surrounding mountains melts and fills the basin, forming a vast lake. In September, the area becomes a haven for migratory birds, such as bar-headed geese, several species of wild ducks, and the black-necked crane, which is one of the 12 rarest bird species in the world. In the dry season, Napa Lake becomes a sprawling meadow known as the Yila Prairie and is an ideal grazing spot for yaks, sheep, and horses.
Regardless of the season, it’s a gorgeous backdrop for a picnic, and LUX* can take care of all the essentials, packing a delicious meal and providing comfortable transport to the lake. All guests have to do is enjoy the fresh air, the amazing wildlife and the picturesque scenery. Guests can explore the ruins of Gunyin Temple, believed to have been built during the Yuan Dynasty. The area is also home to several small Tibetan villages.
Buddhism is an enduring institution along the Tea Horse Road. Its cultural influence runs far and wide in the region and is manifested in the customs, artwork and architecture. LUX* Tea Horse Road Benzilan is situated near one of its most spectacular temples, Songtsam Monastery. It is the largest temple in Yunnan Province and is often referred to as the “Little Potala Palace” in reference to the famed monastery in Lhasa, Tibet.
LUX* offers a unique way to experience Songtsam Monastery, driving guests directly to the site, circumventing the long stair climb (the monastery is perched at a high elevation of 3200m) and the queues. Once there, guests will get to learn about the temple’s colorful history and marvel at its striking architectural flourishes on a private guided tour. After that, they will have an opportunity to chat with a resident monk over a piping hot cup of yak butter tea and learn about the true nature of existence.
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