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Pu'er, Yunnan - Tea center of China


On the way to TongguanPu'er is the tea center of China so it's not surprising many have heard of the town. That said, few people visit the town.

The town is nothing much to look forward for, it's just another town along the road.

Going south leads to Simao and Jinghong. There are two roads going north. The first leads directly to Kunming while another road leads to Lancang and Baoshan.

For cyclists it is good to know that the expressway takes most of the traffic in between Kunming and Jing Hong. This means the old National Road is a lot more quiet although at parts in deplorable state.

However, after Pu'er the old National Road and the Expressway come together as a 4 lane road.

Tongguan to Pu'er

Tea in Pu'erI left Tongguan at an altitude of 1525 meter expecting to decent a bit before going straight up. Right after leaving Tongguan I was left alone in a descending that took a nice 21 km.

I was down to a level of 845 meter at a split of two rivers. According to my Chinese map (the Nelles didn't give me this info) I had to follow the river now for some kilometers.

I cycled mostly on a flat road while on the other side of the river the expressway was laid out.

After about 7 km the road turned south as did the river and the expressway. Together we went further south. I started to climb slowly now.

It wasn't hard and there was hardly any traffic apart of the villages (one I remembered from some years ago when I stayed there.

The descending from Tongguan had been easy, this climb was easy too.

Spectacular views on the tea plantations near Pu'erIt went up slowly. I still followed the river in a fertile valley with here and there a village. At 50 km I left the expressway (I didn't cycle on the expressway, just followed it).

I arrived in a wide open valley with many little villages. The road condition had been excellent so far.

That was about to change. And it changed at the moment the road now started to climb more significantly.

But I was still in the valley. At the end of the valley the road, now in poor condition, started to zigzag up. From the lowest point at 845 meter I had already climbed up to 1100 meter, almost unnoticed.

I was about to leave the valley while the road became seriously damaged. It became a lot more difficult to cycle now.

On the way to Jing Hong, XishuangbanaThe agriculture grounds were now behind me and I was in the forests. It was beautiful, all green and trees, as a last part of the old wild forests that must have exists here for centuries. Steep hills with forest and my road went further up. I had no idea how high I would go.

At a certain stage I thought I was up, at 1470 meter. I went down a bit but then the climbing started again until I reach 1700 meter. At this level I stayed for quite a few kilometers. It went up and down. Only the sound of the trees and an occasional motorbike disturbed the peace of the forest.

Every once in awhile a truck passed but that was about to change. The closer I came to Pu'er, the more trucks I saw. And I saw also why: a stone groove, not a pleasant thing to cycle to.

The groove created a lot of dust in the air and the truck demolished the road even more then it already was. But Pu'er was near and so was the end of the bad road. The last few kilometers where quick on a new laid road into the town of Pu'er.

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Yunnan Xishuangbanna

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