Springtime in Eastern China: Exploring the Birthplace of Tea - March 28, 2020 - Atlas Obscura Trips
Photo Credit: Noah Schneider
Photo Credit: Noah Schneider
Photo Credit: Noah Schneider
Photo Credit: Noah Schneider

Springtime in Eastern China: Exploring the Birthplace of Tea

from $4,825 USD per person for
See Dates and Prices
  • Max Group Size: 12
  • Moderate
  • Overland Adventure

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.

  • Lessons from tea masters
  • Conversations with merchants, monks, and connoisseurs
  • The Qinming Festival with a local family
  • Local history, art, and philosophy


Itineraries and daily schedules are subject to change. We expect to do everything listed in the itinerary, though the order may be rearranged based on weather or other local conditions.

Trip Leader

Xiaokun ("Kun") Song
Born and raised in China, Kun eventually traveled to Europe where she received a Masters in Art History and a doctorate in Chinese Studies. Education abroad opened her eyes to the misconceptions and barriers to understanding that many outsiders face when exploring her home country. Shortly after returning home, she founded Sourcians to open China up to the curious and adventure-hungry. Using her deep knowledge and extensive connections, Kun provides meaningful experiences that inspire and awe. Her fascination for cultures has led her to use travel as a means to explore them all—from food and art to places and communities, Kun’s trips are all designed with people and learning in mind.

Additional Info

Activity Level

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.

Arrival & Departure

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.

Dates and Prices

Mar 28–Apr 07, 2020
Shared Room, Regular Trip
$4,825 USD per person
Single Room, Regular Trip
$5,395 USD per person
Shared Room with Kunming Extension
$6,550 USD per person
Single Room with Kunming Extension
$7,380 USD per person
The total cost of this trip is $4,825, and an additional $1,725 if joining for the Kunming extension. A $500 deposit is required to hold your space. The deposit is non-refundable after three days. The final payment of $4,325 will be due by December 20, 2019. All reservations will be final after this date and subject to our cancellation policy. By submitting your deposit, you agree to the trip’s Terms & Conditions. For travelers wishing to have single accommodations during the trip, an additional $570 (or $830 if taking the extension) will be due at the time of the final payment.
  • Ten nights of accommodation in modern, well-equipped hotels.
  • Meals as listed in the itinerary.
  • The company of an experienced, multilingual guide throughout the trip.
  • Transport throughout the trip, in comfortable minibuses and bullet trains.
  • Admission to all proposed activities and experiences.
  • Transportation and flights, including airport transfers; note that the trip begins in Hangzhou and ends in Shanghai (or Kunming for those taking the extension).
  • Travel insurance (recommended).
  • Additional meals and drinks outside of Atlas Obscura offerings.
  • If applicable, applying for a Chinese visa. (We recommend applying through the service Visa HQ.)

Additional Dates