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Yongping Culture

Southern Silk Road


The Southern Silk Road is a ancient network of footpaths crossing Yunnan from East to West that provided trade links between China and the West. The part that passes the Bonan mountains is known as the Bonan trail (博南古道, Bo Nan Gu Dao).Also of a later date and less used then the Northern Silk Road it still provided a link between the cultures of China and Burma and the Indian subcontinent. Marco Polo took this route through Yunnan on his way back from visiting the Burmese king in Bagan.


Start and finish of the trail


Like any road or trail going east west in Yunnan crosses serious rivers and high mountain chains.The trails lead across these mountain ranges to the places where the big rivers could be crossed.The Bonan trail started in Yangbi at the Yunlong Bridge and ends in the Walled town of Tengchong across the Gaoligongshan mountains and crosses the Lancangjiang (Mekong) river at the Jihong Bridge (Build in 1681 as a metal chain bridge, before there was a rattan bridge at the same location) and the Nujiang (Salween) river at the double Shuanghong Bridge (Build in 1759) or later the Huiren Bridge (Build in 1839). On its way the trails cross several smaller rivers and streams.


Original trail

Historic documents tell the story of temples in combination with the Silk Road trail. These temples were regarded to be safe stopovers and travellers often stayed there overnight. One of the mentioned places is the Jiang Ding Si temple.

Most of these trails were just dirt roads but some stretches got paved such as the trail in front of the Jiang Ding temple. The thousands of pack horses and mules have worn out the trail with their iron clad hoofs and their marks still can be seen in the paving stones of the trail.

Recently it got quite busy again along the trail near the Jiang Ding Si temple. New access roads and a whole new suspension bridge were build to aid the work on a huge railway bridge for the new Dali/Baoshan high-speed railway.


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