Friday, April 15, 2011

Liu Sanjie Tea Plantation

Last fall I visited the Liu Sanjie Tea Plantation. It is located in the suburbs of Guilin. Although beautiful, it is little more than a tourist trap aimed at selling tea. The "plantation" is named after Liu Sanjie (Third Sister Liu), a famous legend about a Zhuang Minority girl who lived in Guilin and whose voice was incredibly beautiful. There are movies, TV shows, and performances about it. It is a common name for places in and around Guilin. The plantation is a typical tea site found on most China Tour itineraries. They produce very little tea, and it is mostly for show. The tea they sell was not produced here and it is poor quality tea that is overpriced. Why then am I making a post about it. Well, for two reasons. First, I want to show people the types of fake tea plantations that are out there, and second, it was pretty and I got some nice photos

which I wish to share. I visited the site as a tourist. They had no idea I knew tea and that I worked for a tourism company. I wanted to get an honest feel for the place, as a normal customer would.

When I got off the bus, a guide met me and she started by explaining the tea plantation. We then headed up the hill to look at the tea trees.

They centered around a hill which had a pavilion on top which housed a wok for frying tea. They used it for presentation. She didn't fry any leaves when I was there, because it was not tea season. She then wanted to take me to the shop, but I refused because I

wanted to get some photos. The site is very small. It could be visited in half an hour, but I took much longer because I wanted photos. After I did go to their shop where they showed me the machines they use to make Gaoshan Wulong Tea. Gaoshan Wulong is produced in Taiwan, so the teas they make and sell are fakes. I did drink some tea before leaving. It was very poor quality. Even though I dislike these tourist traps, it was a lovely way to spend an afternoon.

For more photos, check out my Flicker Photo Album:

And here is Liu Sanjie herself!

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