Out of Eden

*The Best Quest is in no way involved with this journey/expedition. Photo credits –

Paul Salopek / Out of Eden

The Beifu Tea Porters

Date: November 14, 2022
Approximate GPS Location: (30.58°N, 104.06°W)

Salopek continues to work his way through the Chinese province of Sichuan.

In his latest dispatch, he tells the story of the beifu, legendary tea porters who shouldered eye-watering loads of black tea on their backs. The beifu slogged their loads through mountain passes on tea trails to Tibet until they were replaced by trucks in the 1950s. “Carrying individual loads as heavy as a modern refrigerator,” these men tackled the Himalayas in sandals, or even barefoot!

In the village of Kang Zhi, Salopek met Wang Shikang, the last living beifu in the village. “I can still feel the pain,” Shikang told him.

Salpoek is accompanied by walking partner Li Huipu for this stretch of his journey. Together they are inching across the vast province, heading north and east.


update history

Out of Eden walk

China’s Ancient Roadways

May 08, 2023 // Out of Eden
Out of Eden

A Decade On Foot

January 17, 2023 // Out of Eden



There are no comments on this update yet. Check back soon, or be the first to leave a comment


The Best Quest provides visual experiences of journeys. One by one you see the latest updates from the best expeditions and journeys currently under way around the world.

Sign Up

Sign up for our biweekly journey summary letter!