Shaxi Old Town

Located in the southeastern part of the Three Parallel Rivers in Yunnan Protected Areas, the Shaxi Old Town has (aka Shaxi Ancient Village) a long history that can be traced back to the the Spring and Autumn and the Warring States Periods (770BC -221BC).

The Square in Shaxi Old Town

Shaxi has agreeable climate, beautiful natural scenery and rich natural resources, which make it a place where the temperature is never too high or too low, and the water is greenish-blue and bluish-green. Shaxi Old Town, as one of the world's 100 most endangered sites listed by the World Monuments Fund is a place where you can breathe in fresh air around-the-clock.

Stone Treasure Mountain and the Friday Market are the two most popular tourist attractions in Shaxi Town.

Stone Treasure Mountain, a fantastic nature reserve and religious site that was designated as one of the first officially protected sites by China in 1982. There are numerous temples and grottoes as well as some fantastic views there.

Temple in Shaxi Village

Shaxi Town was built on the remains of an ancient market town and was once an active trade stop on the Southern Silk Road that connected southwest China's hinterland with Southeast Asia and on to Europe, which is actually older than the more famous Silk Road (in the North), predating it by at least 300 years. The Bai ethnic people from all the villages in Shaxi Valley and the Yi people from the surrounding mountains come here to trade everything from fresh produce to supplies and horses.

In the market day, you can see Minority women dress in colorful traditional costumes, and men will often lead pack mules to carry supplies back to their mountain villages, which much like in the days of the Tea Horse Road hundreds of years ago.

Things to do in Shaxi


There are a lot of hiking trails in the mountains both to the east and to the west of Shaxi Valley. The trails are what the local villagers use to go between villages, or to collect firewood, wild herbs, and mushrooms. There are no markers, the trails are easy to follow, but a good sense of direction is needed to not get lost.The 46 Horse Pen Hostel hosts weekly guided hikes around the mountains every Saturday. If you're lucky, they'll bring along their two giant dogs to make the hike more fun.

bikes for rent in shaxi town dali


The Shaxi Valley and its numerous villages is a great place to explore on a bicycle. A day spent riding on the small single-track trail between green farm fields can yield many surprises and hidden gems.  edit


It's possible to kayak down the shallow and slow moving water of the Heihui River to see Shaxi Valley from a different angle. Starting from the northern edge of Shaxi Valley and Shibaoshan and ends in Sideng village, the water is mostly flatwater, with a couple small dams that can be navigated.Professional guiding is required. 

local market in shaxi dali












Holidays and Festivals in Shaxi

Torch Festival

A major festival for the Bai and the Yi minorities around Shaxi, it is held every year on the 25th day (24th for the Yi people) of the 8th month on the lunar calendar. The local villagers will light torches and big barn fires everywhere, and dance and sing around the fires. The Gregorian calendar dates for Taizihui Holiday from year 2013 to 2015 are: September 29 (2013), September 18 (2014), October 7 (2015).

Taizihui Holiday

The biggest religious holiday in Shaxi, it is held every year on the 8th day of the second month on the lunar calendar. The Gregorian calendar dates for Taizihui Holiday from year 2013 to 2015 are: March 19 (2013), March 8 (2014), and March 27 (2015). 

river and bridges in shaxi town dali china











How to Get Shaxi Old Town

The best way to get in Shaxi Old Town is by bus from Dali Ancient City or Lijiang Ancient City to Jianchuan County. In Jianchuan you can hire a taxi to the town.

Classical tour package to Shaxi

10-day China Tea Horse Road Tour

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