Download GPX file for this article
26.3208199.85098Full screen dynamic map

From Wikivoyage
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Shaxi (沙溪; Shā​xī​) is in Yunnan Province.

Get in


From Dali and Lijiang

In the past, there were no direct buses to Shaxi from either Lijiang or Dali and travellers were forced to change buses in the county seat of Jianchuan County. Nowadays, however, both cities actually do have direct bus services to Shaxi. In Dali, buses to Shaxi depart from both the Dali Bus Terminal (大理汽车客运站) and the Dali Old Town Bus Terminal (大理古城客运站). In Lijiang, buses depart from the Lijiang Bus Terminal (丽江客运站). The trip to Shaxi from both Dali and Lijiang takes approximately 2 hours.

In addition to the above bus services, there is also a shuttle bus organized by the Landscape Hotel which takes people between their Shaxi and Dali hotels. The buses run at 09:00 and 15:00 from both locations and can be booked by visiting the hotel or asking your accommodation to ring them. Price is ¥80 each way. It's only small minivans, so it is advisable to buy the ticket a day in advance.

From Shangri-la

If coming from Shangri-La, you will need to change buses in Lijiang.

Get around


The main village of Shaxi (Sideng) can be easily toured by walking. It's also possible to visit the many other villages in Shaxi on foot, however, renting a bicycle would be a quicker and better option. Several shops near the main square offer bicycle rental (¥20 for full day hire) and also some of the guesthouses such as the Dragonfly and 58 Yard. Hiking and horseback riding are the main options for a visit into the mountains around Shaxi.


  • Baoxiang Temple (宝相寺) (See Shibao Shan).
  • Shizhong Temple (石钟寺) (See Shibao Shan). If you buy the ticket at Shizhong Temple, it is ¥10.
  • Shibao Shan (石宝山; Stone Treasure Mountain) (12 km north of Shaxi on the road from Jianchuan and 11 km south of the Dali-Jianchuan road). A fantastic nature reserve and religious site that was one of the first to be officially protected by China in 1982. There are numerous temples and grottoes as well as some fantastic views and walks amongst the old forests. Shibaoshan covers a big mountain area with its main points of interest some times distant kilometers away. Arriving there by taxi it is advisable to ask the driver to take you to some of the further temples (he will not need to pay entrance ticket), as Baoxiang Temple. Going up to the temple there are some families of monkeys that some times turn very aggressive to the visitors. Minor injuries have been reported. Shizhong Temple (Stone Bell Temple) has the highest concentration of stone carvings. If you want to walk from Sideng town: get out of town through the main road going North, pass a gas station on your left, and on kilometer mark 113 turn left (West) into a dirt road; walk about 20 minutes and reach the southern edge of the Shibaoshan area (it's another 1-2 hours walk uphill to Shizhong Temple). The entrance fee is ¥50 (students free?).
  • Friday Market (On the main road in Sideng. Just follow all the crowds.). As the last remaining market town on the ancient Tea & Horse Caravan trail, Shaxi still hosts the local market every Friday. The Bai people from all the villages in Shaxi Valley and the Yi people from the surrounding mountains all come together to trade everything from fresh produces to supplies and horses. Minority women will be dressed in their colorful traditional costumes, and men will often lead pack mules to carry supplies back to their mountain villages, much like in the days of the Tea & Horse Caravan Trail hundreds of years ago.
  • 1 [dead link] Pear Orchard Temple (Sheltered Mercy Nunnery 慈荫庵), 084 County Road 县道, Diantou Village 甸头村 (on entering Shaxi Valley, the temple is immediately on the right past the Diantou Village 甸头村 sign), +86 8724722296, . 8am -5pm. The temple complex houses four unique shrines on four levels, together representing a mix of Buddhist, Daoist and Chinese folk religious traditions. Originally known as 'Ci Yin An' (Temple of Hidden Compassion), this breath taking multi-level temple complex is known as the Shaxi Pear Orchard Temple. Commanding spectacular views across the valley from its vantage point at the head of Diantou Village, was actually a functioning nunnery for much of its 1,000-year history. Since its complete restoration in 2014 by an American philanthropist, the temple now houses galleries, an organic restaurant, meditation and yoga practice spaces as well as clssrooms, gift shop and Shaxi Visitor's Centre. Free admission 免费.
  • Bailong Tan (白龙潭; White Dragon Pool) (Up on a hill about 8km south of Sideng village). A pool formed by a clear undeground spring, this small lake is believed to be sacred to the local Bai people. It supplies drinking water to the villages in Shaxi Valley.
  • Heilong Tan (黑龙潭; Black Dragon Pool).
  • Mapingguan Village (马坪关) (15 km southwest from Sideng village). Located between Shaxi Valley and the three major Dianxi salt wells to the west, Mapingguan was an important checkpost during the time of the Tea & Horse Caravan Trail where the government collected tax on the salt trade.
  • 2 Sideng Street,Shaxi (沙溪四方街). All day long (Preferential treatment policy :1. Free admission for those under 1.2 meters (excluding 1.2 meters), half admission for those between 1.2 and 1.4 meters, full admission for those above 1.4 meters; admission for those over 70 years old (excluding 70 years old) with a certificate. Sideng Street is located in Shaxi Town, southern Jianchuan County, Dali Prefecture. It is an important part of the Ancient Tea Horse Road and is called "the surviving market on the Ancient Tea Horse Road" by the World Architectural Heritage Conservation Foundation (WMF). At the end of October 2001, it was listed on the "2002 World Monumental Architectural Heritage Protection List" along with the Great Wall of China, Shaanxi Daqin Pagoda and Monastery, Shanghai O'Hare, and Shechel Synagogue. Sideng Street is located in the center of the sub-center. It is the economic and cultural center of Shaxi. It has been the distribution center for trade in Shaxi from ancient times to the present. Looking from a distance, Sideng Street is shaded by ancient trees, the Wase houses are simple and quiet, and the private houses on Sideng Street The architecture maintains the typical architectural features of Bai folk houses. Three squares and one screen wall and four-in-five patios can be seen everywhere. Ouyang’s three-square-one-zhaobi Damadian and Zhao’s four-in-five patios still seem to show off to people today. The splendor of wealthy families in a prosperous place of economic and trade. Wandering in the lanes of the ancient market and stepping lightly on the stone pavement on Sifang Street, which is polished by horse hooves, will make you feel like you are stepping into history step by step. The smoke from the all-green tiled houses is floating, and the only remaining ancient Dongzhai Gate The appearance remains the same, and the ancient stage with cornices and corners still vaguely interprets the facial makeup of history, telling you the vicissitudes of history.
  • Shaxi Xingjiao Temple.. Daily 08:00-17:00 open. In the main hall of Xingjiao Temple, there are more than 20 large-scale murals by Zhang Bao, an ancient Bai painter in Diantou Village, Shaxi. They are very precious. Among them, "Prince's Garden" and other paintings vividly depict the ancient Nanzhao and Dali palaces. Life has made up for the lack of historical records about the palace life of the ancient Nanzhao and Dali Kingdoms that were very popular in southwest China, and has become one of the important historical evidences for the study of Nanzhao and Dali Kingdoms; Xingjiao Temple preserves Buddhist murals from the Ming Dynasty, with a wide range of themes, numerous characters, vivid shapes, lifelike images, smooth lines, and gorgeous colors. They integrate Buddhist stories and secular life, are full of mythical atmosphere, and have quite a national style. Inheriting the legacy of famous paintings such as "Nanzhao Zhongxing Painting Scroll" and "Zhang Shengwen Painting Scroll", it is a rare imitation of ancient Bai painting art treasures and a valuable material for studying ancient Bai religion and art. The painter once copied it and sent it to Beijing for exhibition, which caused a sensation in the cultural circles of Beijing and attracted attention from all walks of life. ticket sales stop at 17:00; tickets are ¥220.


  • Hiking. 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.
  • Cycling. 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.
  • Kayaking. 2 hr. 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.
  • 1 Horseback riding to Shibaoshan (Shaxi Horse Trekking), 084 County Road, Diantou Village (based at the Pear Orchard Temple in Diantou Village), +86 8724722296, . 09:00-18:00 weather permitting. ¥120 per person round trip.

Holidays and festivals

  • Torch Festival (火把节). 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.
  • Taizihui Holiday (太子会). The biggest religious holiday in Shaxi, it is held every year on the 8th day of the second month on the lunar calendar.


  • Wood carving. It is possible to buy wood carvings in Shaxi, but a better place to buy wood carvings is Jianchuan, not the most glamorous destination but a place that is famous in China for its high quality wood carvings (the carvings on sale in Shaxi all come from Jianchuan, so you pay a markup owing to this). If you hire a driver outside the bus station at Jianchuan for a modest fee, he will take you to some of the dozen or so shops located along one road just outside the city, where you can buy some outstanding pieces. Take a sedative beforehand to avoid sticker shock, most of these carvings are very expensive.
  • Wild mushrooms.


  • 1 [formerly dead link] Dancing Mule Cafe, Duanjiadeng Village (about 3 km north of the old town, take the turn off marked Duan Village), +86 13577851712. The main building has tables for at least twenty people, including three balcony tables overlooking the temple courtyard and the fields beyond. All the dishes are sourced locally in the family fields and signature dishes include fried goat cheese in sugar, sweet and sour aubergines and 'Duan Jia' Bai style Noodles. Traditional music performance for groups is available with prior request. All walk-in bookings must be made in advance - telephone +86 13577851712 (English, French and Chinese spoken). ¥35 per person.
  • 2 [dead link] Pear Blossom Temple Restaurant (沙溪慈荫庵梨花菜馆) (entering Shaxi Valley, the Pear Orchard Temple is immediately on the right after the road sign for Diantou Village; free parking is available next to the temple. The Pear Blossom Restaurant is past the main hall on the 2nd level to the left overlooking the central courtyard), +86 13577258117, . 08:00-18:00. The Pear Blossom organic Shaxi restaurant offers authentic Shaxi local cooking in an active local folk temple. Their specialties include fresh, handmade "Buddha's Hand" pizza from local ingredients, 10 kinds of home-style jiaozi (dumplings), sweet and savory baba (a Shaxi specialty pastry), farm to table organic vegetables and cheese and a great selection of Chinese and imported wines. Reservations required in advance. ¥40/person.
  • Gui Ju Hotel (贵菊饭店). The English sign says "hotel", but it's actually just a restaurant. A good budget option to taste some local dishes and the food is good.
  • Horse Pen 46 Youth Hostel, at the south of the theater stage on the old town square. They serve nice coffee, nice western breakfast, as well as Sichuan & Cantonese-style cuisines.
  • Xi Lu Inn. Located in the inner courtyard of the inn, this is one of the cleaner (and more expensive) eateries in town. They serve a mixture of local and Sichuan-style cuisine.
  • 3 [dead link] Hungry Buddha, Sideng rd (Between Main square and East Gate). 11:30-21:00. Vegan restaurant with 8 seats in front of the kitchen. Pizza and bread are sour dough, seasonal menus offer choices of different degustation menus. Good choice of imported wines; elegant shop with local TCMs, dry mushroom, organic tea cakes and many other selected local products. ¥40-100.
  • 4 Meimei's restaurant (美美饭店), 084县道 (From Sideng Square, walk west along Sideng Street. At the end of the street, turn left. Bear right as the road fork's. Meimei's is on your right.). Serves Yunnan dishes along with Chinese traditional favourite fried dishes (炒菜). Great local food, and far cheaper than the places along Sideng Street (寺登街). No English spoken, but you can just point to what you want in the fridge, and they will do good things with it. Very friendly service.


  • Allen's Cafe, Sideng Square (south of the old theater stage in the town square), +86 13529720775. Eclectic, multinational meeting place, a bar and cafe.
  • Trail Cafe (溪语咖啡) (at the northeastern edge of the town square).
  • Old Tree Cafe (老槐树咖啡) (at the northeastern edge of the town square). Serves coffee, tea, and snacks.


  • 1 Shaxi Old Theatre Inn (沙溪戏台会馆 formerly Dragonfly Guest House), Duanjiadeng Village, Shaxi Yunnan (about 3 km north of the old town, take the turn off marked Duan Village. Cross the River Bridge and the hotel is 200 m directly ahead on a bluff overlooking the valley), +86 13577851712, fax: +86 872 4722 296, . 24/7. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. A beautiful restored boutique heritage hotel, housed within an authentically preserved eighteenth-century temple theatre courtyard complex. Three doubles and two twin rooms are available, each with 24hr hot water showers and private western style toilets. All rooms are soundproofed and winterized, have beautiful en suite bathrooms and private shower, along with electric blankets and clerestory windows for extra winter warmth. Facilities include free WiFi, a lounge with TV and DVDs and dining area, laundry service, bike rentals and local English guiding service. With authentic local cuisine and an extensive international wine list, Shaxi Old Theatre Inn is an excellent out of town alternative for those looking to stay in a rural village setting. The local partner, Mr. Wu speaks English, French and Chinese. ¥575 per night.
  • Tourist Courtyard Hotel, Shaxi Yunnan, +86 872 4722 888, . 24/7. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. 22 rooms each with 24hr hot water showers and private western style toilets. Facilities include free WiFi, shared lounge, free laundry, free wifi and a restaurant. ¥120 per night.
  • 2 Horse Pen 46 Youth Hostel (马圈46国际青年旅舍), No. 46 Sideng Street (Just south of the old theater stage at the town square), +86 872-4722299, +86 15125074011, . A family-style guesthouse with dorm beds and double-rooms available.The hostel is inside an authentic ancient Bai courtyard, it is a cozy guest-house full of characters. English-speaking staff, in-room showers and western-style toilets, 24-hr hot water, free Wi-Fi, and free laundry.They provide free guided hike every Saturday. Owners are experienced and licensed outdoor guides, they provide info about Shaxi area for free. bunk bed ¥20/25, double room ¥50-150.
  • 3 Jinshui Loutai (近水楼台; House near the Water) (east of the town square, next to the Eastern Village Gate).
  • 58 Yard (58号小院), No. 58 Sideng Street (West of the town square). A nice place that has been tastefully decorated and has clean rooms. At this place, you are certainly not "roughing it". Don't let the "free breakfast" be the draw, you could buy the half apple and bun in the market for less than 1 kuài. ¥40 for a bed, ¥150-250 for a room.
  • Keep Watch 6740 (守望 6740) (To the left of the back alley of the town square), +86 872 4722427. The guest house is owned and operated by a Tibetan family, which also runs a well-received hostel in Shangri-La. The entire place including the reception room, a courtyard, and a balcony is well decorated. The place has only private rooms for now, though dorm beds could be added in the future.
  • 4 Laomadian Lodge (老马店) (East of the main crossroads at the town square).
  • Ou Yang Guesthouse (三家巷) (East of the main crossroads before the town square, on the left).
  • Pingchang Renjia (平常人家) (North of the town square, in the North Tibet Alley).
  • Pingsheinn (平舍客栈), South Tibet Alley (close to South gate of ancient town), +86 13608825860. This inn is essentially pure and simple with high quality (
  • Shaxi Cultural Center (沙溪文化中心) (Follow signs from square), +86 8724722188. Rooms in a beautifully restored courtyard compound that support sustainable community development in Shaxi. Hot water in rooms, library and Internet.
  • Square Street Inn (At the main crossroads).
  • Tea and Horse Caravan Trail Inn (古道客栈), North of the town square, 83# in the North Tibet Alley, +86 8724721051, +86 15308724988. The oldest inn in Shaxi. Warm and sunny traditional yard, full of tree and flowers, provide local food. 10 new rooms with showers and western styly toilets in rooms, free Wi-Fi and washer.
  • Xi Lu Inn, No. 33 Sideng Street (South of the main crossroads at the corner). Very nice rooms in lovely traditional coutyard home with two double beds, electric blankets, television and water heater. Friendly service but probably one of the more expensive options in the town.
  • Yezi's Guesthouse (叶子的家) (south of the town square, in a side alley of the South Tibet Alley).



Go next


Catch the mini-bus (45 min, ¥10) to Jianchuan from outside the Shaxi bus station. There are daily buses to many other cities in Yunnan from the Jianchuan bus station. Price and schedule subject to change so better confirm with the Jianchuan bus station when you first arrive in Jianchuan.

Jianchuan and the roads that lead to Lijiang and Dali are quite congested due to large scale road construction of the new Kunming Shangri-La Highway. On the road to Dali, be prepared for long traffic jams and white knuckle encounters with heavy lorries. To go straight to Old Town Dali without getting stuck at the bus station, ask the driver to drop you off at the East Gate, as the bus will pass right near it. Ask your hostel to write this down in Chinese for you. You will save both time and money.

If heading to Dali an interesting alternative with much better scenery is the X804 road down through Qiao Hou, Lian Tie and into Yangbi. Mini Buses leave Jianchuan at 07:30 and 13:20 everyday, arriving to pick up outside the stationary store in Shaxi Village about one hour later. The fare down to Yangbi is ¥25 and the trip takes about four hours. From Yangbi Station, there are regular buses to Xiaguan (Dali New Town), Xiaohuayuan Qiqezhan every few minutes. The journey takes the old road and is about 40 minutes costing ¥10.

Destination Price (¥) Departures Duration Last Update
Dali 35.00 Every 15 min from 06:30 to 18:00. 3.5 hr approx. May 2011
Lijiang 21.00 4 buses every day: 08:30, 10:30, 14:30, 16:30 2.5 hr approx. May 2011
Kunming 130.00, 157.00 09:30, 18:00 8 hr approx. May 2011
Zhongdian (Shangri-La) 51.00 08:30, 09:30 4 hr approx. May 2011
This city travel guide to Shaxi is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.