Day Trip from Lijiang to the ancient village of Shaxi

Travel to Shaxi and step back in time along the Tea and Horse Road

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Fascinating day trip from Lijiang Old Town to Shaxi village in Yunnan Province, an idyllic ancient village that used to be a wealthy and prosperous stop for horse caravans travelling the Tea and Horse Road, an ancient trail network in Yunnan Province for trade between the tea growing areas in Xishuangbanna in the southern Yunnan Province and Tibet. A visit to Shaxi is like taking a step back in time and a hint of the former prosperity can still be felt there today. 

Tour Information

Travel Information for Shaxi on the ancient Tea and Horse Road

The Tea and Horse Road was an extensive network of routes connecting the important tea-growing regions in Yunnan and Sichuan in western China with the Tibetan highlands. Tea, salt and other goods were once transported along these important trade routes to Tibet and, in the opposite direction, Tibetan horses were brought to China. Hence the name Tea and Horse Road.

Travel to Shaxi, Yunnan Province, Soutwest China

This extensive trade meant that in the towns along the route there was always plenty of hustle and bustle, markets invited visitors to spend their money and to exchange news.

Even today, the aura of those times can still be felt in the villages and high valleys nestled against the mountainsides. Looking closer, in Zhongdian, Lijiang and Shaxi you can still find the old caravanserais, where caravan drivers once indulged their horses in a well-earned rest after the long and sometimes dangerous section of road behind them.

The travel time from Lijiang to Shaxi is about 2 hours.

Travel to Shaxi, once a prosperous town along the Tea and Horse Road

The town of Shaxi was once an important and prosperous trading station on the "Tea and Horse Road", a spur of the southern Silk Road. On the "Tea and Horse Road", it was primarily tea from Xishuangbanna which was transported to Tibet and, in the opposite direction, salt and horses (hence the name: Tea and Horse Road). Shaxi (formerly Sideng) lost its significance as a stopover for the tea caravans when the water level in Erhai Lake dropped, enabling a quicker and safer passage to the east of the Cang mountains.

Natural beauty near Shaxi village, Yunnan, China

The village of Shaxi (Sideng) fell into oblivion and was only recently lovingly renovated with the support of the Swiss government.

Very close to Shaxi is Shibao Mountain where you can spend time marveling at the beautiful 10th century Buddhist stonework. Shibaoshan can be reached either on foot (approx. 2.5 hours' walk from Shaxi) or you can take the car up there.

During a Yunnan trip you can easlily spend 2 – 3 days in Shaxi, allowing time for relaxation and a well-earned rest. There is plenty of accommodation available in Shaxi.

There are many beautiful, tastefully decorated boutique guesthouses very close to the village square. Prices for accommodation in Shaxi are moderate.

 

Tour Map

"...a nice side trip from Lijiang. What a nice change to bustling Lijiang..."

   Sandra from Basel/Switzerland


"...everything worked out to perfection. Despite out last minute booking we were picked up at the hotel very punctual..."

   Mauro from Italy

Tour Itinerary

DAY TRIP FROM LIJIANG TO SHAXI VILLAGE

Pick up at your hotel in Lijiang by your guide. By private car you travel through magnificent landscape towards Shaxi. The picturesque Shaxi village is located in an idyllic valley about 120km south-west of Lijiang old town.

A step back in time: Shaxi village, once an important stop along the Tea and Horse Road

Shaxi was formerly a rich and important trading post for tea caravans on the legendary Tea and Horse Road from Yunnan to Tibet. On the "Tea and Horse Road", it was mainly tea from the tea growing areas in southern Yunnan which was transported to Tibet and, in the opposite direction, salt and horses.

During the 1990s Shaxi village has been renovated under the guidance and funding of the Swiss Government. Along the way to Shaxi you make a small detour to Shibao Mountain with the Shizhong Temple.

The magnificent Buddhist rock carvings of Shibaoshan were created in the 10th century and are testimony of the spread of Mahayana Buddhism in the region. After that you make a scenic and easy hike (1.5 hrs.) along the ancient Tea and Horse Road back down into the valley, from where your driver will take you to Shaxi. Walking tour around the picturesque village.

Late afternoon drive back to Lijiang.

 

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