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Falling In Love With Shaxi, China

Canola Bridge River Shaxi China

Canola fields creating wonderful contrasts with the mountains and stone bridge of Shaxi.

First impressions mean a lot, and the one Shaxi left on us was truly special. From the moment we stepped out of the minivan in the time-locked town, we felt at home.

We’ve never really been into busy places, and as beautiful as Dali was, we were anxious to move onto somewhere quieter.

Shaxi (pronounced “Sha-Shi”) was an important village on the ancient Tea Horse Road, a similar route to the historic Silk Road, and is the only living relic of the old trail still maintaining its authentic markets.

Open drains and canals flow parallel to the stone streets, with ageing timber and mud-brick houses glittered throughout the town.

Streets Shaxi China
Gorgeous alleyways flowing through the village.

Walking to the outskirts of Shaxi offers pristine views of the Heihui River, with rolling peaks creating the stunning backdrop.

At the right time of year canola fields blossom, breaking up the green landscapes with vast seas of golden flowers.

A romantic boulder bridge connects Shaxi to the working pastures over the river; a quintessential photo opportunity if there ever was one.

For those feeling active, the surrounding mountains hold sensational hiking opportunities. If you prefer to explore the scenery on two wheels, cycling around Shaxi offers countless trails to be enjoyed.

Horses are available to rent if you love the idea of galloping through the pastures in the saddle of a gorgeous mare.

In the old square, a wooden temple beckons those interested in history.

Quaint cafes use the cobblestoned quadrangle as their terraces, serving up piping hot brews of Yunnan coffee and icy cold beers for those summer days.

Temple Shaxi China
The ancient temple located in the Shaxi square.

On the outskirts of the town are some incredible nature reserves, including the grottoes of Shibao Shan (Stone Temple Mountain) and the sacred underground spring of Bailong Tan (White Dragon Pool).

If your schedule allows, be sure to time your trip to Shaxi on a Friday, where you can experience the last remaining market on the Tea and Horse Caravan Trail.

The Bai and Yi people all come together to sell local produce and supplies. The minority ladies dress in their traditional colourful garb, making for a wonderful and captivating sight.

Horse Pen 46 Accommodation Shaxi China
Our $10 accommodation with personal guard dog. Although this giant puppy is too friendly to provide much protection against intruders.

However with all the highlights that Shaxi has to offer, ours…

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