Holidays to Shaxi, China

The tiny village of Shaxi between Lijiang and Dali is found deep in the foothills of the Himalayas. Shaxi was a key hub on the old Tea Horse Trail, a trading route that ran between south-western China, Tibet, Burma and India. After the heyday of the trail passed, Shaxi fell into a state of disrepair but it has been carefully restored and protected and is now a wonderful glimpse into the industrious history of this quiet part of China.

Shaxi’s main square is fringed with traditional stone and wood buildings, some that house lovely little restaurants. There’s also a handful of glorious temples and a thriving Friday market (it’s worth trying to plan your itinerary so you get to visit). It’s also when you’ll catch a glimpse of the Bai and Yi locals in their traditional dress. If you head down to the river, you can witness the animal trading too.

The agricultural land, rice paddies and scenery around the village is remarkable, and Shaxi can be used as a base for long hikes or bicycle rides into this wonderful countryside. Rare pine mushrooms are found in the area too, and visitors sometimes embark on foraging expeditions to seek them out.


  • A small, lesser-discovered village in China’s Yunnan province

  • Hike or cycle around the countryside surrounding the historic village

  • The thriving Friday market is colourful and atmospheric

Senior China Travel Designer
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I became fluent in Mandarin during my time living, studying and working in China. From there I travelled to every corner of China and explored Japan and Taiwan. Beijing is my favourite city, I love finding amazing places to eat and trying new dishes.

Map of Shaxi