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Once a bustling marketplace, Shaxi is the last remaining ancient market town of its kind on the Tea & Horse Caravan Trail, which is a trading route that connected Tibet, Sichuan, and Yunnan to countries in southeast Asia. Some call this route the Southern Silk Road. Nestled in a flat fertile valley cut through by the Heihui River (a tributary of the Mekong River) and surrounded by mountains, Shaxi is now a quiet and relaxing corner that has been forgotten by rest of the China and its modern city dwellers. For years it remained a secret retreat for the few who knew its existence, and when the nearby Lijiang and Dali become too packed with tourists, many escape to Shaxi for a little peace and solitude. Because of its isolated location, much of its culture and historical landmarks have been preserved to this day. On the Friday of every week, like for the last hundreds of years, Sideng (the main village in the Shaxi valley) is transformed into a busy marketplace with Yi minorities from the surrounding mountains walking as long as three hours to come and trade for supplies and goods with the Bai people that inhabit the Shaxi valley. In 2001 Shaxi was included in the List of the Worldˇ®s 100 Most Endangered Sites by the World Monument Fund (WMF), and it is recognized in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Tip for travelers:
Shaxi is a small ancient village, so do not expect anything other than very basic facilities here. There is no Wal-Mart, no Starbucks, no McDonalds, no international ATMs, and no place to exchange foreign currencies. Take out or exchange enough Chinese RMB to cover your expenses before you come to Shaxi, or for that matter before you visit any other small towns/villages in China.
Cultural and historical sites:

•  Xingjiao Temple - Located right across the Sideng square from Horse Pen 46 Guesthouse.
•  Old Theater Stage and Museum - right next to Horse Pen 46 Guesthouse.
•  Rock carvings and grottoes on Shibao Mountain - only 50 minutes by car from Sideng, the ancient rock carvings on Shibao Mountain has a history of more than 1300 years. For anyone interested in Buddhism or just enjoy looking at beautiful stone carvings, a visit to the Shibao mountain is a must. Shibao Mountain visit can be combined with an easy 2-3 hours hike through the pine forest covered hillside for some great views of Shaxi valley. It makes for a lovely day's outing. Horse Pen 46 Guesthouse offers free information on the hiking trails.
•  Market day in Shaxi - Friday of every week.
Outdoor excursions:

•  Hiking - for the outdoor lovers, the mountains around Shaxi offer many different hiking trails that's enough to keep you busy for a few days. There are hills, canyons, cliffs, forests, and streams for exploring. Come to Horse Pen 46 Guesthouse for information on hiking trails, or join us on one of our guided dayhikes.
•  Kayaking - for those who wish for a more leisurely trip to enjoy the great outdoors, Horse Pen 46 Guesthouse offers the unique opportunity to drift down the Heihui River on an easy 2-hour guided kayaking trip. You will be able to see much of the beautiful Shaxi valley from our inflatable kayaks, with possible sighting of the many different species of birds that lives in the area. This trip is a Horse Pen 46 exclusive.
•  Biking - rent a bicycle and start riding in any direction that grabs your fancy, it is a great way to see and explore the sixteen different villages scattered in the Shaxi valley. Our guesthouse has five brand-new 21-speed mountain bikes for rent.
Outdoor adventures:

•  Trekking - experience the old Tea & Horse Caravan Trail up close and personal by doing a multi-day trekking trip, either camping out at night and count the stars in the sky, or staying overnight at one of the many minority villages and experience the life of a local.
•  Horsepacking - if you want to experience the Tea & Horse Caravan Trail without carrying a heavy pack, this is the best option. Traveling with a group of pack horses instantly transfers you back in time to the days when traders of tea and salt walked the same trail on their journey to faraway places.
•  Customized multi-sport trip - for the traveler who wishes to experience everything, we can even combine multiple activities such as hiking, rock climbing/rappelling, cycling, and kayaking into one action packed day. Come and talk to us about what you want to do, and we will try to customized a trip specially for you.
Horse Pen 46 Guesthouse and Hostel
#46 Sideng Street
Shaxi, Yunnan, China
Phone: (+86) 872 - 4722 299
E-mail: owners@horsepen46.com