Shaxi Old Theatre Inn - Jianchuan County, Dali, Yunnan, 671302, China




Shaxi Yunnan






Shaxi Information: travel and accommodation

交通 Getting here and away


The easiest way to reach the Old Theater Inn from Dali or Lijiang is to arrange a private vehicle with us ahead of time. You can also access Shaxi by taking a bus to Jianchuan, and then a mini-van to Shaxi.

The journey from Dali Old Town to Shaxi by public bus should take about 5-6 hours. It helps if you speak some Chinese for this trip, as there are not many people along the way who speak English. You can present our directions card at bus station ticket offices to help you ensure that you book the correct bus. From Dali Old Town you will need to travel to the Xiaguan North Bus Station. You can get to this bus station by taxi or by public bus #4 or #8. In Xiaguan, board a bus for Jianchuan. Buses from Xiaguan to Jianchuan leave every 15-20 minutes from 6:20 am to 6:50 pm, and tickets cost about 30 RMB.

When you arrive in Jianchuan, you will find mini-van service to Shaxi in front of the Jianchuan bus station. The service will cost 10 RMB, and will take about 45 minutes. The mini-vans leave when they are full, which, during the day, is frequently. Try to arrive in Jianchuan before 6 pm because after this time mini-van service will be less frequent. When you arrive in Shaxi, you can request a pick-up by calling 0872 4722 296, or you can show a print-out of the OTI card to a taxi driver.

The journey from Lijiang Old Town to Shaxi should take about 3-4 hours via Jianchuan. It helps if you speak some Chinese for this trip, as there are not many people along the way who speak English. You can present our directions card at bus station ticket offices to help you ensure that you book the correct bus. From Lijiang Old Town you will need to travel to the Lijiang Long Distance Bus Station. At the Long Distance Station, board a bus to Jianchuan. There are at least 6 buses a day from Lijiang to Jianchuan, and tickets cost about 20 RMB.

When you arrive in Jianchuan, you will find mini-van service to Shaxi in front of the Jianchuan bus station. The service will costs 10 RMB, and will take about 45 minutes. The mini-vans leave when they are full, which, during the day, is frequently. Try to arrive in Jianchuan before 6 pm because after this time mini-van service will be less frequent. When you arrive in Shaxi, you can request a pick-up by calling 0872 4722 296, or you can show a print-out of the OTI card to a taxi driver. The cost of local pickup is 30 RMB.

Our staff can arrange a private vehicle to pick you up from your airport/hotel in Lijiang or Dali, and bring you directly to the Old Theatre Inn. Our sedan pick-up costs $90 (550 RMB). Our van pick-up costs $140 (850 RMB), and the van will comfortably seat 6 adults. From the Dali and Lijiang airports, travel time to Shaxi is about 2.5-3 hours. Please note that by Oct 2013 construction will be finished on a new highway, and travel time will be reduced to 90 minutes.

家庭住宿 Shaxi accommodation for Families

At the Old Theatre Inn, we can accommodate families in adjacent rooms that open up into an enclosed courtyard. For families with small children (up to age 12), we can move extra beds into any of our 3 large queen rooms. For older children we have two rooms with twin beds, and can arrange to have parents stay in queen rooms right next door.
While you are at the Old Theatre Inn, children can explore our theater temple and have access to the box of games that we have on hand. Also, there are lots of animals (goats, pigs, cows, and more) in our village, so families may enjoy taking a walk around to observe local life.

早餐 Breakfast
Our room prices include a simple local breakfast. This breakfast consists of a pot of tea or coffee, homemade bread with butter/preserves, and local seasonal fruit with yogurt. Though simple, this breakfast is filling and will set you up well for a day of hiking, sight-seeing, or onward travel. You can order other simple breakfast items (such as eggs or noodles) a la carte at a small additional fee.

加床 Extra Bed
We can add up an bed to any of our large Queen rooms. The charge for an extra bed is $12 (80 RMB) per night. We can include a baby cot free of charge.

李家园 Li Family Courtyard
For those guests staying in the Li Family courtyard, our upstairs rooms are dormitory style and downstairs are big enought for two large beds. All bathrooms and showers are in an adjoining building. Across from the bathrooms are a manger with cows, goats and chickens which children can feed and play with. The Li Family courtyard is more of a local lifestyle experience that kids will love.

适宜孩子的活动 Recommended activities with children

Agriculture, architecture, and animal husbandry are all on ready display in Shaxi. This makes the valley a great place to take an exploratory walk with children. Families can stroll through villages and fields observing how people and animals live in Shaxi. If you carry carrots or apples, you may even get a chance to feed some of these animals!

Also, the Baoxiang temple in Shibaoshan park can be a great place to visit with children. Children can delight in the fact that this temple is guarded by monkeys, and with multiple levels, bridges, and a waterfall is perfect for exploring.

Tours & Guides from Old Theatre Inn or Shaxi Visitors Centre

石宝山Shibaoshan Grottoes and Temples

ShiBaoShan can be accessed by taxi or by hiking. A 30-minute hike from Old Theater Inn will take you to the edge of ShiBaoShan park, and from there it is another 1-2 hour walk uphill to Shizhong Temple. Though somewhat strenuous, the walk to this temple takes you past ancient stone carvings created in the sides of cliffs, and intricately-decorated pagodas. Many of these stone carvings can also be seen at the beginning, and less strenuous, part of this hike. A fun ½ day trip could be to ride bikes to the beginning of the trail, and then walk around for a few hours visiting these cliff carvings.

Shizhongsi, or the “Stone Bell Temple,” is built around a natural stone formation that looks like a bell. It features 17 different grottoes, with 140 stone carvings that are some of the oldest such carvings in China.

Another great ShiBaoShan temple to visit is Baoxiang. This temple is built into the side of a cliff, and has multiple rooms full of intricately-carved statues. The multi-leveled nature of this temple, plus it’s bridges, waterfall, and troop of macaques that live nearby make this temple a great place to explore.

Reserving a car to take you to Shibaoshan for 5-6 hours will cost about 200 RMB. You can also hire an English speaking guide for an additional 200 RMB. Please visit this webpage for more information about Shibaoshan.

酒店在沙溪 Shaxi accommodation options

Shaxi can be divided into two main areas: the valley and the old town. In the valley, located in Duan Village is the Old Theatre Inn, a 5-room family-run guesthouse built around an historic theatre temple. The inn rooms are simple but with all the comforts, and have beautiful views of the valley. One village over is the Li Family Courtyard, a recently renovated traditional family home in which the owners still live. There are large dormitory style rooms upstairs and family rooms downstairs. The newly built bathrooms are in the adjoining building. 

The Li's currently accept only groups of 10 or more.

In the old town are several hostels, the best among which is Horsepen 46, owned by a Chinese couple who have settled here from Sichuan and Guangdong. The Horsepen is mostly communal rooms but there are private rooms with ensuite bath as well. Another recommended option is Laomadian, though more expensive and smaller rooms, it has a rustic chic feel to it.

Camping is also an option and the Shaxi Visitor’s Centre located in the Pear Orchard Temple in Diantou Village can give more information about camp sites and precautions.

沙溪天气 Shaxi weather and best times to visit

A good time to visit Shaxi is now! Truly, a visit to Shaxi can be pleasant at any time of the year. We have around 300 sunny days per year, and even in winter the daytime temperatures are comfortable. Perhaps the best time to visit though, is from March - June, or from September-October. During these months, the days are sunny and warm (around 18 degrees) and the nights are not too cold (around 10 degrees). In terms of Shaxi's natural scenery, there are plenty of beautiful sights year round. Also, visitors may be interested to know that Shaxi's biggest religious holiday (Taizihui) takes place in March, and the Torch Festival takes place between September-October. (Note: The first weeks of October and May are the dates for national holidays. Chinese New Year falls between the last weeks of January or February. Shaxi will be busier at this time, and rates for rooms do increase.

Shaxi weather is very pleasant throughout the year, with cool evenings and warm sunny days. In winter the mercury usually drops close to zero at night, while days are in the low teens (celcius). Summers are warm in the upper 20's and in the mid teens at night. Like Dali weather, Shaxi, has a rainy season that starts in May and goes throughout the Summer, bringing intermittant showers throughout the afternoon, with patches of sun in between. November begins the dry season, which continues into March, making things a little dusty, with the ever-present breeze that blows up from Dali across the Shaxi Valley.

For more detailed Shaxi weather forecasts and extended seasonal information, please visit this Shaxi weather page

本地餐厅 Local Restaurants

There are several wonderful dining options in the Shaxi Valley. Much of the food served in Shaxi is local and fresh, and prepared by talented and experienced chefs, so dining here is always a pleasure. Below are several of traveler’s favorite dining options in Shaxi.

跳驴咖啡厅 The Dancing Mule Cafe
The Dancing Mule Cafe is located on the second floor of the Old Theatre Inn guesthouse in the Duan Family Village. Guests may also dine in the courtyard or on the terrace (weather permitting) and enjoy expansive views of ricefields and mountains across the valley.

We also stock 10 varieities of excellent wines from around the world, as well as local wine and beer. Lunch is served from 11:30 - 2:00 and dinner from 5:00-8:00. Guests can order a la carte items from our menu, or order a family-style meal of several meat and vegetable dishes prepared by Bai chefs. You can visit our restaurant’s webpage to read our menu.

Reservations are required for groups of 6 or more at or by calling 087-247-22296.

古树咖啡 Old Tree Cafe
The Old Tree Cafe is run by Auntie Chang and Uncle Zheng, a retied couple originally from Shandong China. They came to Shaxi and established the Old Tree in 2005, which makes them true restaurant pioneers in Shaxi! Their location couldn't be better for those who want to enjoy the activities around Sideng Square and soak up some sun at the same time. The Old Tree is in a corner of the square just adjacent to the Baoxing Temple with two outdoor tables. Food is simple and tasty; some western favorites and Chinese stir fry with cold Beer Lao dark lager to wash it down. Yum!

土木厨房 Tom's Kitchen
We recommend Tom's Kitchen for a great Shaxi pizza and western food experience. It is run by a young gentleman from Luxembourg who makes the best pizza in Shaxi, as well as delicious homemade ice cream.

木鱼咖啡厅 The Woodfish
The Woodfish is run by Sichuan native Winnie. Woodfish diners sit in Winnie's kitchen, where she magically prepares some of the best Western food in China right in front of you while her American husband Tom keeps you entertained with stories of his travels.

The menu has about a dozen simple items which include a tuna salad sandwich, burger, fries, curry, spaghetti, and bean salad. All meals are delicious and priced very reasonably. Wood Fish is tucked away on a street that exits left side of Sideng Square, when you are facing the temple. It is the first building on this side street. Look for the wood fish in the window.

老妈店卡马咖啡厅 Laomadian Karma Cafe
The Karma Cafe is part of the Laomadian guesthouse. The menu here features Bai, Chinese, Tibetan, and western items. The food here is delicious, and the restaurant is especially known for it’s cheesecake and brownie desserts.

GPS坐标 GPS Coordinates of Shaxi

Our GPS coordinates are 26 18.9503 N - 99 51.2025 E. This has been translated from the latitude longitude information on Google Earth, which was 26°18'57.02" N, 99°51'12.14" E.

兑换外币/银行 Changing Money and Shaxi ATM Services

You can change money and/or travel cheques only at the Bank of China. The closest Bank of China is in Dali or in Lijiang. Before leaving Dali or Lijiang, it is a good idea to make sure you have plenty of RMB. Local merchants only accept cash, and it is difficult, if not impossible, to withdraw cash in the Shaxi area.

There is a Agricultural Cooperative ATM in Shaxi that can accept all Chinese bank and debit cards but no international cards at present.

As of August 1, 2013, the Old Theatre Inn will have international Visa/Mastercard service, and can issue RMB cash at reception with a credit or Visa debit card at a bank fee of 3%.

周五集市 Shaxi Friday Market

The Friday market takes place on the main road in Sideng, and is a great opportunity to see first-hand Shaxi's local cultures and ways of life. The market runs from early in the morning until at least 3 or 4 pm.

Shaxi Old Theatre Inn
Duan Jia Deng Village, Shaxi Town
Jianchuan County, Dali, Yunnan, 671302, China
Call: +86 872 4722 296


Welcome to Shaxi Yunnan China - a cultural treasure of the ancient Tea Horse Road

Located halfway from Lijiang to Dali, Shaxi Yunnan is home to a beautifully preserved traditional way of life that offers a glimpse into a forgotten era. Shaxi has been protected from mass tourism due to its relative distance from popular destinations in Yunnan. But a new highway has made the driving distance from Dali to Shaxi or Lijiang just 90 minutes. The local government, keen to protect Shaxi's unique cultural heritage, is working with a conservation team that aims to create a sustainable travel strategy for the valley, encouraging activities that provide ownership opportunities for local families. Go now!