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Shaxi Yunnan China in the news


Here are some news articles from well-known publications on travel in Shaxi Yunnan China. The full articles with photos can be found on the Media drop-down menu.


Chris Barclay, whose riverside boutique hotel in Guangxi Province features a restored mud-brick barn, said that many of his Chinese guests booked for three nights. But they often leave after the first, out of frustration with the lack of amenities. Local officials are intrigued by his project, Mr. Barclay said, but are amazed that any hotelier would market such humble lodgings to upscale travelers.

For the officials, it would be like “building a hotel out of ice in Lapland,” Mr. Barclay said with a laugh. “They’re still trying to process it.”

But Huang Yinwu, an architect in Yunnan who for several years led a historical restoration in the Shaxi Valley financed by the Swiss government, said many of the urban Chinese he has met, whether backpackers or high-end travelers, are increasingly open to rustic getaways.

For now, a handful of foreign hotel operators appear to dominate China’s market for boutique retreats. They acknowledge that their work can be challenging.

The-Wall-Street-Journal article on Shaxi Yunnan


Lijiang, “restored” in the ancient style after a 1996 earthquake, was exactly the sort of place we wanted to avoid. Having lived in China for almost two years, we had already seen “Impression West Lake,” Zhang Yimou’s over-the-top evening extravaganza in Hangzhou, so there was no need to take in “Impression Lijiang,” set against the backdrop of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. And if we wanted to fight crowds like those on the cable car up the mountain, we could stay home in Beijing and wander through the Forbidden City on a hot summer day.

Shaxi, located roughly halfway between Lijiang and Dali, turned out to be the perfect antidote. It feels as removed from the modern world as Lijiang—where you can find McDonald’s, Pizza Hut and KFC—is immersed in it. A stop on the so-called tea-horse road (sometimes called the Southern Silk Road) for centuries, Shaxi today is placid and friendly, its quiet disturbed only by the occasional pigs or turkeys wandering through the cobblestone town square.

LonelyPlanet Yunnan China


“The tiny hamlet of Shāxī, 120km northwest of Dàlǐ, is a hugely evocative throwback to the days of the Tea-Horse Roads. You can almost
hear the clippety-clop of horses’ hooves and shouts of traders. Shāxī is one of only three surviving caravan oases from the old Tea-Horse Roads that
stretched from Yúnnán to India. It’s by far the best preserved and the only one with a surviving market (held on Fridays).
The village’s wooden houses, courtyards and narrow, winding streets make it a popular location for period Chinese movies and TV shows (and day trippers), but this is still a wonderfully sleepy place where nightlife means sitting out under the canopy of stars and listening to the frogs croaking in the rice paddies.”

> view LonelyPlanet Yunnan full review 2015 here

South China Morning Post Shaxi Yunnan

When Songzi Guanyin answered his wife’s prayer, Chris Barclay gave thanks by restoring a crumbling temple dedicated to the fertility goddess in ‘Shangri-la’.

There are a few areas in Yunnan province that call themselves “the real Shangri-la” in an attempt to lure Western tourists. But the place that is perhaps most like James Hilton’s mythical valley has shown little interest in rebranding itself – no doubt because its story is already so compelling.

> Read the full article here

Old Theatre Inn recommended by TimeOut Shanghai


Situated in a remote corner of Yunnan province, Shaxi has so far escaped the trappings of modernity. Advising people to visit now, before it transforms, feels contrived. But the ancient market village has been preserved in ways that make it more rewarding than its on-the-beaten-path neighbours, Lijiang and Dali. And changes are underway. A new four-lane highway will open imminently, reducing the four hours of road travel from Dali to 90 minutes. Shaxi is soon to be accessible.
The area has many draws. Shaxi valley receives more hours of sunshine than California. With fertile land replenished by water from the nearby Cangshan mountains, Bai farmers have been prosperous in the area for thousands of years. The village thrived with the establishment of the Tea Horse Road, a network of paths traversed by mule-riding merchants trading salt, animal hides and tea for horses. The route connected Tibet with southeast Asia from the 14th to 19th centuries and Shaxi is the most complete surviving example of one of the ancient trading centres that provided commerce and respite for tradesmen. Somehow most of the buildings survived the historical upheaval that razed many of China’s heritage sites in the 1950s and ’60s. With the Communist Party ban on private markets, trade in Shaxi came to an abrupt halt. As activity ceased, the village slowly became dilapidated. Perhaps this spared the structures.