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A cultural treasure of the ancient Tea Horse Road.
Nestled deep in the Himalayan foothills, 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. Here lies the tranquil Shaxi valley, a sun drenched, fertile plain that follows the gentle Heihui River, a lesser known branch of the Mekong. There is no pollution, no airport and no traffic jams, but these are more than made up for by quiet cobbled streets, spectacular local architecture and impressive courtyard homes. 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 Lijiang to Shaxi 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!
Authenticity and serenity in a stunning setting
The Shaxi Old Theatre Inn is not only a fabulous listed building, but a much needed retreat from China's breakneck 'development', and at mealtimes it becomes a foodies' paradise to boot. The converted schoolhouse building has just five guest rooms, each with a cosy western en suite, slate tile rain shower, and large clerestory windows to soak up that warm winter sun. Alongside this is a main dining area, where guests can sample the very best in Bai cuisine as well as yummy western comfort food, including fresh apple cobbler, quince and fig cheesecake and homemade walnut bread.
The centerpiece is the temple theater building, fully restored as part of the Shaxi Rehabilitation project (SRP). The ground floor is storage space for mountain bikes, so that visitors can head off and explore the valley, while there are often calligraphy classes given in English by the current partner, Wu Yunxin, on the first floor. This leads out to the stage area, where the traditions of Bai music are being revived, and local elders perform for visiting dinner guests.
With its expansive views across the rice fields, this is the ideal location to relax on the front terrace with a freshly brewed Yunnan coffee, and watch the sun sink slowly bemontserrat the Hengduan Mountains. Despite the intricately carved construction, the hefty sandstone flagstones and the bucolic rural location, Old Theatre Inn has all the modern comforts needed to keep city folk happy. 24-hr broadband wireless Internet, lovely English-speaking local village Bai staff, complimentary western breakfasts and private car pick ups, all mean that guest comfort is in no way compromised by the tranquil, rural setting. Guests from all over the world repeatedly confirm that a visit the the Old Theatre Inn is a once in lifetime experience.
The best views of the Shaxi Valley with a backdrop of a towering shrine to local gods make for an unforgettable experience. Mrs. Yang the temple chef prepares a set menu based on seasonal specialties. Group meals available in the tea house or on the upper terrace. Learn more here.
From Pear Orchard Temple, hike up an ancient road to the Shizhong Temple grottoes. A special ticket price for being our guest and an introduction to the millenia old carvings by Old Theatre Inn partner and local historian, Mr. Wu.
Our five local staff will demonstrate Bai dance in traditional dress and teach you the basics of these movements set to local music. Our lovely team are all skilled members of the Duan Village Women's Dance ensemble.