Mapingguan Village of Shaxi Old Town in Jianchuan County, Dali
Chinese Name: 沙溪马坪关村
Chinese Pinyin: Sha Xi Ma Ping Guan Cun
English Name: Mapingguan Village of Shaxi Old Town, Dali
Keywords: Mapingguan Village of Shaxi Old Town, Shaxi highlights, Shaxi tourists sites
Admission Fee: Free
Opening Hours: All the day
Recommended Visiting Hours: 2-3 hours
Location: Located at 15km southwest of Shaxi Valley in Jianchaun County
Mapingguan (马坪关)(literally “Horse Pasture Pass”) is located about 15km southwest of Shaxi Valley at the site of a covered bridge, on the road to three major western Yunnan salt wells, further along in Misha. The village was a key checkpoint where the government collected tax on the salt trade. In fact, this was the first of four toll gates to be constructed in the area. This one takes the form of Wenfeng Bridge, a rare covered span, that once provided shelter for the caravans as they waited to make their way past the sentries. Despite boasting wonderful examples of ancient architecture, including a a Confucian Temple, a shrine to the Guanyin Buddha and a traditional theater devoted to the God of Culture and Learning, this tiny hamlet of less than 100 households, is so peaceful, that even Shaxi Old Town seems positively metropolitan in comparison.
How to get to Mapingguan Village?
There are no direct bus to Shaxi from Lijiang or Dali. To reach Shaxi, first take a long distance bus to Jianchuan (剑川) from either Lijiang or Dali (Xiaguan).There are mini-bus services just outside of Jianchuan bus station that take about 45 minutes to reach Shaxi.
If you start from Fushouchang village about 2 km south of Shaxi, the hike takes anywhere between two and four hours, depending on how much time you spend savoring the magnificent old growth stands, and pausing to slake your thirst from fresh mountain streams on the way. Mapingguan is nearly another 1000 meters higher than Shaxi, so you might find yourself glued into the saddle on much of the ascent. The village offers a number of basic home stays, and there is the opportunity to continue your journey into the wilds even further with a trek up to the hot springs at Misha.
Mapingguan Village enjoys the lond and profound history. When the caravans were in the prosperous period, Shaxi was the important station for the collecting and distributing of cargo. Mapingguan was one of the level. The last name of most villagers is Duan. They are the descendants of the soldiers who were sent to protect the place in Ming Dynasty.
With the flying time and backward economy, there are not many ancient architectures. We lost the connection with the traditional culture currently. The left old architectures are Stage of Opera, Guangong Temple, Patron God Temple and Fengyu Bridge etc. This village needs the protection.
Useful Travel Tips
Try not to arrive in Jianchuan too late in the evening or else there may not be enough passengers to fill up a bus to Shaxi.
Mapingguan is closed and does not develop well. There is no high-quality hotels and restaurants for the travelers, but you can eat and stay in the villagers’ home to experience the local culture and get more local stories.