Sideng Street of Shaxi Old Town, Dali

Sideng Street of Shaxi Ancient Town

Dali Sideng Street of Shaxi Old Town in Jianchuan County travel guide introduces the main attractions, entrance tickets booking, The best time to visit, How to Get there, the highlights, facts, history, photos, weather, accommodation, visiting routes, travel tips, tour maps of Sideng Street of Shaxi Old Town in Dali(寺登街).

Sideng Street(寺登街) is located in Shaxi Town, south of Jianchuan County, Dali Prefecture. It is the important hub of the Ancient Tea and Horse Road. Known as the only market of the Ancient Tea and Horse Road, it was entitled as the World Monumental Architecture Heritage in 2001. From the Neolithic Age to Ming and Qing dynasties, Shaxi was the center for business and exchange between central China and Tibet. Tibetan people carried the furs and herbs and exchanged the rare but necessary things like salt and tea. With the prints on the road, Sideng Street carries the splendid culture of the ancient road and proved the prosperous business here.

Shaxi Ancient Town

In Tang Dynasty around 700 AD, Shaxi was founded as a trading point at the Tea Horse Road. People of the town not only sold a wide variety of homemade items at that time, but also opened their house and offered food to the passing caravans. Due to the prosperity of their business, the families renovated their house. The improving of living conditions then attributed to the flourishing of arts and centuries-old traditions. The meticulously kept houses decorated with family motto plaque and exquisite wooden carving products witnessed the affluence of Old Shaxi and Shaxi people. However, with the decline of the trade along the Tea Horse Road, Shaxi vanished from the sight of public, only the surviving Friday Market continued its vigor.

Shaxi at dusk likes a colorful oil painting. With several pieces of flaming cloud in the sky and mountains in the surrounding, the rays of the sunset slanted in streams through the trees. The shinning Heijiang flows through the dam from north to south. Mountain, river, Bai ethnic country, the red walls and green tile with trees around make up an amazing picture.


The street was built at the end of the Yuan Dynasty and the beginning of the Ming Dynasty. However, the history of the Shaxi area can be traced back to the Spring and Autumn Period in the Western Han Dynasty. The bronze ware was unearthed from the ancient tomb of the Aofeng Mountain in the south of the city. The transaction of the currency with the shellfish already existed in that time. 

Sideng Street located in the center of plain on the dam, with tall Aofeng Mountain(鳌峰山) in one side and clear Heihuijiang(黑惠江) in the other side. In the ancient times, here used to be an important post-house of Ancient Tea Route and “Southwest Silk Road”, going straight towards north to Zhongdian— a hinterland of Sichuan-Tibet; going towards south through west side of Cangshan to Yellow River Plain. World Monument Fund believed that “China Shaxi Sideng Street district is the only country fair along the whole Ancient Tea Route.” All of these show that Sideng had a long and profound history, and witnessed the commercial communication between people.

What to See

Walking into Sideng Street, the sunset in the street consist of a quaint and mysterious street view. The aged red flagging stone road shows years of vicissitudes. Surrounded by trees, either side of street are lined with old shops built in Bai ethnic style which is store in the front and yard in the back. Travelers can get into several vernacular dwellings and appreciate carved architecture of Bai ethnic. 

Coming to central downtown, Square Street(四方街) will catch your eyes. The square street here is larger than Square Street in Lijiang. There are old shops around Square Street, and two old locust trees are in the central which give some shade to people. In the south side, there is an old opera stage(戏台) in the central of three-floors building of aquatint. Square Street is the bustling place here; you can buy some special products here. Though the whole market is full of people, it is different from other places, the tradesmen here is unhurried. During Every fifteenth of February, Torch Festival, people come here to watch opera.

In the west of Square Street, there is a grand temple, Xingjiao Temple(兴教寺), which is the only Azhali(阿吒力) Buddha temple of Ming Dynasty. Standing in this temple, accompanied by the seeting sun and cypress, it seems that you can hear a Sanskrit song.

Useful Tarvel Tips

When the weather is fine in Dali, the sunshine is heated, and ultraviolet light is strong. People should avoid direct sunlight, and the sun hat preparation is required during outdoor activities, a pair of sunglasses will make you comfortable in the trip.

Nearby Attractions

Shaxi Old Town, Dali
Xingjiao Temple in Shaxi Old Town, Dali
Yujin Bridge in Shaxi Old Town, Dali