If you are looking for a unique and authentic experience of the Bai ethnic minority culture and the ancient Tea Horse Road, this tour is for you. You will visit two charming and historical towns, Shaxi and Nuodeng, which were once important stops on the trade route that connected China with Tibet, India, and Southeast Asia. You will also explore the natural and cultural wonders of Mt. Shibaoshan, which has stunning scenery and rich Buddhist relics. You will learn about the traditional handicrafts, salt production, and ham making of the Bai people, and enjoy their hospitality and cuisine. You will also have a relaxing foot bath with the herbal soup of the Bai people, which can soothe your body and mind.
2. Marvel at Mt. Shibaoshan, which has stunning scenery and rich Buddhist relics, such as the Shizhong Temple and the Baoxiang Temple.
3. Learn about the Bai people’s traditional handicrafts, salt production, and ham making, and enjoy their cuisine and foot bath.
- Day 1: Dali to Shaxi Ancient Townancient town of Jianchuan, Mt. Shibaoshan, Shizhong Temple, Baoxiang Temple
Begin your journey by driving from Dali to Shaxi. En route, explore the ancient town of Jianchuan, the heart of the Bai ethnic minority. Jianchuan, with a captivating history spanning over 1,800 years, is renowned for its woodcarving, pottery, and lacquerware. Marvel at the impeccable craftsmanship and delve into the culture and traditions of the Bai people.
Visit a workshop showcasing a typical Bai handicraft called Buzha. This art form incorporates colorful cloth adorned with embroidery and wormwood to ward off insects and malevolent spirits.
In the afternoon, immerse yourself in the wonders of Mt. Shibaoshan, a sacred mountain boasting breathtaking natural landscapes and abundant cultural relics. Explore the historical temples and Buddhist caves, including the Shizhong Temple featuring 16 stone carvings of Buddha from the Tang and Song dynasties. Witness the architectural marvel of the Baoxiang Temple, perched on a cliff and dedicated to the bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, believed to grant wishes and protect from disasters.
Accommodation: Shaxi Ancient Town
- Day 2: Shaxi to Nuodeng (B)Shaxi Ancient Town, Sideng Market Square, a private museum
Embark on a morning tour of Shaxi Ancient Town, a meticulously preserved historic gem that once played a pivotal role on the Tea Horse Road—a trade route linking China with Tibet, India, and Southeast Asia. Meander through cobblestone streets, passing by ancient houses, shops, and temples. Explore the Sideng Market Square, once the epicenter of commerce and culture, featuring a stage for local opera performances, a worship temple, and a river-crossing bridge.
Visit a private museum and listen to captivating stories about the ancient Tea Horse Road. Run by a local family, the museum houses a collection of artifacts and documents shedding light on the history and culture of the trade route. Gain insights into the origin, development, and decline of the route, along with anecdotes about tea traders, porters, and horses. View rare tea samples and tools used in tea production and transportation.
Afterwards, embark on a scenic drive to Nuodeng, a remote village steeped in a history spanning over 2,000 years. Famed for its salt production and ham making, Nuodeng's terraced houses on the hillside offer a unique layout. Take in the panoramic views of the village, surrounded by majestic mountains and fields.
- Day 3: Explore Nuodeng (B)Nuodeng Town, Nuodeng salt well
Embark on the exploration of Nuodeng, a thousand-year-old village renowned for its Bai ethnic heritage, salt, and ham. Stroll along flagstone streets, marvel at Ming and Qing dynasty houses with distinctive five-roofed courtyards, and delve into the rich history of Nuodeng. Discover the ancient Nuodeng salt well, operational for over 2,000 years, the source of the village's prosperity along the Ancient Tea Horse Road. Gain insights into the local culture and the preservation of traditional customs.
Indulge in a lunch feast featuring the coveted Nuodeng ham, made from local black-haired hogs, cured for a minimum of three years, and renowned for its tender, fragrant meat. Explore various culinary preparations, including steamed, fried, or boiled with tofu, alongside other local specialties.
In the afternoon, unwind with a Bai herbal foot bath, filled with mint, ginger, and pepper, boasting health benefits like improved circulation and relief from fatigue. Enjoy this rejuvenating experience in a wooden tub against the backdrop of picturesque mountains and fields.
Retreat to a cozy Nuodeng guesthouse for the night, where Bai hospitality adds a touch of charm to your stay.
Accommodation: in Nuodeng
- Day 4: Nuodeng to Dali, Departure from Dali (B)
Savor your free time until your designated driver picks you up. Head to Dali airport for your departure. Safe travels!