|Sideng bazaar street, part of the tea-horse route|
Nestled in a valley, the small town of Shaxi played a vital role along the ancient tea-horse route starting over 1,400 years ago. Tibetan horses were highly prized and traded in China for tea and salt. Shaxi became a main trade station along this route. In just the year 1661, over 1.5 million kilos of Yunnan tea were traded to Tibet.
Some of the guesthouses still remain where traders and their horses rested for the night. The structures of trading shops are also present, but many are now converted into cafés, restaurants, and stores.