Shaxi is about a 4 hour journey from Xiaguan (main Dali transport hub). It’s a complicated trip, but totally worth it.
Shaxi is the most comfortable place I have traveled to in China. It’s quiet, beautiful, reasonably priced, and still has that authentic feel that’s lost in other “Old Towns.”
Similar to Xizhou, you can rent bicycles for 30rmb a day and explore the surrounding villages, farms and mountains. We elected to just hang out in town and enjoy the food and company.
Randomly, there’s also a lot of pets and strays in Shaxi. Most of my “Cute pets and strays” album is from here.