Stop At The Great Shaping/Shapin Market, Yunnan Province, China


Our Dali guide would ride with us to Shaping/Shapin Market and then as far as Zhongdian where we’d meet our new guide and spend three nights. Shaping Market is only held on Mondays…today… The Bai people from the surrounding villages of Lake Erhai, including Dali, come to buy and sell fruits, vegetables, poultry, animals, hardware, so-called “antiques” and whatever. If you’re traveling through Yunnan on your own, it’s easy to get to the market by local bus or mini-bus arranged by travel operators and hotels in Dali. But remember…Mondays only.

The road out of Dali wasn’t too bad. An early breakfast and Shaping Market. Now this was interesting with the Bai people and other minorities still dressing in their native costumes. The Shaping Market starts rolling around 10:00 am and ends around 2:30 pm. We were very early and vendors were still arriving. Even in hindsight after many years, the Shaping Market is still one of my favorites out of all we’ve visited. Extremely colorful. Buyer’s remorse on an old opium pipe. Our guide said…”oh…they want too much money…don’t buy it…you will see many more…” We NEVER saw another one.

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piglets for sale at Shaping Market, China

We started in the animal section…moved along to the rows and rows of food and vegetables…View image

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selling vegetables at Shaping Market, China
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incredible Eggplants (or Aubergines) at Shaping Market, China
 

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dried rice noodles at Shapin Market, China

..finally getting to the “stuff.” We started bargaining for old embroidered minority hats (usually, and lovingly, made for children) and were followed for hours by women selling once we bought the first one. It was only a dollar for the hats (then) and we’ve seen them selling for ridiculous prices in shops (now). Some hats with dragon ears, others with pom-poms, all different…

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Shaping staffs selling “stuff” in Shapin Market, Yunnan Province, China
 

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ex-Marine buying the first hat in Shapin Market, China
 

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ex-Marine surrounded by hat sellers in Shapin Market, China

Buying frenzy over, we tore ourselves away for the drive to Zhongdian. The area took on a decidedly Tibetan feel with Tibetan-style houses, ground level for stock and the second level for the family. Tibetan drying racks in the fields for crops and Buddhist prayer flags waving in the breeze. To this day, we have “buyer’s remorse” over letting a very old opium pipe go. The guide assured us we’d see more in Yunnan. Never did, don’t listen to what someone tells you. If you see it, love it, buy it!

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