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Travel in Yunnan

Chuxiong Yi Autonomous Prefecture (chǔ xióng yí zú zì zhì zhōu 楚雄彝族自治州) is between Dianchi Lake (diān chí 滇池) beside Kunming (kūn míng 昆明) and Erhai Lake (ěr hǎi 洱海) in Dali (dà lǐ 大理), and lies at the south of Yunnan Province, 160 kilometers away from the Kunming City, covering an area of 29,258 square kilometers. It is home to almost 2.45 million people among which Yi ethnic group accounts for 24.6%. Its an important hub of middle Yunnan. Cheng - Kun railway (chéng kūn tiě lù 成昆铁路), Guang - Da railway (guǎng dà tiě lù 广大铁路) and Kun - Wan road (kūn wǎn gōng lù 昆畹公路) cross it.

chuxiong2Chuxiong Prefecture includes 1 city, namely Chuxiong City (chǔ xióng shì 楚雄市), 9 counties, namely Yuanmon County (yuán móu xiàn 元谋县), Nanhua County (nán huá xiàn 南华县), Mouding County (móu dìng xiàn 牟定县), Wuding County (wǔ dìng xiàn 武定县), Dayao County (dà yáo xiàn 大姚县), Shuangbo County (shuāng bǎi xiàn 双柏县), Lufeng County (lù fēng xiàn 禄丰县), Yongren County (yǒng rén xiàn 永仁县), Yaoan County (yáo ān xiàn 姚安县).

The fossilized remains of Yuanmou Man (yuán móu rén 元谋人) who lived 1.7 million years ago were discovered in Yuanmou County in 1965. Before the Qin Dynasty (221BC-206BC), three main ethnic groups were recorded as active in this region. After hundreds of years of multiethnic fusion, Chuxiong became a residential area with Yi ethnic minority as its largest group. However, this was to change during the early Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), when the Han became the largest group in this area due to the large number of migrants from Central China.

The terrain of the prefecture inclines from the northwest to the southeast. This is a mountainous region with more than ninety percent of its territory made up by hills and mountains. The Jinshajiang River (jīn shā jiāng 金沙江) and Yuanjiang River (yuán jiāng 元江) are two of the many rivers that flow from the central Chuxiong area and go their separate ways.

chuxiong3This area enjoys a subtropical monsoon climate with neither extreme heat nor cold. It has defined dry and wet seasons. May to October is the rainy season. The average annual temperature falls to around 15-21°C (59-69.8°F). Like most cities in Yunnan, the temperature varies greatly during the day but only slightly during the course of the year.

Yi is the largest ethnic minority dwelling in this region. Black is the predominant color for Yi costumes in this area. While different tribes of Yi have their own styles. Axi Dance under the Moon (ā xì tiào yuè 阿细跳月) is the popular dance of the Axi Tribe. The 'three courses of wine' is the most courteous reception the Yi minority offers to their guests.


Chuxiong is endowed with abundant tourist resources, since it is rich in natural scenery and contains much cultural relics. Zixi Mountain (zǐ xī shān 紫溪山) and Yuanmou Soil Forest (yuán móu tǔ lín 元谋土林) are two most popular attractions here. What is more, if you come to Chuxiong in July or August, you will have a chance to experience the so called 'Oriental Carnival' of Yi people - the Torch Festival (huǒ bǎ jié 火把节), which held annually on June 24 of Chinese lunar calendar.

Zixi Mountain

chuxiong4With the altitude of 2000 meters, Zixi Mountain is considered as "the first mountain in the central part of Yunnan " since ancient times. It is considered to be the holy land for Buddhism even when it was in the Song Dynasty. There are thousands kind of plants, many kinds of animals and Buddhist buildings. Records say many famous historical hierarchies had been cultivated them here. In the Ming and Qing Dynasty, Zixi became a famous Buddhism place. Today, there are 68 relics of Buddhism temples and 21 Buddhism towers remained here. The environment is quiet and the scenery picturesque too, with the green pine forest stretch to horizon, and red azalea decorated in it, limpid streamlets running through the mountain.

There are more than 202 species of higher plants in 65 genus and over 107 species of animals. Actually, it’s a world of plants and animals. Of the eight most famous flowers in Yunnan Province (namely camellia, orchid, azalea, mangnolia, gentian, winter jasmine and green plush fungus), seven can find their origin here in Zixi Mountain.

chuxiong5The Zixi Mountain abounds with camellia. According to the research, there were more than 60 camellia plants in the area which are believed to be cultivated 200 years ago in the mountain. The history of the cultivation, the variety of the species and the enrichment of the color of the camellia here are the second to none in Yunnan. There’s a saying: Camellia in Yunnan exceeds all in China, and camellia in Zixi exceeds all in Yunnan.

Location: 25km away from Chuxiong City
Admission Fee: CNY 15
Opening Hours:All day
Tips: Minibuses go form Chuxiong to Zixi every 30 minutes at the Hongqi Hotel and it is very convenient for the visitors. Tourist facilities are well developed in the Zixi Mountain area. You can spend about RMB 80 staying here for a day and a night. Communication will not be a problem since the telecom signals cover all the mountain areas here. One of the wonders in Zixi Mountain is the camellia cultivated more than 1000 years ago, which is believed to be the oldest one in China.

Yuanmon Men Ruins

chuxiong6At the beginning of May in 1965, geological researchers named Qian Fang (qián fāng 钱方) and Pu Qingyu (pú qìng yú 蒲庆余) went to the Yuanmon Danawu village (dà nà wū cūn 大那乌村) to excavate the stratum of the early period of the Quaternary Period, unearthing two incisor teeth, which turned out to be similar with those of the Peking Men in features but earlier than them. By magnetic measuring, the teeth belonged to the ape of about 17 million years ago, which is a branch of the new species of perpendicular men in Asia. Historical relics shows that Yuanmon men can not only carry out hunting and collect foods with their tools, but also light fire for roasting the acquired foods. And from then on, they had outgrown the primitive era of eating raw birds and animals. Moreover, the discovery of Yuanmon men played a significant role in the human evolution and development.

Location: 7 km away from Chuxiong City.
Admission Fee: CNY 20
Opening Hours: 7:00am-9:00pm

Fossils of Lufeng dinosaurs

chuxiong7Since 1938, dinosaur fossils have been found constantly in Lufeng. Twenty-four genuses of 33 species and hundred of complete dinosaur fossils have been unearthed, which were considered as one of the most origin and age-old vertebrates fossils in an internal shape around the world.

Lufeng dinosaur is well known to the world as the fossils of dinosaurs of 1.8 billion years ago were excavated here. Mainly they are classified as three types: the carnivorous, the herbivorous and the polyphagias. The fossils specimens were kept well in the dinosaur museum. The Lufeng dinosaur is of high research value in the study of paleontology even in the world. Recently after investigating the environment, some researchers said in the Lufeng Street, a few vestiges of stars dashing are found in the regions where most dinosaurs existed.

Lufeng Dinosaur Museum is the hall of ancient living beings, the hall of bronze ware and earthenware, and the hall of ancient pithecanthropus, where photos and diagrams of dinosaur fossils from all over of the world are also exhibited.

Location: Lufeng County
Admission Fee: CNY 120
Opening Hours: 7:00 am-9:00 pm
Transportation: Coaches from Panjiawan bus station in Kunming go to Lufeng, with RMB 10 Yuan for the ticket. The dinosaur fossils is about 4 km from Lufeng county, and there are regular bus arrive there, with RMB 2 for the ticket.

The Heijing Ancient Town

chuxiong8The Heijing Ancient Town (hēi jǐng gǔ zhèn 黑井古镇) is like a good history book, a place that has kept its historical buildings and traditions for decades. It is considered to be the living social fossil of the Ming and Qing Dynasty. Now it belongs to the historical cultural village of provincial level.

Heijing started its history with its business of salt making in the early time of the Dong Han Dynasty. The prosperity of limitless salt resource made the best history of this region. With history of more than 2000 years, the village has been developed into a prosperous town. Places of historical interest and scenic beauty can be found here and there. All together there are 51 temples of Buddhism and Taoism, 4 mosques, 92 cultural relics including stone carvings, monuments, archways, ancient buildings, tombs and so on.

Location: Lufeng County
Admission Fee: CNY 30 for adults, CNY 15 for children.
Opening Hours: All day
Transportation: It takes about 25 Yuan to go from Kunming to Lufeng, and 8 Yuan from Lufeng to Heijing. If you go from the West Bus Station in the city of Chuxiong, it takes about 12 Yuan. The earliest bus goes at 8 in the morning and the latest is at 4 in the afternoon. Buses go only in the morning form Heijing back the county and don't miss the time. If you go by train, you can take the train from Kunming to Panzhihua and get off at the Heijing stop, with fees of RMB 12 Yuan. The railway station is still 4 kilometers away from the Heijing village and you may take a carriage for the rest of the journey.


Chuxiong lies to the west of Kunming City and the transportation is quite convenient. National highway 320 connects Chuxiong with Kunming, with distance of 160 kilometers. Meanwhile, there are roads leading to almost every county in the area. The Kunming-Dali Expressway pass through Chuxiong. And it takes about 2 hours to go from Kunming to Chuxiong by bus. Every day there are more than about 100 regular buses going to and from Chuxiong in the Yunnan Province.

The express ways from Chuxiong to Dali now employ the IC card system when charging the tolls. If you travel by car yourself, all you need to do is to get the card at the entrance of the express way and pay for it when you get out.

Bus stations numbers:
chuxiong9Chuxiong East Bus Station: 0878-3017319
Chuxiong West Bus Station: 0878-3122326
Chuxiong South Bus Station: 0878-3123326
Chuxiong North Bus Station: 0878-3392319
Lufeng Bus Station: 0878-4123900 
Yuanmon Bus Station: 0878-8319918 
Yongren Bus Station: 0878-6712478
Yaoan Bus Station: 0878-5722686
Dayao Bus Station: 0878-6222899
Wuding Bus Company: 0878-8712898

Railway road runs across the city. No.986 express train passes the city every day at 12:30, with the fee of RMB 20 from Kunming . There are trains going to and from Yuanmon and Lufeng too.

In Chuxiong, taxi charges 5 Yuan within the city. If you are going out of the city, you may negotiate the fee with the driver.

Special Local Products

Mountain delicacies including edible fungus, ornaments and traditional Yi garments, totem masks, and silk products

Useful Numbers

Zone code: 0878
Zip code: 675000
Weather Forecast: 121
Zip Code Inquiry: 184
Tourist Information: 0878-3129104, 0878-3196927