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Travel in Yunnan

Yuxi (yù xī 玉溪) has been called as "defensive frontier of the provincial capital" since ancient time. Covering an area of 15,285 square kilometers, the city of Yuxi has a population of 2,016,800. There are 25 minorities in this city, including Yi (yí 彝), Hani (hā ní 哈尼), Dai (dǎi 傣), Hui (huí 回), Bai (bái 白), Mongolian (méng gǔ 蒙古), Miao (miáo 苗), Lahu (lā hù 拉祜) and so on, which make up 31.69% of the population.


yuxi2Under it’s jurisdiction there are 1 district: Hongta (hóng tǎ qū 红塔区); 5 counties: Jiangchuan (jiāng chuān 江川), Chengjiang (chéng jiāng 澄江), Tonghai (tōng hǎi 通海), Huaning (huá níng 华宁), Yimen (yì mén 易门); 3 Ethnic Minority Autonomous Counties: Eshan Yi Autonomous County (é shān yí zú zì zhì xiàn 峨山彝族自治县), Xinping Yi and Dai Autonomous County (xīn píng yí zú dǎi zú zì zhì xiàn 新平彝族傣族自治县), Yuanjiang Hani, Yi and Dai Autonomous County (yuán jiāng hā ní zú yí zú dǎi zú zì zhì xiàn 元江哈尼族彝族傣族自治县).

Yuxi was once the core area of Yunnan Province during the Previous Qin Dynasty (period before 221BC). In the Western Han Dynasty (206BC-24AD), it became a county of Yizhou Shire (yì zhōu 益州). The following dynasties witnessed the continuous separations and unifications of the area. It was not until 1997 that Yuxi became a prefecture-level city of the Republic of China.

yuxi3Yuxi is in the west edge of Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau (yún guì gāo yuán 云贵高原), with complex geographic features including mountains, valleys, lakes, plateaus and basins. Fuxian Lake (fǔ xiān hú 抚仙湖) is China's second deepest lake. The whole area extends from high northwest to low southeast. The urban city is about 1,630 meters (1,782 yards) above the sea level. The rivers in this city belong to the Pearl River (zhū jiāng 珠江) water system and the Red River (hóng hé 红河) water system. Parts of the areas in Yuxi still preserve ancient virgin forests and ample wildlife resources.

The area enjoys a subtropical plateau monsoon climate, which blesses it with all-like-spring four seasons all year round. The hottest month is June while the coldest is in December or January. Best time to visit the region is between summer and autumn. Because of the high temperature difference between morning and night, you'd better take a coat when you go there in spring or autumn.

Local Highlights

yuxi4Endowed with pleasant climate, Yuxi is rich in crops and tobacco leaves, hence its honor 'Barn of Middle Yunnan Province' (diān zhōng liáng cāng 滇中粮仓) and 'Hometown of Yunnan Tobacco' (yún yān zhī xiāng 云烟之乡). Yuxi Cigarette Company (Hongta Group) has become a famous cigarette making company. Its product brands such as Hongtashan (hóng tǎ shān 红塔山), Ashima (ā shī mǎ 阿诗玛) and Hongmei (hóng méi 红梅) have been popular for many years in China. The area also has beautiful natural sceneries and colorful cultures. Various festivals, dances, musics and folk cultures of different ethnic minority groups should not be missed when traveling here. In addition, it is the hometown of Nie Er (niè ěr 聂耳), the famous musician who has wrote many revolution songs including China's present national anthem.

The splendid prehistoric cultures of Yuxi are represented by the Chengjiang Maotianshan Mountain (mào tiān shān 帽天山) biota, which are admirably wonderful and win fame in China and abroad; the ample and integrated dinosaur fossils in groups in Yimen and Eshan Mountain; many ruins dating back from the Paleolithic to the Neolithic time.


Yuxi is in the Middle Yunnan Lake Basin Area. There are abundant tourist resources here, for example, the four plateau lakes, namely Fuxian Lake, Xingyun Lake (xīng yún hú 星云湖), Qilu Lake (qǐ lù hú 杞麓湖) and Yangzong Lake (yáng zōng hǎi 阳宗海); one of the five most famous mountains in Yunnan Province, which is also known as "the most beautiful mountain in South Yunnan" Tonghai Xiushan Mountain (tōng hǎi xiù shān 通海秀山); national forest parks, the Xinping Mopan Mountain (mó pán shān 磨盘山); Huaning Xiangbi hot spring (xiàng bí wēn quán 象鼻温泉) and so on. These places compose a famous spot for tourism, vacation and recuperation nearest to Kunming. The lakes, ponds, reservoirs and other water areas cover nearly 800,000 mu (533, 360 square kilometers). The well-known aquatic products include the Kanglang Fish (kàng làng yú 抗浪鱼), bullhead fish, the Datou Fish (dà tóu yú 大头鱼), snake headed fish, herring, whitebait, China Hairy Soft-shelled Turtle Crab, and so on.

Yuxi Karst Caves

yuxi5The Yuxi Karst Caves are more than 300 meters in length. The highest point in these caves is more than 20 meters, and the widest place is nearly 50 meters. The main cave has four rooms of varying sizes. There are also four forked caves. The passages in the caves are precipitous. And the landscape has varied structure. All kinds of stalactites in the caves make it seem like a crystal palace. The natural stalagmites, stone flowers, stalagnates, stone curtains, stone elephants, stone beasts, etc. in the caves are more exquisitely carved than crystals and more spotlessly white than the snowflakes. They are spotless clean. The air in the caves is especially cool and refreshing. Tourists can hear sound of the water drops falling from the tip of hanging stalactites from time to time. In the joint place of the main cave and the second branch cave, there is a clear spring. A couple of stone statue stands in the spring pool, looking like bathing golden boy and jade girl vividly.

Location: Hongta District
Ticket Price: CHN 20
Opening Time: 8:00am-6:00pm
How to get there: There is no direct bus. You can hire a bus in the downtown area to get there.

Mopan Mountain National Forest Park

yuxi6The Mopan Mountain National Forest Park is one of the best tourist attractions of Yuxi, a district in the beautiful Yunnan province. This 7200-hectare reserve is located 20 kilometers southeast of XinPing Yi and Dai Autonomous County. It was in 1989 when it was transformed into a forest park by the National Forestry Department.

In the summertime, the clouds adoring the Mopan Mountain resemble jade belts. In the wintertime, the snow-capped mountains look majestic with their resemblance to the Swiss Alps.

The National Forest Park’s crowning glory is the Mopan Mountain, with peaks ranging from 1,260 meters to more than 2,600 meters. The annual temperature ranges from 14 to 16 degrees Celsius, while the precipitation averages 1000 to 1100 millimeters a year.

The mountain’s name was derived from a traditional Chinese grinding mill also known as a Mopan. The mountain has a total of 12 peaks with 11 brooks in between. There are said to be more than 50 attractions in the Mopan Mountain National Forest Park.

The Mopan Mountain National Forest Park is widely known for its beautiful flora and fauna. In fact, 86% of the area is known to be filled with exotic plants and colorful wildlife. There are greeneries protected by the government under the class 1, 2 and 3 specifications, while about 20 species are safeguarded under class 1 and 2. There are 98 families, 137 genera and 324 species of rare plants thriving in the Mopan Mountains.

Here, environmental enthusiasts will enjoy a sea of rhododendron, camellia bushes, primrose, gentian flowers. They will also witness rare plants such as the Phoebe zhennan, tree fern and wild tea trees.

yuxi7Because the vegetation distributes vertically as it gets higher, the Mopan Mountain National Forest Park provides a wide variety of plantation that makes it conducive for scientific and educational research.

Another thing that makes the Mopan Mountain National Forest Park endearing to visitors is its local customs and folk traditions. One is the flower feast of Yi Nationality, also known as the flower-drum dance. This is celebrated annually by the locals to honor happiness. Another is the Flower Admiring Festival, which celebrates the beauty of nature.

Location: 20 kilometers southeast of Xinping Yi and the Dai Autonomous County.
Ticket Price: CHN 60
Opening Time: 8:00-18:30
How to get there: Take tourist bus in Xinping Bus Station.
Tips: Visit the Mopan Mountain National Forest Park during springtime to witness the beautiful sea of blooming flowers.

Xiushan Mountain

The Tonghai County seat is situated at the foot of mountains and besides a lake. Xiushan Mountain is closely to the south, and overlooks the county. The landscape here looks like a beautiful picture. In the front, Qilu Lake has shining glistening lights of waves. In the middle, the houses in the county look dignified. And Xiushan Moutain behind appears green. It is characterized South Yangtze River scene.

yuxi8In Xiushan Mountain, the trees are luxuriant and well-spaced. It is a deep and quiet place with static temperature. You can see various flowers on the tree in spring, moving shadows of the tree in summer, whistling red leaves in fall and peculiar branches in winter. The mountain has different trees in different areas. At the north foot of the mountain, the green bamboo forests look like curtains. Walking along the rough passage, the light is quite dim even in the daytime. On the northwest mountainside, the green pines cover the sky and make it a extremely quiet place. On the west side, the mountain is covered by jungle and brushwood, which is an untraversed, peaceful and isolated region. The cedars and chestnuts are distributed in the east of the mountain, where the trees are so green and luxuriant that it is a best place for living in seclusion or strolling along. On the south of the mountain, the old and young pines look like moving green covers. The sound is ceaseless and you can find the amusement of listening to the sounds tastefully.

Location: Tonghai County
Ticket Price: CHN 20
Opening Time: 7:00-8:00
How to get there: Take regular bus from East Kunming Station to Tonghai County. The ticket costs 15 yuan. The distance from Kunming to Tonghai is about 138 km. The Xiushan Mountain is quite near to the downtown area. After arriving at Tonghai, Walk along Nanjie Street to the Xiushan Park.

Maotian Mountain

yuxi9The whole buried zone of fossils in Maotian Mountain winds like snake up to 20 kilometers long, 4.5 meters wide and the depth is more than 50m. The designated protective area is 18 square kilometers, 1.2 square kilometers of which are the core area. Up to now, more than 30 fossil spots have been discovered, and 30 thousand pieces of fossils have been collected. Scientists draw the conclusion that these fossils belong to 40 categories and over 100 kinds, covering all the categories in modern biological classification.

Besides, some of them are once existed and become extinct now, which can only be named after the places where they are unearthed, such as Fuxian Lake Insect, Mount Maotian Insect, Yunnan Insect, Kuama Insect, and so on. Recently, a gratifying news reports the discovery of the world’s oldest vertebrate, namely Haikou Fish (hǎi kǒu yú 海口鱼), in Dianchi Lake (diān chí 滇池) near the boundary of Yuxi and Kunming. The structure and function are even more complex than the Yunnan Insect. This fossil has the largest numbers of categories, the best preserved condition, the most beautiful appearance, the finest quality in all animal fossils discovered in the world so far. So it is a rare and precious treasure in all animal fossils. Recent scientific research has proved that it is the earliest ancestor in the evolution chain, which evolves as fish-amphibian-reptile-mammal-human being.

Location: Chengjiang County
Ticket Price: CHN 20
Opening Time: 8:00-17:30
How to get there: Take air conditioning bus from Yuxi West Station to Chengjiang County seat. There is one bus every half hour. The ticket cost 16.5 yuan.


Connecting Kunming and Yuxi, the Ku-Yu Railroad (kūn yù tiě lù 昆玉铁路), which is the first local railroad built at local expenses in China, has become a new economic main line in Middle Yunan.

yuxi10The highway network is Yuxi is composed of three levels of highways. The National Highways, Kunming -Yuxi Superhighway and Yuxi-Yuanjiang Superhighway, are arterial lines. The highways starting from Yuxi to all the counties, which all exceed second class are frameworks. And the roads leading to all the villages are branch lines.

Passenger Transportation Center: Located in the Shanhu Road Overpass, this station has bus lines to Kunming and other places in the Province. The air condition middle-sized bus costs 18.5 yuan per person. Telephone: 0877-2022807.

West Bus Station: Located in the Qixing Street, the station has bus lines to Chengjiang, Jiangchuan, Yuanjiang, and other places inside the city. However, there are no bus lines to places out Yuxi. Telephone: 0877-2026592.

There are buses and taxis to the scenic spots in Yuxi. It is very convenient for the tourists.

The brands of taxis in Yuxi are Xiali and Santana. If you travel in the downtown area, the taxi fee is not counted according to the meter but charged 5 yuan without exception.

The bus lines in the city are also very convenient. The buses are self-service and cost 0.5 yuan per person.

Useful Numbers

City Phone Code: 0877
Post Code: 653100
Tourist Complaints Call: 0877-96927
Yuxi Municipal Tourism Bureau: 2067406