Yuxi lies in central Yunnan Province. It gets its name from the jade-colored waters of the Yuanjiang River, a tributary of the Pearl River, which flows through the city. The crisp, clear waters resemble beautiful jade ribbons winding through vast fields.
Yuxi borders the provincial capital Kunming to the north, Pu'er City to the southwest, Honghe Hani and Yi Autonomous Prefecture to the southeast, and Chuxiong Yi Autonomous Prefecture to the northwest.
Today, Yuxi administers Hongta District, Jiangchuan County, Chengjiang County, Tonghai County, Huaning County, Yimen County, Eshan Yi Autonomous County, Xinping Yi and Dai Autonomous County, and Yuanjiang Hani, Yi and Dai Autonomous County.
Come appreciate Yuxi's enchanting landscapes and multi-ethnic culture! Stroll along the Yuanjiang River and admire waters so pure and vibrant they look like liquid jade.
Rice Noodle Festival
The Rice Noodle Festival in Yuxi originated as a traditional new year's sacred meeting and fair held from the 1st day of the 1st lunar month to the 15th day of the 2nd lunar month. During the festival, eating rice noodles and singing with flower lanterns were essential activities, earning it the additional names of "Rice Noodle Festival" and "Flower Lantern Festival". While the ancient ritual welcome ceremonies have faded away, locals still uphold the traditions of consuming chewy rice noodles and appreciating flower lanterns during this time. Visitors can sample various Yuxi specialty rice noodle dishes, observe colorful lantern displays, and experience local singing and festivities. Though the religious roots have changed, the Rice Noodle Festival continues to be an important cultural celebration in Yuxi, with rice noodles and lanterns symbolizing a sweet start to the new year.
Flower Street Festival
The Flower Street Festival takes place twice a year in Yuxi's Xinping County, home to many Hani Flower-Waist people. The first festival is held during the 1st lunar month called the "Ascending Flower Street". The second falls in the 5th lunar month, named the "Descending Flower Street". These festivals originated as occasions for young Flower-Waist girls and boys to showcase beauty, find love, and court. Today, the government organizes elaborate festivities featuring costume contests, bamboo weaving, embroidery, cloth making, top spinning, and ethnic accessory displays. Visitors can join in traditions like dancing with Flower-Waist villagers - such as jumping through bamboo poles, reed pipe dancing, silver bell choreography, incense tossing, and eating rice stuffed in bamboo tubes. Through its lively celebrations and traditions, the Flower Street Festival offers an intimate look at the vibrant Flower-Waist culture.
The Nadam Fair is held annually from December 13-15 in Xingmeng Township, Tonghai County, Yuxi, where many Mongolian ethnic minority communities reside. "Nadam" comes from the Mongolian language, also called "Nayar", meaning entertainment, games, and conveying joy for a bountiful harvest. During the festival, locals parade flower lanterns through town, perform dragon dances, and showcase traditional Mongolian dances. In the evenings, people gather around bonfires for the highlight event, energetic mass dancing called "Tiao Le", creating a lively celebratory atmosphere. Visitors can embrace Mongolian heritage by trying local cuisine, observing cultural performances, and joining in the communal revelry. The Nadam Fair offers an immersive experience into harvest season celebrations and the vibrant spirit of Yuxi's Mongolian culture.
Guan Suo Opera is an ancient Chinese opera genre unique to Xiaotun Village, Yangzong Town in Yuxi's Chengjiang County. Performances center around Guan Suo, a heroic fictional character from the Three Kingdoms Shu Han era. Although not found in official records, legends of Guan Suo's bravery have circulated locally since the Song Dynasty. Villagers built temples to worship him, originating Guan Suo Opera as ritual dances to dispel evil. Gradually it evolved into stylized skits for entertainment during the Song court period. Today it is a cherished theatrical tradition for gods and people alike. From the 1st to the 16th day of the 1st lunar month, Xiaotun villagers stage elaborate Guan Suo Opera shows. Ritual offerings and worship at the Music King Temple precede performances. Spectators set off firecrackers in celebration. Actors parade through the village daily, with the program opener "Appointing Generals" on each tour a must. Donning masks and costumes, they sing and dance freely without musical accompaniment, only drum beats. The festival finale involves ceremonially seeing off the gods before storing theater props until the next year.
The scenery of Yuxi on the No. 2 bus
For an immersive taste of Yuxi's dynamic urban energy, hop aboard Bus 2—the quintessential city bus route to Red Pagoda Mountain that also threads through the heart of downtown. As the bus navigates busy boulevards, glimpse snapshots of local life out the window. People-watch residents hustling to work or shopping. Gaze up at glitzy high-rises and malls wedged between traditional shopfronts. Keep an eye out for verdant city parks and tree-lined plazas. With each stop, you’ll absorb new facets of this modernizing city still in touch with its cultural roots. Riding Bus 2 end-to-end lets you mingle with residents, see what they see, and feel Yuxi’s unique personality. Don't just observe Yuxi from afar—get out in its buzzing neighborhoods on buses packed with locals. Blend into the rhythms of rush hour, and experience Yuxi up close through the windows of Bus 2.
The Biological World of the Cambrian Era
The exquisitely preserved fossils unearthed at Mian Peak offer an unprecedented glimpse into the primordial Cambrian world over 500 million years ago. This site contains the greatest diversity and highest quality of peculiar extinct creatures found anywhere on Earth. These extraordinary fossils represent a critical transitional period in evolution from fish to amphibians to reptiles to mammals and eventually humans. Wandering through the museum's halls, marvel at this expansive fossil menagerie vividly bringing to life Earth's ancient oceans teeming with alien organisms. Mian Peak provides an unparalleled record into our planet's primordial biodiversity and the origins of vertebrate life. For insights into the dawn of complex animal life on Earth, step into the Cambrian via this portal to half a billion years ago, when the first stirrings of humanity's ancestry swam through prehistoric seas.
Folk Art Relics, Watching Ancient Nuo Opera in Xiaotuan Village
Experience a living fossil of Chinese theater in Xiaotun Village with the mesmerizing chanting, gonging, and dancing of Guansuo Nuo opera. As highlighted in Zhang Yimou’s film Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles, Nuo drama originated as ritual shamanistic exorcisms in prehistoric China to pray for divine blessings. Its hypnotic masked dances and costumes harken back to ancient totem worship traditions. Performers channel a raw primal energy through repetitive, improvised movements driven by drumbeats. Feel the full force and history of China’s folk heritage watching these village shamans invoke spirits as they have for millennia. As one of the last surviving old Nuo troupes, Xiaotun offers an electrifying portal into vanishing rituals that represent the very roots of Chinese culture. Lose yourself in the spellbinding trance of Guansuo’s mystical, age-old dances, and experience China’s living past firsthand.
Exploring Fuxian Lake
Shrouded in intrigue, Fuxian Lake seduces visitors with legends of sunken citadels, ghostly bodies, and glowing UFOs in its depths. While scuba divers have reported discovering underwater buildings and corpses down below, no proof corroborates these chilling claims. Some boaters swear they’ve spotted gigantic exotic fish surfacing from the murky waters. Villagers allegedly witnessed a luminous disc rise from the lake in 1991. Though unverified, these mysterious accounts fuel speculations that the area is a Bermuda Triangle-like vortex. Off-limits for flights overhead due to purported crashes, Fuxian Lake remains enigmatically elusive. The lake’s true secrets stay submerged for now, awaiting brave explorers. Whether folklore, rumor, or reality, the legends spark curiosity about what really lurks in beguiling Fuxian Lake. Come seek out the unknown, and decipher fact from fiction in this mystical aquatic realm shrouded in centuries-old tales. Adventure on Fuxian Lake offers intrepid travelers immersion into China’s most fascinating riddles.