Undulating mountains of reddish-brown soil, often densely covered in pine forests, characterise the landscape, with settlements far and few between. The trading route from Kunming to Dali, through Lufeng, Chuxiong and Nanhua, and the route north to Chengdu, through Wuding, Yuanmou and Yongren, apart the region remained inaccessible and unexplored until the second half of the 20th century. As there was not any mineral wealth nor many fertile valleys to speak of, few Han settlers felt tempted to settle in the region and even today some communities are formed almost entirely of ethnic minorities. The region’s tourist attractions are limited: the Yuanmou Earth Forest is one of the geological wonders of the region, with its eroded valleys, while the Yi, scattered amongst many valleys, have a number of colourful festivals, such as the Costume Festival in Santai or the main Torch Festival celebrated throughout. Sizeable groups of Lisu live in Wuding and Yuanmou County, some Miao in Wuding and Lufeng. Interesting are a number of Dai settlements in Yongren, Dayao, Yuanmou and Wuding Counties, the northernmost settlements of the Dai people.
Heijing is a small town in the northern Chuxiong mountains. Salt once made Heijing one of Yunnan's richest towns. Now its architectural splendours are being rediscovered.
As villages go, Zhizuo could hardly be more remote. Some 70km from the county town, first along a winding mountain road, then on a deeply rutted track without public transport: even in the dry season it takes several hours and a bit of stamina to reach. Yet, at least on the first full moon of the year, the effort is worth it, as Zhizuo holds one of Yunnan's most colourful festivals, the Dress Competition Festival or Caizhuangjie 赛装节.
Mountains and forests dominate this sparsely populated and poorly connected county.
An upland county with plenty of Yi and Miao.
Woba Festival 26 Apr 2023
Water Splashing Festival 27 Apr 2023
Master Earth 17 May 2023
Yi Costume Festival 17 May 2023
Baimakou Village Festival 17 May 2023
Mouding March Fair 17 May 2023
Dongpo Fair 26 May 2023
Prince Festival 26 May 2023
Flower Mountain 22 Jun 2023
Waxberry Festival 23 Jul 2023
Changmei Festival 07 Aug 2023
Yi Torch Festival 10 Aug 2023
Gaofeng Torch Festival 13 Aug 2023
Jumping Song Fair 30 Aug 2023
Confucius Festival 11 Oct 2023
Holy Crane Festival 21 Oct 2023
Yi New Year 16 Nov 2023
Meige Festival 20 Nov 2023
Longsa Festival 11 Feb 2024
Jumping Tiger Festival 17 Feb 2024
Lantern Festival 17 Feb 2024
Dragon King 22 Feb 2024
Costume Competition 24 Feb 2024
Flower Festival 12 Mar 2024
Dancing Tiger Festival 17 Mar 2024
Cattle Festival 17 Mar 2024
Flower Arranging Festival 17 Mar 2024
Heinishan Bathing Festival 17 Mar 2024
Camellia Festival 17 Mar 2024