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Kunming Jiuxiang Cave

As one of the grandest karst caverns in China, JiuXiang Cave(九乡溶洞) overlaps the underground version of Stone Forest, which is only 22km away. Consisting of over one hundred caves, this fairyland formed over 60 million years ago and blessed with spellbinding wonders, has an immediacy that captivates and enchants.
A constellation of caves forms a mysterious underground kingdom, among which some were inhabited by human beings since time immemorial. Rivers with unfathomable depth meander and nurture the most breathtaking underground valleys in China. Either by cableway, hiking or by boating, you can marvel at a forest of stalagmites and stalactites and the over two-millennia-old carvings along precipitous cliffs.
It also houses grotesque stones and the most diversified orchids. Exotic Yi ethnic festivals, opera and wedding customs coupled with out-of-the-world delicacies will make your trip an impeccable culture enlightening expedition.
jiuxiang cave yiliang county

What to see

By far, there are top 10 scenic sites scattering among 5 scenic zones. There are Yincui Valley, Jinhun Valley, Guhechuan Cave, Immortal Cave, Lion Hall, Twin Waterfall, Divine Rice Terraces, Yi Village, Upsidedown Stone Forest and Cableway Sightseeing Route.

Jinhun Valley (or The Grand Canyon): it is the most spectacular underground valley spotted by far in China.

Twin Waterfall (Lover Waterfall): consisting of two waterfalls plunging from a cliff at over 30m, Lover Waterfall is the biggest waterfall within a cave on earth. The same river which passes the Yincui Valley gracefully loses its temper and becomes a furious monster here. The splashing foams resemble its claws while the deafening sound takes after its roaring.

Divine Rice Terraces (Fairy Field): a natural wonder printed on postcards, Divine Rice Terraces forms the quintessential part of Jiuxiang Scenic Region. Against the dazzling artificial lighting system, the cascading “rice terraces” is bewildering to the eye. Encompassing over 100 m2, it reaches a depth of over 10m. You can take the coolest photos here.  (click to see Gallery of Jiuxiang Cave.  )
jiuxiang cave yiliang county

Passing Divine Rice Terraces, you will arrive in Linyin Village, where you can savor Yi culture, 100m below the earth. Lush ancestral worship forest called Mizhi Forest and chieftain fortresses, the defining elements of Yi people, can be found here. If interested, you can experience Yi-style marriage with 29RMB.

Cliff Carvings of Yi people: As we know, Yi people’s script enjoys a history of over 6000-year-old and ranks as Top Six Surviving Scripts in the world. In these caves, you can see over 80 pieces of cliff carvings dating back to (221BC-220AD), that is over 2000 years ago.

Zhangkou Cave Relics: Over 50,000 to 10,000 years ago, it is inhabited by human beings. It is one of the cradles of ancient civilization in Yunnan province. Representing Old Stone Age Culture, it gives much weight to Jiuxiang Scenic Region.
jiuxiang cave yiliang county

Out-of-this-world Flavors

Just as the saying goes: “live in a mountain, feed on it.” It is the very case here. Mountains in Jiuxiang keep churning out a wealth of delicacies include organic vegetables, flowers and mushrooms which enrich the menu of locals significantly. In spring, it is time to enjoy various flowers and vegetables. In summer, you can wolf down dozens of mushrooms which sprout up overnight after a torrent in summer. Winter will see locals switch from busy outdoor labor activities to slow-paced domestic life and enjoy new-prepared bacon, marinated Meat, Dried Beef as well as aromatic and chewy sausage. Take a bite, you will be haunted by the palatable flavor for months. Besides these dishes subject to specific seasons, there are two must-eats in constant supply all year around: Rice Wine of Yi People and Yiliang Roasted Duck.

Rice wine, the national drink of Yi, Miao, Dong, Hani and Zhuang people, is consumed substantially in South China. Golden in color, sweet and fragrant in taste, this beverage made of the most ordinary material: glutinous rice will impress you for its superb taste. It is a drink for all ages and genders. Miao people greet the guests by presenting a cup of Block-the-Way-Wine while Yi people share a tank of with many people through different straws.

Distinguished by crispy skin and fragrant taste, Yiliang Roasted Duck inspired by the centuries-old Beijing Duck, will highlight your culinary adventure in Middle Kingdom. Do not feel surprised by the long queues waiting outside of the restaurants and those eaters who gobble down an elaborately-presented course of duck with lightening speed, because, it is simply too delicious. One day in Jiuxiang, you will leave with wonderful photos, nice memory and highly stimulated tastes buds.
jiuxiang cave yiliang countyjiuxiang cave yiliang county
jiuxiang cave yiliang countyjiuxiang cave yiliang county

What is Fun

Watch Yi Opera in Qidi Yi Village

In the lesser-known Qidi Yi Village (起底彝村) in Jiuxiang, the time-honored and primitive Yi opera still thrives. Rooted in totem and nature worship, this primitive opera involves 24 performers in masks, grass attires and shoes. Accompanied by euphonious music, they stage a wide spectrum of movements such as Lion Dance.
jiuxiang cave yiliang countyjiuxiang cave yiliang county
jiuxiang cave yiliang countyjiuxiang cave yiliang county
jiuxiang cave yiliang countyjiuxiang cave yiliang county
                                                                   (Click to read more about Yi people, culture, attractions....)

Bamboo Rafting: during summer, you can also indulge in the 10-km long Bamboo Rafting

God of Hunting Festival: falling on the first day of the second lunar month, God of Hunting Festival will take place. It offers great opportunity for travelers to unravel their ancient faith, folk dance, bullfighting and love songs.
jiuxiang cave yiliang county
Coloful YI Festival

Travel Guide

Admission Fee: 90RMB
Cableway: 30RMB Boat: Free
Operation time: 9:00-18:00
Advised tour time: one day
Location: Jiuxiang Yi and Hui Autonomous Township, Yiliang County, Kunming
Best Travel Season: all year around (but summer is the golden period)

Insiders’ Tips

It pairs up well with Stone Forest and half a day is needed to explore it. The entry fee covers the 8-seat boat cruising tour along an amazing valley(During which, you can help to paddle, it is very fun). After that, you will spend several hours amid the maze of caverns accessible through a cobbled path full of ups and downs. Maybe you will pant and sweat, but all your effort will be paid off. Because each bend will reveal a new vista and promises visual surprises. In their Yi ethnic attires, guides here will help you navigate this amazing place.

With a sum of 50RMB, you can rent a pair of sedans. Bottled pure water is also available. There are even toilets inside (good news)
Author: Sophia     Posted on June 5, 2013
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