Located in the provinces eastern reaches, within close proximity to Guizhou and Guangxi, Qujing has long been considered a gateway to Yunnan province. During the early Tang dynasty, Qujing played a role as a political and economic capital and is today only surpassed in importance and size by the province's capital Kunming, 160 km (99.4 mi) to the city's south-west.
Today's Qujing doesn't have a great deal to offer the average tourist; however the surrounding regions boast some noteworthy scenic spots and attractions. A couple of hours drive to the south east of town are the Jiulong Waterfalls—a series of 10 waterfalls of varying heights resembling a terraced landscape. Closer to the center of town are the Tiansheng Caves which extend more than 1.5 km (approx. 1 mi) below the surface, well known for their musical stalactites.
Qujing's and its surrounding areas are home to the Yi, Zhuang, Miao, Yao, and other ethnic minorities—all with their own unique clothing, customs, beliefs and festivals. On the 3rd day of the 3rd lunar month the Buyi people will gather to celebrate the Cutworm Festival where they will sing, dance and exchange tokens of love before disappearing into the forest on romantic adventures. In another festival in early April, the Buyi celebrate the birth of the "Buffalo King" by adorning their buffalo with red ribbons. Locals will feed the honored beasts five-colored glutinous rice and allow them to drink tea and rice wine.
Other festivals of interest are the Flower Hill Show (early January) where the Miao people celebrate in festive regalia, and the Torch Festival (some time in late June—different minority groups celebrate it at different times), which is the local ethnic groups equivalent of the Han Chinese's Spring Festival.