Founded in 960 AD before Yunnan province was even part of China, Yuxi has sometimes been called "one of the fastest growing small cities in China." Yuxi is "small", which is a rare adjective used to describe any city in China, the population is mainly composed of ethinic minorities which give the place a unique cultural flavor. Although little known to foreign travellers, Yuxi is nice, scenic surprise with rolling hills, the lake and lush nature. One little fun fact is that the composer of China's National Anthem, Nie Er, came from Yuxi.
Smokers will be happy to know that Yuxi is the home of the Hongta cigarette company, named in honor of the Red Pagoda that is perched on a hill overlooking the city. During the Cultural Revolution the color of the pagoda was changed from white to red. The area is ideal for growing quality tobacco due to the 2,300 hours of sunlight a year, fertile soil, and sufficient rain during the summer months. In addition to tobacco, this region also grows of vast amounts of fruit and vegetables and most recently, wine.
Close to the city of Yuxi is Fuxian Lake, famous for being the second-deepest lake in China. The Yuxi Museum has a display of fossils discovered in the lake that is worth checking out.
Also worth mentioning is the lovely Fin du Monde Cafe on Small Temple Street Xiao Miao Jie, which is a good place to get advice about what is happening in the area. The owners speak English and it's generally a useful hub of information.