Zhaotong City is on the northeast edge of Yunnan Province, bordering on Sichuan Province on its northern side and with Guizhou Province on its southeastern side. As the northeastern end of the China’s most southwestern province, Zhaotong is the northern gate of Yunnan Province. Historically culture from central China flowed into Yunnan via Zhaotong from antiquity until modern times. The culture absorbed and developed in Zhaotong over the preceding millennia still resonates strongly today.
For many centuries Zhaotong was a key stopping point along China’s Ancient Tea Horse Road, also known as the Southern Silk Road, which gave it a connection to the world beyond via the constant exchange of goods and culture that took place along the route.
Zhaotong is rich in its ethnic diversity and is home to people of the Han, Hui, Miao, and Yi peoples. In a population of 6.25 million, the largest ethnic minorities are the Yi and Miao. It makes Zhaotong the perfect place to experience their respective cultures through their traditional festivals, local operas, music, dance, cuisine and other arts.
The city is couched comfortably in an exquisitely beautiful natural environment, with extraordinary features such as canyons, rivers, waterfalls, virgin forests, karst caves and hot springs.
One of Zhaotong's most popular attractions is Huanglianhe Scenic Area in Daguan County. In the valleys between the mountains, the area is graced with grand waterfalls, water curtains, caves and heart-stopping landscapes of many shapes and configurations.
One of Zhaotong's most revered natural sights is Dashanbao, a landscape laced with broad fields of waving grass, jutting mountains and deep valleys.
Western Grand Canyon Hot Spring, located on the bank of the Jinsha River, has an ecological garden with many hot springs with a variety of different kinds of chemical composition and health effects. The various pools are identified by more than 30 different labels, such as vinegar, hot spring, wine hot spring and herb hot spring.
Zhaotong is easily accessible through various media of transportation. Zhaotong Airport is 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) east of downtown Zhaotong on the south bank of the Jinsha River. Flights connect to international routes through Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Hangzhou, Chongqing, and Kunming. There is city bus service between airport and downtown Zhaotong.
Zhaotong also has long-distance bus service via the bus station at 144, Longquan Lu, Zhaoyang District. Bus transportation between Zhaoton and Kunming is a six-hour ride. Zhaotong is also connected to cruise lines through its passenger port in Shuifu County, from which ships travel directly to Chongqing, Shanghai and Wuhan.