Kunming, the capital of Yunnan Province, is known as the City of Perpetual Spring because its weather is like the spring all year round with bright sunshine and flowers are blooming throughout the year. Kunming is one of the top 10 most popular tourist cities in China, featuring numerous must-see attractions.
Kunming is famous for its first-rate natural scenery, among which the Stone Forest (Shilin) is the most famous one. As “One of the World’s Natural Wonders,” the Stone Forest features natural karst stone formations that resemble a forest; some are elegant, some are rugged, but each has its own distinguishing characteristics that make them seem lifelike. The tall rocks protrude from the ground much like stalagmites or even petrified trees, creating the illusion of a forest completely carved out of stone. A grand Torch Festival of Yi people is held on the 24th of the sixth lunar month every year.
Located at the foot of the Western Hills in southwest Kunming City, Dianchi Lake, or Kunming Lake, is known as “a pearl on the plateau” for its natural beauty. Covering an area of 330 square kilometers, the lake is the largest freshwater lake in Yunnan and the sixth largest in China. The west side of the lake is covered by a lush forest; its east side is popular for fisheries and agribusinesses. There are numerous tourist attractions alongside the lake such as the Yunnan Ethnic Village, Daguan Pavilion and Bamboo Temple. The lake’s sights are at their most beautiful at dawn and sunset, especially when you enjoy the scenery from a boat.
Kunming World Horticultural Expo Garden
Located in the northeastern suburbs of Kunming, the Kunming World Horticultural Expo Garden was the site of the 1999 Kunming International Horticultural Exposition. It consists of five main exhibition halls, seven themed gardens, three outdoor exhibition areas and two big squares. Inside this garden, you can enjoy over 2,551 different kinds of plants, among which 112 categories are considered to be rare and are in fact listed as endangered species.
Guandu Ancient Town
Located at 8 kilometers southeast suburbs of Kunming, it is one of the famous historical towns in Kunming and also one of the birthplaces of Dian culture. The less than 1.5 square kilometers area contains 5 hills, 6 temples, 7 pavilions and 8 shrines, built during the Tang (618-907), Song (960-1279), Yuan (1206-1368), Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1616-1911) dynasties.
Xishan Forest Park
The Xishan Forest Park is located alongside the Dianchi Lake, 15 kilometers from Kunming City. The park, extending for more than 40 kilometers at an altitude of 1,900-2,350 meters, boasts green forests, rolling hills, flowing streams and marvelous grottos. It has been hailed a “Plateau pearl” for its beautiful scenery. The main scenic spots include Huating Temple, Taihua Temple, Sanqing Pavilion and Dragon Gate.
Jiuxiang Cave Scenic Area
Located 90 kilometers from Kunming City, Jiuxiang is a scenic area famed for its striking karst caves, beautiful natural landscape, deep valleys, magnificent underground scenery and enchanting ethnic cultures. Covering a total area of around 200 square kilometers, it contains more than 100 karst caves going back some 600 million years, the most in number and largest in scale in China, hence it is reputed to be “a karst cave museum”. The five major scenic spots across the area include the Triangular Caves, the Overlapping Rainbow Bridge, the Upper Big Cave, the Long Sandy Bank and the Bright Moon Lake.
Jiaozi Snow Mountain
Jiaozi (Sedan) Snow Mountain, in the north of Kunming City, has become famous because its main peak looks like a sedan chair, known as the first mountain in the middle Yunnan. It is famed for its beautiful scenery of sea of clouds, Buddhist halo, sunrise, ice and snow world and sea of azalea. It will become an important ecological alpine tourist area in middle Yunnan after the construction of the projects for cross-country mountaineering, scientific study, alpine sightseeing and tour, and self-driving tour being completed.
Dongchuan Red Land
Dongchuan Red Land refers to a large area of red land located in Xintian Town, 40km southwest of Dongchuan District, Kunming. Because of the warm and humid climate in Yunnan, the Iron oxide in the soil deposited slowly through years and gradually developed an extraordinary reddish brown soil. Dongchuan has the world’s most imposing red earth, even more magnificent than that in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. If there is one word that best captures Dongchuan Red Land, it must be “palette”. Red, green, white and yellow are matched into rolling rainbow ribbons stretching to sky. Dongchuan Red Land is more and more favored by backpackers, hikers and photographers.
Daguan Park (Grand View Park)
Daguan Park, or Grand View Park, is 2 kilometers southwest of Kunming and close to Dianchi Lake. The construction started during the Qing Dynasty. Inside the park are blooming flowers, green trees and unique pavilions, towers, bridges and streams, looking like a wonderland. The three-story Daguan Pavilion built by the water is very attractive and features a couplet hanging on the doorpost. Reputed as the “longest couplet in China”, it has 180 characters which describe the beautiful scenery of the Dianchi Lake in the first line and the history of Yunnan in the second.
Yunnan Nationalities Village
Located on the northern shore of Dianchi Lake, Kunming City, the Yunnan Nationalities Village showcases the culture, lifestyles and customs of the ethnic groups living in Yunnan Province. Thus far, 25 sub-villages of the minorities such as Dai, Bai, Yi, Naxi and Zhuang, have been constructed across the 1,264.96-mu-wide (84.33 hectares) scenic area. You can learn more about the various cultures, architecture, music and religious beliefs of these ethnic groups, while enjoying the scenery and landscaping of the scenic spot. You can also choose to take part in all kinds of activities and festival celebrations or have a taste of the village’s local food.