World Horticulture Exposition Garden
In 1999 World Horticulture Exposition was held in Kunming and the Garden is located at the northeast suburbs of the city at the foot of the hill. The garden consists of five main exhibition halls (China Hall, International Hall, Man and Nature Hall, Green House Hall and the Science and Technology Hall), seven themed gardens (Vegetable and Fruit Garden, Bamboo Garden, Bonsai Plants Garden, Tea Garden, Medicinal Herb Garden, Tree Garden, and Famous Flowers and Unique Stones Garden), 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.
The China Hall is the biggest indoor hall of the 1999 Kunming International Horticultural Exposition. It has integrated the characteristics of the architectural style of the Han Dynasty (202B.C.-220A.D.) with that of southern China’s residential buildings. The main colors of the hall are green and white, symbolizing the harmony between mankind and nature.
The International Outdoor Exhibition Area includes 34 exhibition parks by 32 countries from 5 continents and 2 international organizations. The Domestic Outdoor Exhibition Area is composed of 34 exhibition parks by 31 provinces, municipalities, autonomous regions, Hongkong, Macao and Taiwan, an exquisite microcosm of splendid of China.
Western Hills Forest Reserve
Western Hills Forest Reserve (Xishan Forest Park) is situated 15 kilometers to the west suburbs of Kunming. The park extends for more than 40 kilometers (24.85 miles) at an altitude of 1,900-2,350 meters, with undulating peaks and towering trees. It has the main scenic spots of Huating Temple, Taihua Temple, Sanqing Pavilion and Dragon Gate. Huating Temple, standing by the peak with an elevation of 2,050 meters, is a famous sacred place for Buddhism with large and magnificent halls and buildings. Taihua Temple has a lot of flowers and trees and its Wanghai Building is the right place to watch the sunrise. A group of buildings were built on the cliff of Arhat Peak, the main peak of Western Hills, such as Sanqing Pavilion and Dragon Gate. Stone road, and ancient chambers, fence, kilns and Buddhas are the cream of the beautiful scenery of Western Hills. Looking afar from the top of the Dragon Gate you will have a panoramic view of the Dianchi Lake.
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. There are many inscriptions on horizontal boards and couplets. Among them the most noteworthy one is the couplet hanging on the doorpost by the water. 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. Reputed as the “longest couplet in China”, it is a celebrated work known through the ages. Daguan Pavilion is now one of the top 10 most famous pavilions in China; the other nine are Tengwang Pavilion in Jiangxi, Yueyang Pavilion in Hunan, Yellow Crane Tower in Hubei, Guanque Tower in Shanxi, Penglai Pavilion in Shandong, Yuejiang Pavilion in Jiangsu, Tianxin Pavilion in Hunan, the Drum and Bell Towers in Shaanxi and Tianyi Pavilion in Zhejiang.
Cuihu Park (Green Lake Park)
Located in the center of Kunming and facing the main gate of Yunnan University, the Cuihu Park (or Green Lake Park) is a beautiful urban park nicknamed the “Jade of Kunming.” It features lakes, islands, pavilions, ponds and bridges, with two long dikes lined by willow trees and blooming flowers. The park has the main scenic spots of Haixin Pavilion, Water and Moon Pavilion, Fish-watching Tower and a large area of water. The best season to visit the park is winter, when flocks of red-pecked seagulls migrate here to escape the Siberian chill. It is an excellent place to have a picnic, go for a stroll or take a boat across the lake.