Information & Flights
Kunming, with a metropolitan population of close to 6.5 million people is the largest city of Yunnan Province and serves as its capital city. With its higher elevation and moderate temperatures, Kunming has become known for its flower growing industry and holds many flower expos and shows. Kunming is also the cultural, educational and economic hub of the province and home to many museums and universities. Kunming has seen rapid development in recent decades and has become a modern city with a growing skyline.
As developed as Kunming has become, it is also an ancient city with a rich and colourful past. Over the centuries, control of the city changed through conflict and war. Some of the ruling dynasties were the Han, Ming and Qing as well as several others. Kunming’s recent history has been marked by modernization, development and growth as the city looks to expand its reach both in transportation links and economic ties. As the economic hub of Yunnan, Kunming is home to many of the regions corporations and industrial plants making this a primary exporter of Chinese goods.
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The city has many main streets and squares that are popular with residents and tourists alike. In the mornings public squares are filled with residents doing taijiquan or amateur theatre on the weekends. The intersection of Nanping Lu and Zhengyi Lu is a bustling shopping district with department stores and other consumer goods shops. Jinbi Lu area is home to ancient pagodas, places of worship and is a laid back part of the city where people enjoy social gatherings over tea, relaxing with friends in the parks.
Kunming is filled with many historic temples, pagodas and other structures that date back centuries. Take a stroll past these ancient wonders and enjoy the nearby parklands, plazas or city squares where residents can be found enjoying the day with exercise or relaxation. Eating out is a typical pastime and Chinese cuisine is always a treat. Kunming restaurants use the freshest ingredients, from vegetables, herbs and spices. For those who love flowers and plants, the Dounan Flower Market is China’s largest, offering thousands of different selections.
Jinbi Road and Central Kunming
Jinbi Road is a major thoroughfare in central Kunming with a mix of shopping, hotels and historic sites with beautiful architecture. Just north of Jinbi is Yuantong Temple, one of the city’s most popular and historic attractions. The Yunnan Nationalities Village is an excellent recreation of ethnic Yunnan villages and features food markets and souvenir shops. Many popular bars and theatres can also be found near Jinbi.
In the heart of Kunming’s cultural and government district, this is a convenient location for the business district as well as many tourist attractions. Shopping and commercial business is also prevalent in this area. Nanping Street is a popular and enjoyable pedestrian street decorated with sculptures. Lined with shops and restaurants, this is an enjoyable place to pass the time.
The attractive campus of Yunnan University faces Green Lake and is surrounded by lush gardens, beautiful cherry trees and plants. Green Lake and Cuihu Park is known for its birdlife and is a prime location for photography and to view migrating Siberian seagulls. The park is a popular place to relax with a good book or picnic. All of this is within a short distance to central Kunming.
At 370 square km in size, Lake Dian or Kunming Lake is the largest freshwater lake in Yunnan Province and is appropriately nicknamed the “Sparkling Pearl imbedded in a highland”. Known for its picturesque settings, the lake and its surrounding areas are a popular getaway and recreation spot for area residents. The lake is surrounded by rolling hills and lovely valleys with trickling streams winding their way down to the lake. This is an ideal area for hiking, photography, bird watching or a peaceful sail on the calm waters.
This ornate Buddhist temple was built in the late 8th century and is one of Kunming’s most treasured historic sites. Entering the temple from above, visitors stroll along an inviting landscaped path as they make their way down to the temple and its peaceful ponds and gardens. A lovely stone bridge connects the temple entrance to the centuries old Yuantong Hall located in the temple centre. Continue up the stone staircases carved out of the mountain side to catch a glimpse of the ornate temple from above.
Cuihu Park (Green Lake Park)
Designed as early as the 17th century, Cuihu Park (Green Lake Park) is a lovely urban green space known for its lakes, willow trees and birdlife. Winter time still offers moderate temperatures and is when the red-beaked Siberian seagulls migrate to Kunming’s warmer climate. The natural setting of the park is ideal for a leisurely stroll, picnics or a place to simply enjoy the sun. The inviting paved trail winds through lush grounds, over stone bridges and along bamboo covered lakeside areas.
Yunnan Provincial Museum
Located in a stunning and historic white columned building, the Yunnan Provincial Museum houses exhibitions on Yunnan’s unique ethnic cultures displays important archaeological discoveries from the province. Its extensive collection of historic artefacts range from rare coins, Chinese paintings, stone tablets with inscriptions and much more. There are also displays which highlight the ancient tombs and burial sites of the area featuring many artefacts from these digs.
With the growth of Kunming in recent years, high rise hotels have sprouted up throughout the city. While popular Chinese hotel names may dot the area, the city is still lacking in large, internationally known brands. Still, accommodation types range in quality and price, from luxury to budget and visitors will be sure to find a hotel to their liking. Most hotels are located in the city centre.
Two primary locations for hotels in the city are in Central Kunming near Jinbi Road or the area surrounding Yunnan University. The Jinbi Road area is situated near business and government sites but is also close to busy shopping districts as well as popular city squares and historic sites. Hotels near or around the vicinity of Yunnan University feature access to the lovely Green Lake Park area as well as several other universities. Public transportation from this area is easily accessible and service is frequent.