Kunming Attractions | Top 12 Attractions in Kunming
Kunming is the capital of Yunnan Province, known as the City of Eternal Spring. Picture pleasant flowers that shower the land with colors all year long. You can have a leisure stroll in this comfortable city to explore its beauty. In Kunming downtown area, travelers usually would like to spend half day or even one day to visit Western Hill and its Dragon Gate around Dian Lake, Yunnan Ethic Village, Green Lake Park or Flowers and Birds Market.
Kunming for most travelers means the most important gateway city in Yunnan Province. From here, you can travel out to explore Stone Forest (half day), Dongchuan Red Land (1-2 days), Jiuxiang Scenic Area (half day), Jiaozi Snow Mountain (1 day) and extend to Yuanyang Rice Terrace or Jianshui Old Town for more stunning experience. Check the top 12 attractions in and around Kunming to get inspired your Kunming tour!
- Top Kunming Attractions
- Featured Activities
No.1: Stone Forest
Type: National Geography Park, World Nature Heritage Site
Location: 85 km from Kunming Downtown, about 1.5 hours’ driving
Thanks to the karst features, Kunming Stone Forest owns a reputation as one of Chinese four natural wonders. With protection zone for over 350 square kilometers, tourists can view the scenic spots of large and small stone forests, Li Ziying stone forests, Black Pine Rocks, etc. By entering the spots area, you can see kinds of stone pillars, walls and pinnacle mixed together, some stone pillars are up to 40-50 meters, like a primitive maze. All these natural landscape not only make you marveled at the extreme karsts topography, but also touch you with moving stories, like” Ashima”, which is one part of Yi ethnic group historic culture.
No.2: Kunming Western Hill (Xishan)
Type: Historic Sites, Scenic Spots
Distance: 30 km from Kunming Downtown, about 0.5 hour’s driving
From ancient times, Western Hill enjoys the fame with its excellent scenery, dense forests, prosperous flowers and peaceful surroundings. It also known for another name: Sleeping Beauty Hill. View from southeast of Kunming, Western Hill is like a beauty laying on her back beside Dianchi Lake, hence comes the name.
Kunming Western Hill is a large forest park with many scenic spots including Huating Temple, Taihua Temple, Sanqing Pavilion and Dragon Gate. Among them, Huating Temple is the biggest temple in Kunming, and Dragon Gate is the largest and most beautiful Taoism Cave in Yunnan. You can view cultural relics and fabulous sceneries here.
No.3: Dongchuan Red Land
Type: Natural Landscape, Scenic Spots
Location: 150 km from Kunming Downtown, about 3 hours’ driving
Located in Xintian town, Dongchuan District, northeast of Kunming, Dongchuan Red Land is said to be have more ornamental value compared with red land of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Due to the subtropical and tropical climate, combined with marine sediments of karst landforms, Dongchuan Red Land shows the bright red soil and red ocher. For thousands of years, people farming here with different varieties of crops, making red land more colorful and coherent with nature. Now Dongchuan Red Land is becoming a paradise for photographers. Each year they can catch different stunning views.
No.4: Green Lake (Cui Hu)
Type: Public Park, Scenic Spots
Distance: 3 km from Kunming downtown, within 15 minutes’ driving
Green Lake as a public park, with its beautiful environment, is called “Jade in Kunming”. And thanks to the location, it’s a good place for sightseeing Kunming downtown area. Every winter there are a lot of seagulls flew to Kunming from Siberia for hibernate, Green Lake is one part of habitat. At that time, Green Lake is quite crowded with thousands of seagulls flying around. Walking along the lakeside and feeding seagulls if you want are great way to enjoy the leisure time in Kunming.
No.5: Jiuxiang Scenic Area
Type: Natural Landscape, Scenic Spots
Location:105 km from Kunming Downtown, about 1.5-2 hours’ driving
Situated in Yiliang County, Kunming, Jiuxiang Scenic Area is known as the karst caves clusters. With over 200 square kilometers, Jiuxiang Scenic Area has hundreds of large and small caves, including Wolong Cave, Bat Cave, Lion Cave and more attractions. It is the largest and most exotic cave landscape community system. Some cave landscapes are rarely to be seen in other places. Outside these caves, there are natural sceneries of thrilling gorge and Yincui gorge.
No.6: Dian Lake (Dian Chi)
Type: Natural Landscape, Scenic Spots
Distance: 14 km from Kunming downtown, about 40 minutes’ driving
Dian Lake is the largest freshwater lake in Yunnan Province and the sixth largest one in China. With 1,886 meters above sea level, Dian Lake has an area of 306.3 square kilometers and owns the water capacity of 15.7 billion cubic meters. Due to the magnificent, broad water surface, Dian Lake has a fame of “Pearl on the Plateau”.
There are many scenic spots around Dian Lake, including Xishan Forest Park, Yunnan Ethnic Village, Yunnan Nationalities Museum, etc. You can take cable car or boat to view the fantastic scenery, and walk along the lake to explore some interesting places overland.
No.7: Yunnan Ethnic Village
Type: Humanities Villages, Scenic Spots
Distance: 12 km from Kunming downtown, about 0.5 hour’s driving
Nearby Dian Lake, covering an area of 89 hectares, Yunnan Ethnic Villages is an epitome to show different culture, buildings, musical dances, religions, living environment from different ethnic groups of Yunnan. It’s the ideal place to experience minority culture and history. Besides, there are performances played by 25 ethnic nationalities to present their unique folk cultures, which will give you a vivid understanding about their social customs.
No.8: Flowers and Birds Market
Type: Public Market, Shopping Market
Distance: 1.4 km from Kunming downtown
Since 1983 the Flowers and Birds Market came out at Yongdao Street, Kunming Downtown. With years passing by, it becomes a trading market for flowers, birds and antiques as well as one of the good places for sightseeing. You can tour around casually without buying anything, or explore some unique stuff for souvenirs. The price is reasonable and bargain is possible too.
No.9: Yuantong Temple
Type: Historic Sites, Sacred & Religious Sites
Distance: 4 km from Kunming downtown, about 20 minutes’ driving
With a history over 1200 years, Yuantong Temple situated at south of Yuantong Hill in the heart of Kunming is the largest Buddhist temple in Kunming. It was first built in the late 8th and early 9th century, the time of Nanzhao Kingdom in the Tang Dynasty. Well linked with Green Park, travelers can enjoy a relaxing walk from the park to Yuantong Temple within 10 minutes. Getting inside the temple, you can visit Yuantong Wonderful Realm, Octagonal Pavilion, Yuantong Hall, Copper Buddha Hall and more architectures. Yuantong Temple is a beautiful spot to relax and escape the hustle and bustle of the city.
No.10: Yunnan Provincial Museum
Type: Museums, Specialty Museums
Distance: 15 km from Kunming downtown, about 30 minutes’ driving
Originally built in 1951, Yunnan Provincial Museum is a comprehensive museum in Kunming. It have a collection of 226,660 cultural relics, including paintings, bronze wares, stamp, coins, golden and silver wares, jade wares, lacquerware, embroidery, blue and white porcelains, seals, pottery, ethnic cultural relics, inscriptions and more items. Travelers paying a visit to Yunnan Provincial Museum can have a better understanding of Yunnan’s ethnic minorities and as well as know the history and artifacts from tomb excavations at Jinning on the southern rim of Dian Lake.
No.11: Jiaozi Snow Mountain
Type: Scenic Spots, Natural Scenery
Location: 166 km from Kunming Downtown
Located in the northwest of Dongchuan District, Kunming, Jiaozi Snow Mountain has a natural landscape with magnificent mountains, rich flora and fauna species. It’s named after the mountain peak shaped like a bridal sedan chair. With 4247 meters above sea level, the scenic views are fascinating, including sea of azalea flowers, mountain waterfalls and shapes of mountain lakes. All are the must-sees when you tour Jiaozi Snow Mountain.
No.12: Golden Temple (Jin Dian)
Type: Temple, Scenic Spots
Distance: 12 km from Kunming Downtown, about 30 minutes' driving
The Golden Temple also known as Taihe Palace or Tongwa Temple (Bronze Temple) is the famous Taoist temple in Yunnan. Built by bronze, the main temple gives out sparkling light like gold, so it was called Golden Temple.
This temple is a square shape of 6.15 meters wide and 6.7 meters high with total weight of about 200 tons. The delicate carving, well-proportioned design and graceful appearance, all make Golden Temple an extremely realistic imitation of a fine wooden classical architecture. Although Golden Temple has experienced hundreds of years of ups and downs, it is still the largest and best preserved pure bronze temple in China.
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