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Kunming Travel

Kunming Travel Guide

Kunming, located at the center of Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau, is the capital city of Yunnan Province. It has the beautiful reputation as "Spring City" to make people love its all year round warm season seeming spring, which even draws groups of black-necked gulls to spend their warm winter holiday there every year. Enjoying the beautiful surrounding mountainous landscapes, Kunming is always favored by travelers to fully relax with the radiant and enchanting spring scene - the warm sunshine, azure and transparent sky, and fresh flowers spreading all over. The beauty of Kunming is not strong, but light to give you the most comfortable vacation with the relaxing mood that you can find abundant surprises at every corner in and around the large city.

Kunming has quite more than blossoms and warmness of weather and diverse ethnic minority people, including the incredible UNESCO World Heritage Stone Forest, paradise Dongchuan Red Land, wonderful Jiuxiang Karst caves, etc. for your free imagination of the creator nature. While, as an experienced old capital city, Kunming will take you to see the various looks of its ancient and modern appearances for your cultural knowledge enrichment no matter during the many ethnic festivals or international gatherings. Moreover, with developed transportation network connecting many other destinations within the province, Kunming is nearly the necessary start for one’s discovery of the amazing Yunnan!

Why Visit this City:

  • Spring City – The weather in Kunming is always like spring, and the city is always covered with fresh flowers and green trees. Walking on the street and brushing pass with the carefree locals, you will be affected by this city’s freshness and leisure.
  • Abundant Stunning Sceneries – Kunming’s natural landscape will let you love the gifts from nature, including the UNESCO World Natural Heritage listed Stone Forest, God’s Magic Palette at Dongchuan Red Land, underground amazing colorful world of Jiuxiang Karst Cave, magnificent Dianchi Lake, tranquil Western Hill, beautiful Jiaozi Snow Mountain, and countless blooming flowers in every season…
  • Colorful Ethnic Culture – Kunming is multi-ethnic city, and there are 26 ethnic minorities in Kunming, including Yi, Hui, Bai, Miao, Hani, Zhuang, Dai, etc. Delicious ethnic food, colorful costumes, unique architecture and special ethnic culture are all fascinating.
  • Best Start of Yunnan Discovery – being the prosperous provincial capital city with convenient bullet trains and domestic and international flights with lots of hot destinations and advantageous transfer with Lijiang, Shangri-La, Dali, Yuanyang, etc., Kunming is the best landing start for your trip in Yunnan!

Top Attractions

Kunming is a city of eternal spring, a city of awe-inspiring attractions, and a city of multi-ethnic cultures. There are so many things to see and feel in Kunming. Almost the essences of Kunming are located in Xishan District, including Dianchi Lake, Western Hill, Yunnan Ethnic Villages, and so on. And within short driving distance, you can embrace the fascinating Stone Forest, Dongchuan Red Land, Jiaozi Snow Mountain, etc. See more attractions in Kunming, please see Kunming Attractions | Top Kunming Things to Do >>

Stone Forest
Stone Forest

Formed 270 million years ago, Stone Forest is the oldest karst landform in China. Listed as the UNESCO World Natural Heritage site, it is No.1 attraction in Kunming!

Western Hill
Western Hill

Western Hills is a forest park sitting next to the beautiful Dian Lake, and historical sites spread among the green forest. This is a great place for relaxing and hiking.

Dongchuan Red Land
Dongchuan Red Land

Reputed as the God’s Palette, rich in dreamy colors of red, green, white, yellow…, Dongchuan Red Land is a top favored paradise for photographers!

Green Lake Kunming
Green Lake Kunming

This park is the jade and eye of Kunming and favored for a leisure walk. Diverse summer lotus flowers and winter black-headed gulls are not to be missed!

Yuantong Temple
Yuantong Temple

With 1,200 years’ history, it is the city’ largest temple site and attracts numerous visitors by the rich Buddhist features and lovely garden styled layout with ponds, pavilions, corridors…!

Dianchi Lake
Dianchi Lake

This national No.6 largest alpine lake is the pearl of Kunming for relaxing sightseeing. It is another hot place to play with the black-headed gulls in winter!

Bird and Flower Market Kunming
Bird and Flower Market

Birds and Flowers Markets in Kunming selling various flowers, birds, fishes... is a nice place to hang out and get close to authentic daily life of local citizens.

Jiuxiang Karst Caves

It is praised as the museum of Karst caves with over 100 in various sizes. Take the boat and escalator down to explore the colorful large palace belowground!

Yunnan Nationalities Museum
Yunnan Nationalities Museum

This Southeast Asia's largest ethnography museum collects over 120,000 pieces of cultural relics for a comprehensive understanding of diverse ethnic minorities in Yunnan.

Jiaozi Snow Mountain
Jiaozi Snow Mountain

As the highest snow mountain in Kunming, it is favored for mountaineering. Azalea flowers, alpine meadow and bamboo jungle are the three bests of the mountain.

Luoping Rapeseed Flowers

Luoping County, in the east of Kunming about 213km away, is famous for the Golden Rapeseed Flowers Sea which is blooming prosperously in spring.

Weather & When to Go

Kunming Weather Kunming Weather

Kunming is featured in subtropical monsoon climate of low latitude plateau, with an average temperature around 15℃, and average rainfall of 1450 millimeters. Kunming has a moderate climate and no intense heat in summer and severe cold in winter. The year temperature difference ranks the lowest in China, thus, it’s been called the Spring City in China.

Kunming is really suitable to visit any time of a year. However, the best time is from March to October. Most flowers in Kunming will blossom during this time, and most Yunnan ethnic festivals are in this time, too. The temperature difference between summer and winter is not very large. So even in summer, once it rains, it’s a little bit cold, thus, tourists need to bring a coat during that season. And usually, June to August are the rainy months in Kunming, so you are highly suggested to prepare rain gear if visiting during that time. For those who want to watch black-headed gull or appreciate the snow scenery of Jiaozi Snow Mountain, then November to next March is the best time to visit. Since UV rays in Kunming is a little strong than most other destination in China, sun block, sunglasses, hats, etc. are recommended!

For more information, please check Kunming Weather & Best Time to Visit Kunming >>


Kunming Changshui International Airport Kunming Railway Station Kunming Metro

Getting to Kunming

By flight: Kunming Changshui International Airport is the gateway airport facing to Southeast Asia, South Asia and connecting Europe and Asia. There are over 100 airlines to major cities in China including Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Xian, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing, Hangzhou, Changsha, Wuhan, Guilin, Zhangjiajie, Xiamen, Huangshan, Lhasa, Shenzhen, Zhengzhou, Sanya, Tianjin, Dalian, Harbin, Lanzhou, Luoyang, etc. and foreign cities, like Singapore, Paris, Seoul, Tokyo, Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai, Yangon, Colombo, Kathmandu, Dubai, etc.

By train: there are three train stations in Kunming, while Kunming South Railway Station and Kunming North Railway Station are mainly used for bullet trains, including those to and from Dali (2-3 hours), Lijiang (3 hours) and Stone Forest (20 minutes) every days. Also, there are high speed trains to some major destinations in China, like Beijing (11 hours), Shanghai (11 hours), Hong Kong (7.5 hours), Xian (10.5 hours), Guangzhou (6.5 hours), Chengdu (5.5 hours), Guiyang (2 hours), Guilin (8 hours), Shenzhen (7 hours), Nanning (4 hours), etc. Learn more about Kunming Bullet Trains

Getting Around Kunming

To get around in Kunming, travelers can take taxi, subway, public bus and BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) to transfer to most attractions, airport, train stations, accommodation areas, etc. If travelers want to visit Dongchuan Red Land, Stone Forest, Jiuxiang Karst caves scenic area, Luoping Rape Flowers, etc. we highly recommend you use our local private car service, so our local English-speaking guide and experienced driver will escort you directly to the scenic area with speed and safety by our comfortable licensed private vehicle, so you can save more time and attention on the highlights instead of finding the way! If you need any help, please feel free to tell us directly!

Learn more about:

How to Get to & Around Kunming | Kunming to Stone Forest | Kunming to Dongchuan Red Land | Kunming to Dali | Kunming to Lijiang | Kunming to Shangri-La | Kunming to Yuanyang | Kunming to Xishuangbanna


Kunming Hotels

There are lots of choices for hotels in Kunming, from international luxury hotels to youth hostels. Tourists can also find Crowne Plaza and InterContinental here in Kunming downtown. For your convenient sightseeing of the most highlights, you are suggested arrange your accommodation around the Green Lake Park to enjoy both short distance to the attractions, convenient buying and night walks and medium ratings. Hotels near Kunming Airport are also popular to choose to save the time on the way for early flight catching. While if you are planning a visit to Dongchun Red Land, at least one night staying there is suggested. Besides, prices of hotels in Kunming are usually lower than those in other large cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, etc.

Learn more about: Where to Stay in Kunming | Kunming Luxury Hotels | Kunming Comfort Hotels | Kunming Budget Hotels

Useful Kunming Maps

To help you to know more about Kunming attractions, we have selected some useful Kunming maps for you, including Kunming China Map, Kunming Yunnan Map, Kunming Attractions Map, Kunming & Surrounding Distance Map, Kunming Stone Forest Map, Dongchuan Red land Map, etc. For more maps of Kunming, please see Kunming Maps 2023 >>

Kunming China Map

Kunming China Map

Kunming Yunnan Map

Kunming Yunnan Map

Kunming & Surrounding Distance Map

Kunming & Surrounding Distance Map

Kunming Attraction Map

Kunming Attraction Map

Stone Forest Map

Stone Forest Map

Dongchuan Red Land Map

Dongchuan Red Land Map

Other Hot Destinations in Yunnan

Besides Kunming, there are many other hot destinations in Yunnan, like Lijiang, Shangri-la, Dali, Yuanyang and Jianshui, etc. Check the travel guide of each destination and discover now!

Other Popular Destinations in China

China is vast and diverse. Besides Kunming and the colorful Yunnan, you can enrich your trip to more wonderful destination to enjoy more beautiful sceneries, historical culture, etc. Following are 4 top popular destinations you may get interested in. Please check the travel guide of each destination to start. Also, you can check all our popular travel destinations in China!

Kunming Map

Chinese Name: 昆明

Chinese Pinyin: Kǖn Míng

English IPA: /'kun'miŋ/

Population: 7.263 million

Language: Mandarin & Kunming Dialect

Tel Code: 08716

Zip Code: 650000

Time Zone: (UTC+8)

Plan your Kunming Tour

3-4 day will be enough for Kunming. For most visitors, they spend 1-2 days in the city to explore the top highlights including Stone Forest, Green Lake Park, Western Hill, Yuantong Temple, Dianchi Lake, Yunnan Nationalities Museum, birds and flowers markets, etc. Dongchuan Red Land usually needs 1-2 more days to shoot the amazing agricultural colors.

While, usually, visitors plan Kunming in a longer Yunnan trip to discover more natural and cultural essences in Dali, Lijiang Shangri-La, that would need about 6-8 days in total. If you are interested, you can also extend to Yuanyang to see the terrific rice terraces for another 1-2 days. We China Discovery are experienced in helping travelers planning and customizing their tours based on their needs, so please tell us your ideal destinations, interests, needs, budgets, and any other requirements to let us help you plan your own Kunming trip, Kunming Yunnan trip, or Kunming China trip!

>> How to Plan a Kunming Tour

Travel with China Discovery

We have helped many global travelers enjoy their memorable trips to Yunnan for the past few years. Among them Mr. Elie & his wife from Belgium had 15 great days in Yunnan during their 69 days China trip customized with us and shared us their special travel story. Travel with China Discovery to create your wonderful Yunnan trip memories!

Recommended Tours

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