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Western Hills is called 西山(Xishan) in Chinese, and is a scenic forest park located in the west suburb of Kunming, 15km to the city center. With the altitude ranging from 1,900-2,350, this mountain spot looks like a charming “sleeping beauty” from afar. Besides, Western Hill has always been reputed as the “top scenery in central Yunnan”, boasting the famous excellent Dragon Gate scenic spot with advantageous place for an overlook at the gem-like Dianchi Lake sitting on the east side and the large Kunming City.
Western Hill is a large forest park perfectly combing the natural scenery with the cultural relics. Historic sites are surrounded by quiet and peaceful green forests, including carving sites, temple clusters, pavilions, etc. It’s a perfect place for walking and relaxing.
Most Popular Kunming Tour to Visit Western Hills:
Dragon Gate is the essence of Western Hill forest park. The scenic spot is located at the end of the whole scenic spot of Western Hill which is sitting next to Dianchi Lake - the largest freshwater in Yunnan and is famed as the “Pearl on the Plateau”. Standing on the Dragon Gate, travelers can overlook the panoramic view of Dian Lake and Kunming City, which is magnificent and gorgeous and attracts many people to Western Hill. There is an old saying about the Dragon Gate – once enter into the dragon gate, you will become famous and successful, and it’s a symbol of good luck.
Dragon Gate can be divided into two parts –Dragon Gate Grottoes and San Qing Pavilion.
Dragon Gate Grottoes is located at the end of Dragon Gate scenic spot. From Jiushibao to Datian Pavilion, the 66.5m Dragon Gate Grottoes is carved on the cliff of Western Hill. The grottoes were carved between 1781 ~ 1853, and it includes Jiushibao, Luoxuandao, Ciyun Temple, Yunhua Temple and Datian Pavilion. As the largest and most beautiful Taoism grottoes in Yunnan, Dragon Grottoes ranks as the top attraction in Western Hill, and it’s a must-go in Kunming.
San Qing Pavilion is also located on the steep cliffs. Among the green trees, travelers can find a set of pavilions. San Qing Pavilion has 11 wooden architectures in total. According to the legend, it was a summer palace for Prince Liang in Yuan Dynasty, and now it’s a tea house and travelers can take a rest here.
First built from 1320 AD, Huating Temple was built on the mountainside of Western Hill. Situated in a tranquil environment, Huating Temple is the largest Buddhism temple in Kunming. The Wanghailou in the temple is a great place to view the sunrise on the Dian Lake.
Located in Taihua Mountain, which is the highest mountain in Western Hill, Taihua Temple was built in Yuan Dynasty (1271 ~ 1368). It was extended and repaired several times in Ming Dynasty and Qing Dynasty, however, the main hall of the temple still reserve the architecture style of Yuan Dynasty. Surrounded by green trees and bamboo forest, the temple shows its tranquil charms together with the quiet and stunning environment.
Recommended Western Hills Tour Packages:
Western Hill is located in Xishan District at the west suburb Kunming City, with about 17 kilometers’ driving distance to the city center. Travelers can get there from the city center by private car, metro system, public bus, cable car, etc. with convenience.
By Private Car / Taxi
A better way is taking taxi or private car directly there, and it will need about 0.5 hour from the city center and about 50 minutes from Kunming Changshui International Airport.
Kunming Metro Line 3 links Kunming City center with Western Hills Park together, which needs about 40 minutes.
Public buses are convenient to take you to Western Hills and it will take about 1.5 hours to get there from the city center.
To get to Dragon Gate on Western Hills, traveler can take cable car or travel bus very easily.
By Cable Car:
In Haigeng Park at Dianchi Lake, you can take the “Dian Lake - Dragon Gate” cable car up to get to the lower cableway station of Dragon Gate (Park Service Center is here) for CNY 40/person for one-way trip. This will take about 0.5 hour and you can enjoy the beautiful scenery of Dian Lake on the cable car. After that, you can choose to take another cable car to get to the entrance of Dragon Gate (the upper cableway station) for CNY 25/person, or take a battery car for CNY 8/person. You can also hike up to the entrance, and it’s only about 2km and usually takes only about several minutes.
By Travel Bus:
After arriving at the parking lot at the foot of Western Hill, take the travel bus or mini bus from Gaoyao Bus Station to the lower cableway station for about CNY 10-15/person, and the travel bus will make stops at Huating Temple and Taihua Temple. After getting to the lower cableway station, tourists can choose to take cable car, or battery car or walk up to the Dragon Gate entrance.
If you want to get rid of hustle of public transportation and troublesome navigation, you can travel with us China Discovery. Our local tour guide and driver will escort you to Western Hills from your hotel or any other places in Kunming with speed, convenience and safety by the comfortable licensed private vehicle, and take care of all the details. You just need to focus on sightseeing. Please tell us directly if you need any help!
Take the cable car or travel bus to the Park Service Center (the lower cableway station), then take cable car to the upper cableway station, and walk down the mountain and visit the Dragon Gate and San Qing Pavilion on the way. After arriving at the Dragon Gate Entrance, take the battery car to the Park Service Center, then take travel bus to get back and visit Taihua Temple and Huating Temple on the way. This is the most popular and relaxing way.
For hike lovers, they can walk most of the journey, which may need more than 4 hours getting up and down.
Western Hills is suitable to visit all year round. The best seasons are spring, summer and autumn (from March to October). During those months, the Western Hill is covered with green trees and colorful flowers, and the scenery at this time is very beautiful and tranquil. With more clear blue sky, you can admire the better panorama of Dianchi Lake and Kunming cityscape from the Dragon Gate location. From June to August, there would usually be more rainy days. Besides, every Lunar March 3rd is the tradition for local Kunming people for gathering in Western for spring outing and climbing, when is jubilant but also crowded with many people. ▶ Kunming Weather & Best Time to Visit.
Western Hills Entrance Ticket: Free;
Dragon Gate: CNY 40/person (includes Dragon Gate Grottoes and San Qing Pavilion);
Taihua Temple and Huating Temple: CNY 20/person for joint fee;
Cable Car from Dian Lake to Dragon Gate lower cableway station: CNY 40/person;
Cable Car from lower cableway station to upper cable way station of Dragon Gate: CNY 25/person;
Battery Car on the mountain: CNY 8/person.
There are many stairs in Dragon Gate Scenic Spot, so it’s suggested to wear comfortable shoes to walk.
You can plan 1-2 days like most visitors to discover the top must-sees in Kunming. You can spare the first day arrival there in no hurry. And spend the rest 2 days exploring Stone Forest and the sightseeing of Kunming Green Lake, Yuantong Temple, birds and flower markets, and Yunnan Nationalities Museum, etc. in the downtown. Besides, most travelers prefer to arrange Kunming as the first part of their Yunnan travel, so you can also extend to more beautiful destinations in the province to shoot more natural sceneries, such as Yuanyang, Luoping,Dali, Lijiang, Shangri-La, Jiangshui, etc. in 6-13 days based on your exploration depth! Moreover, if you have any idea of more interested destinations in China to travel with Kunming together, please feel free to contact us and our experienced travel expert will help you to plan you coming tour with sincerity!
▶ Learn more about How to Plan a Trip to Kunming
Recommended Kunming Yunnan Tour Packages:
8 Days Classic Yunnan Tour (Kunming / Dali / Lijiang / Shangri-La)
6 Days Best of Yunnan Tour (Lijiang / Shangri-La / Kunming)
11 Days Amazing Yunnan Tour (Kunming / Yuanyang / Jianshui / Kunming / Dali / Lijiang / Shangri-La)
To help you enjoy a worry-free Western Hills trip in Kunming, we highly recommend you travel with us China Discovery. Our local experienced drivers will escort you to the attractions with comfortable car directly with speed and safety. And our English-speaking tour guide will accompany you all the way, showing you the best travelling route, share interesting stories and introduce all highlights, so you can focus all your attention on the highlights. The tour can be tailor-made according to your group size, time, physical condition, plan, interest, budget and every special need. Please feel free to contact us if you need any help!
Top 3 Kunming tours chosen by most customers to explore Kunming in the best way. Check the detailed itinerary, or tailor your own trip now with us.
Kunming / Stone Forest / Jiuxiang / Kunming
Lijiang / Shangri-La / Kunming
Kunming / Dali / Lijiang / Shangri-La
Start planning your tailor-made holiday to China by contacting one of our specialists. Once enquired, you’ll get a response within 0.5~23.5 hours.Customize a Trip
[Important] Travel News for Expats: China travel is reopening now! Travel with China Discovery and learn about where to visit & requirements for each destination! Read Details >