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Kunming, the capital city and transportation hub of Yunnan Province, is usually the first stop and a gateway stop for tourists heading to explore those amazing destinations in Yunnan, such as Dali, Lijiang, Shangri-La, etc. Besides, Kunming itself also treats tourists with grand stone forest, well-preserved temples, vibrant flower markets, spectacular red land, etc. Therefore, tourists usually choose to stay in Kunming for 1~2 nights during their Yunnan trip.
Finding a good place to stay in Kunming is proved to be not difficult at all, because this city is modern enough and offers a large scale of good hotels to stay. However, it may be a little bit hard for you to find the Best Hotels to Stay in Kunming that perfectly suit to your trip plan and budget. In this guide, we will help you make an informed choice on suitable areas to look for accommodation, with a list of our pick of best hotels to get you started!
Kunming is spread out, with most of the tourist highlights like Green Lake, West Hill and Dragon Gate Park in the downtown and Dongchuan Red Land and Stone Forest in the suburbs. The best hotels to stay in Kunming vary according to the attraction sites you are heading to visit and the traveling days you are going to stay. Kunming downtown is normally the best area to stay for a Kunming tour! However, if you only want a short night stopover in Kunming, you are suggested to stay near Kunming Changshui International Airport (昆明长水国际机场). For tourists who want an in-depth visit of Dongchuan Red Land and dream of the beautiful sunrise and sunset there, the hotels at the villages near the scenic area are more recommended.
Since most of the Kunming Attractions gather at Kunming downtown, Kunming City Center Area is always the best and hottest choice to stay for visitors. Plenty of accommodation options, temples, lakes, museums, flower markets, restaurants and shopping streets make the downtown area also the most convenient place to stay!
Hotels in Kunming City Center can be mostly found at Wuhua District (五华区), Guandu District (官渡区) and Panlong District (盘龙区), from budget 3-star hostels to 5 star hotels for you to choose. If you are a first-timer in Kunming, we would suggest you to stay at a hotel near Green Park (Cuihu) in Wuhua District, and then you will find the scenic lakes, temples, food streets, and even university in short walking distance. Night life there will also be charming. Clubs and shopping streets won’t be closed until the mid-night. Guandu District is also a good place to stay. It is only 5 kilometers away from Green Lake area and close to Kunming Railway Station (昆明站) and Kunming Coach Station (昆明汽车站). There are 1000+ hotels for you to select in Guandu District. The southeastern part of Kunming Panlong District is also close to Green Park and provides 500+ good hotels to stay.
Kunming Changshui International Airport (昆明长水国际机场) located in northeastern part of Kunming is nowadays the only airport in Kunming. The airport is about 28km away from Kunming downtown, which takes about 40 minutes by car. If your flight arrives at Kunming at or after mid-night, you are suggested to find a hotel near the airport to take a rest.
Compared with Kunming downtown, the Kunming Airport area has fewer hotels to choose and most of them are in comfort 2-star and 3-star. But they all will meet your basic needs like hot water. There are also about 14 hotels in relatively luxury 4-star for you to stay.
Warm tip: Since the amount of hotels near Kunming Airport is relatively limited, it is usually a hard work to find a hotel to stay during peak seasons like the first week of May and October. You are advised to book your hotel in advance once you happen to visit Kunming during that period of time.
Dongchuan Red Land, with the reputation of God's Magic Palette in Yunnan, is a pure paradise for photographers and nature lovers. This scenic area is hidden in the mountainous area that about 150km northeast of Kunming downtown, which needs 3 hours around by car. Normally, tourists, especially for those dreaming to appreciate the sublime sunrise and sunset scenery there, will stay one night in the villages of Dongchuan Red Land.
There are three sightseeing and driving routes at the large Dongchuan Red Land Scenic Area. And the hotels settled at where these three routes meet are usually the popular choice to stay. Some tourists also choose to stay near the sightseeing site named Luoxiagou (落霞沟) to capture the most beautiful sunset scenery.
Before visiting Dongchuan Red Land, you should know that hotels in this remote area are all in basic 2-star. They couldn’t give you more modern comforts but will meet your basic needs like hot water. If you ask for much about accommodation and only want a glimpse of this wonderful land, you are suggested to stay at hotels in Kunming downtown area and then drive to Dongchuan in the next morning to have a short day tour.
Kunming Stone Forest, or known as Shilin, is a massive tourist area full of giant stalagmite-like karst pillars. Listed as World Heritage Site by UNECO in 2007, it has long been a must-visit site for tourists coming to Kunming. About half an hour away from Shilin, there are also Karst Caves in Jiuxiang waiting for your visit.
It takes about 1.5~2 hours from Kunming downtown to Stone Forest by car ride. Tourists usually choose to have a one-day side trip to Stone Forest from their hotel in Kunming downtown and get back to the hotel after their tour. So there is no need for them to find a hotel near Kunming Stone Forest. However, if you want to take a rest right after your tour or have plans to go further south to Yuanyang Rice Terraces, you will also find some good hotels to stay at Shilin County (石林彝族自治县) near the Stone Forest Scenic Area.
Tourists prefer to spend 1~2 days in Kunming. Most of them will have a one-day tour to explore the attractions in Kunming downtown, like Green Lake, Yuantong Temple, West Hill and Dragon Gate Park, etc. Some also take another one day to visit Kunming Stone Forest to enjoy the massive otherworldly landscape of karst formations over 270 million years old.
Photographers and nature lovers will also spend one day more to discover the Dongchuan Red Land, where they will get amazing natural and colorful terraces.
Few tourists heading to Kunming for the attractions in Kunming only! The reasons attracting them to Yunnan are the world-renowned Dali, Lijiang, Shangri-La. Therefore, after landing in Kunming and having a short tour there, they will extend their journey to these popular destinations. Such a Classic Yunnan Tour is really hot and needs only 8 days around.
>> 8 Days Classic Yunnan Tour (Kunming / Dali / Lijiang / Shangri-La)
>> 11 Days Amazing Yunnan Tour (Kunming / Yuanyang / Jianshui / Kunming / Lijiang / Shangri-La)
Know more about How to Plan a Kunming Tour
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[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 >