Kunming, Spring City
Kunming city, located in the middle of the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau at an altitude of 1900 meters, is the political, economic, and cultural capital of Yunnan Province.
Kunming is praised as the “Spring City”. It is famous for its pleasant climate and flowers that bloom all the year, and travelers could visit here at any season.
With a long history of more than 2,400 years, Kunming was the transportation hub of the celebrated Ancient Tea and Horse Road that facilitated trade with Tibet, Sichuan, Myanmar, India, and beyond. Today, Kunming is still the starting point for many routes in Yunnan and neighboring provinces or countries.
The breathtaking natural scenery like the magical Stone Forest, steep Dragon Gate, vibrant Green Lake, one-thousand-years old Yuantong Temple, and colorful culture of 25 ethnic minority groups make Kunming be one of the most popular tourist destinations in southwest China.
Most sights of Kunming city, like Green Lake Park, Yuantong Temple, Flower and Bird Market, and the adjacent Old Quarter can be explored on foot within one day. In the evening, you can strengthen your first impression of Kunming with the Yunnan Dynamic performance or explore the culinary experiences and vibrant life of the night market.
For Museum fans, Kunming offers three thematic museums: Yunnan Provincial Museum, Kunming Museum, and Yunnan Nationalities Museum.
On the outskirts of Kunming, the Bamboo Temple, the Golden Temple, and the Western Mountains are worthwhile to visit for those who are interested in religious culture and ancient architecture.
Beyond the city, you can extend your stay by visiting the Stone Forest of Shilin or heading towards the canola flower fields of Luoping or the red lands of Dongchuan.
“Dynamic Yunnan” made Yunnan “come alive and vivid”. This is the creation by famous dancer, Yang Liping, one of China’s best-known dancers.
It is based on the life of the Yi, Wa, Hani, Dai, Naxi, Bai, and other ethnic groups, takes 68 folk drums and more than 600 sets of handmade ethnic woven clothing and embroidered shoes from the different ethnic villages, as elements, and by over 60 highly capable aboriginal dancers and singers, enthusiasm and sincerely interpret to tell the audience about the universe, nature, culture, the pursuit for the origins of life, and the praise of life.
Nanqiang Street night market
In addition to being able to taste unique local snacks, such as roasted rice cake and cheese, meat skewers, etc., you can also appreciate the local culture of Yunnan. The small theater on Nanqiang Street often performs drama, Peking opera, Dian opera, cross-talk, storytelling, and holds Han costume cultural exhibitions. Besides, “sugar paintings”, “paper-cutting” and other intangible cultural heritage displays also add a different experience for tourists. Add: 昆明市五华区祥云街97号
Kunming is a region that can be visited the whole year for the mild climate, without any extreme weather. Widely known, from March to early November is the best period for travelers to visit beyond the public holiday (the first week of May, the summer vacation of July and August), because it is the time with the most beautiful scenery, the most festivals of ethnic minorities, and also the season with the most fruits and flowers. For information about Kunming climate and weather.
To know more about the climate in Yunnan: When to go to Yunnan.
Temperatures and precipitation of Kunming
Kunming Changshui International Airport(昆明长水国际机场) is in the northeast of Kunming City, with a straight-line distance of about 24.5 kilometers from the city center and an altitude of 2102 meters. As China’s fourth-largest national airport after Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou, Yunnan airport is also a hub airport for China’s national gateway to Southeast Asia and South Asia. Kunming Airport has 256 routes, and 46 airlines provide flights to domestic and international cities and regions, including Beijing, Chengdu, Guilin, Lhasa, Shanghai, Sanya, Xi’an, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, and Bangkok.
Kunming has two railway stations in use：
One is the Kunming Railway Station (Nanyao Station 南窑站), which is at the intersection of Beijing Road and Zhanqian Road, about four kilometers from the center of the city. If starting from the urban area, this station is the first choice for traveling to Dali, Lijiang, Jianshui, and all major Chinese cities. There are also two night-sleeping trains from this station to Lijiang.
Another is Kunming South Railway Station(昆明南站). It is located at Wujiaying in Chenggong District, 28 km from Kunming Train Station, and mainly sent to Puzhehei, Guiyang, Guilin, Chongqing, Chengdu, and other high-speed trains.
Kunming owned a long history. As early as 30,000 years ago, ancient tribes inhabited the area around Dian Lake. During the Warring States Period (286 BC)Zhuangqiao, the General of the Chu State (in the middle reaches of the Yangtze River) led his followers to the area around Dian Lake and established the Dian Kingdom. This slavery country had a very advanced culture and technology, which had greatly promoted the development of local agriculture and exquisite bronze manufacturing. In 1956, archaeologists discovered a large number of funerary items in the tombs of Shizhai Mountain on the east bank of Dianchi Lake, including silver, jade, and turquoise jewelry, shells, statuettes, and large bronze drums, which displayed the splendor of the Dian Kingdom.
In 109 BC, during the reign of Emperor Wudi, the Dian Kingdom became part of the Han Dynasty. It was then an important traffic center, connecting China’s hinterland with the southern branch of the ancient Silk Road to Myanmar and India. Via Yunnan, it also connected present-day Sichuan to Vietnam.
From the 8th century, Kunming was named Tuodong city in the Kingdom of Nanzhao and Dali. In 1253, it came under the control of the Yuan Dynasty (established by Kublai Khan, grandson of Genghis Khan).
It became the provincial capital of Yunnan in 1274, and the Muslim Sayyid Ajall was the governor.
In the 14th century, under the Ming Dynasty, the sinicization of Yunnan accelerated. Waves of immigrants, most from the Lower Yangtze region, followed Ming armies to Kunming. They re-designed and built Kunming City, laying the foundation for today’s Kunming layout.
During the same period, Zheng He, who was a Chinese Muslim eunuch from Kunming, was appointed by Ming Emperor to command the huge naval fleet to finish 7 times diplomatic missions and created a new Maritime Silk Road. Zheng He is widely regarded as the greatest explorer and navigator in China and also a forerunner of Columbus and The Magellan.
The opening of Kunming began with the completion in 19 centuries of the railway to the Vietnamese city of Haiphong, and sooner Kunming became a treaty port of foreign trade and an important commercial center.
Kunming’s transformation into a modern city resulted from the outbreak of the Anti-Japanese War in 1937. In the face of the encroaching of Japanese forces, large numbers of factories, banks, universities, and institutes of higher education were moved to Kunming and brought new material and cultural construction. After the Japanese occupied Vietnam in 1940, the links of Kunming with the Western countries, both via the newly constructed Burma Road and by air (the famous Hump route and Flying Tigers), grew increasingly vital.
From 1949 to nowadays, Kunming developed rapidly in every aspect and formed five pillar industries such as cigarettes, mechanical and electrical, biological resources, information, commerce, and tourism formed. As the regional metropolis facing Southeast Asia and South Asia, Kunming plays a very important role in international cooperation.
In addition to traditional Chinese cuisine, Kunming local snacks and ethnic flavors are more distinctive.
Renowned local specialties:
- Mushroom hotpot
- Cross-bridge rice noodles
- Steam-pot chicken
- Roast bean curd
You can find more detailed information on the gastronomy of Yunnan on this page: 10 unique Yunnan food.
1. Fuzhaolou 福照楼(文明街店)
Fuzhao Lou, with a retro decoration style, is a time-honored brand and has 12 branches in Kunming. It inherits Yunnan cuisine, and among them, the most famous is steam pot chicken.
TEL: (0871) 63385885
OPENING HOURS: 11:00 – 14:00; 16:30 –21:00
2. Cuihu Chef’s Choice 西弗乔丝美食美酒体验店(翠湖店)
The top three western restaurants in Kunming have a comfortable environment, especially the view on the second floor. The waiters are warm and attentive and the steaks are of good quality.
ADD : 翠湖北路60号先生坡口
TEL : (0871) 65379584
OPENING HOURS: 10:30 – 23:00
3. Kunming Laofangzi 一颗印餐厅
The restaurant itself is a provincial-level protected building, with a quaint appearance. It operates authentic Yunnan cuisine. You can come here to experience the traditional Yunnan residence and taste,
ADD: 东风西路吉祥巷 18-19 号
TEL: (0871) 63644555
OPENING HOURS: 10:30 – 21:00
4. Salvador’s Coffee House 萨尔瓦多咖啡馆
A very distinctive western restaurant in Wenhua street, mainly Mexican food, as well as coffee and desserts.
ADD: 文林街文化巷 76 号
TEL: (0871) 65363525
OPENING HOURS: 09:00 – 23:30
If you like traditional star-rated hotels, around Green Lake Park, Home Inn is economical, and Grand Park or Cuihu Hotel is more comfortable; if you like charm hotels, Moon and Chalice Boutique in the city center is your first choice.
If you like the hostels, we recommend Kunming upland International Youth Hostel and YiQiuTian Homestay. All are located in the city center, close to Cuihu Lake, an excellent location with convenient transportation.
Discover our selection of the best charming hotels located in Kunming and its region, meeting all comfort and price ranges on the dedicated page of our site.
This selection is the result of our long experience and the positive feedback from our customers. Please take into consideration that in some more remote destinations, the choice of infrastructure and the range of comfort is sometimes limited. In this case, we do our best to retain the best establishments.
Tours Ideas in Kunming