Kunming, capital of Yunnan Province, is known as ‘the City of Eternal Spring’ for its pleasant climate and flowers that bloom all year long. Kunming has long been regarded as one of China’s most liveable cities for its equable climate, it remains a very pleasant place to kick back for a few days. For visitors who haven’t succumbed to the laid-back attitude displayed by the locals, there are plenty of temples and national parks nearby (including the legendary Stone Forest) to keep you busy.
As one of China’s famous ancient and cultural cities, it boasts a history which can be traced back to 30,000 years ago. The Dianchi Lake area was one of the cradles of mankind. The city got its name from the Yuan Dynasty (1271 – 1368) and since then, it has become Yunnan’s center of politics, economy and culture. With a rich history, it was the gateway to the celebrated Silk Road that facilitated trade with Tibet, Sichuan, Myanmar, India and beyond. Today it is the provincial political, economic and cultural center of Yunnan as well as the most popular tourist destination in southwest China.
Kunming is well known for its beautiful and peculiar, breathtaking and unique natural landscape. Among these dramatic sites, Yunnan Stone Forest, which is about 120 kilometers (75 miles) from the city proper and requires only a 3-hour drive, is known best by visitors. These magnificent stone masterpieces, various strange and steep intricate formations, and countless labyrinthine vistas make Stone Forest (Shi Lin in Chinese) worthy of the fame as the ‘First Wonder of the World’. And there goes a local saying: ‘It is a waste of time without being in the Stone Forest while visiting Kunming’.
Dianchi Lake, the largest lake of Kunming, enchants people with its cyan water and peaceful environment. It is a favorite with those who want to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city life.
A visit to the Golden Temple is strongly recommended. It is the largest copper temple in China. Here you can see something of the origins of Taoism as the temple is located on Fengming Hill, the home of the Taoist Taihe Palace (Hall of Supreme Harmony).
The famous Buddhist Bamboo Temple (Qiongzhu Temple) with its most outstanding artistic features and surrounding bamboo forest should be included in your itinerary. The famous ’99 International Horticultural Exposition enhanced the city’s reputation world-wide. In the Expo Garden, you can appreciate the perfect harmony of man and nature.
The spectacular view across Dianchi Lake from the vantage point of Western Hills is another enjoyable experience for visitors to the city. In addition to these sites, there are more other attractions such as the Grand View Park, Black Dragon Pool, Yuantong Temple, and Flowers and Birds Market. Also, you can go to visit Bamei Village around the downtown. It is like a Peach Blossom Valley isolated from the hustle and bustle of the ordinary world.