Kunming 昆明 Travel Guide
Kunming, at 1,890m, is one of those rare Chinese cities that is good to visit all year round. Renown for its greenery and a degree of prosperity it is also a laid back place to visit, something which is unusual for large Chinese cities. As gateway to Yunnan province it is likely you will spend at least one night here to or from Yunnan highlights such as Dali and Lijiang.
Best Months to Visit Kunming
Best Reason to Visit Kunming
Kunming is the capital of Yunnan province, one of China’s most beautiful regions and one that is a melting pot of different cultures through the many different ethnic minorities that call this place home.
Kunming is the main entrance/exit point into Yunnan and in that respect the main reason you are going to be here is to get out to the the popular destinations of Lijiang, Dali & Shangri La.
Despite that there is plenty to see in and around the city and it is a city that lives in eternal spring time with great weather all year round. With sights such as the Stone Forest, the West Hill and the lively Bird and Plant market there’s plenty of reason to spend a night here on your way in or out of Yunnan province.
Top Attractions in Kunming
Undoubtedly the best thing to see while staying in the city of Kunming is actually just outside the city about 80 kilometres away. The Stone Forest or Shilin as it is known in China, is a premier Chinese sight made up of many limestone formations which together make up a forest of stones, many of which resemble petrified trees creating the illusion of a stone forest, hence the name.
Parts of the Stone Forest have been recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site and these amazing formations, believed to be over 270 million years old must have amazed people since the dawn of human settlements in the region.
The formations are part of the culture of the Yi people, one of China’s many ethnic minorities. The Torch festival there reflects the cultural significance of the Stone Forest to the Yi.
Weather Averages for Kunming
Our Top Kunming Travel Tip
Have a bit of a wander around your hotel if you are staying here. It’s particularly worth heading over to the Bird and Flower Market that is in the centre of town. A place quite unlike anywhere you are likely to see in the West and a guaranteed great place for a photo or two
This is a great place to eat. Yunnan province is one of the most fertile parts of China and produces all sorts of crops. You are unlikely to find the variety of vegetables that you can here anywhere else in China and they are all super fresh and locally sourced so do make sure you take in your “5 a day” while you are down here. There’s also plenty of fresh juice and why not try the local speciality of “Cross the Bridge rice Noodles” that comes with a wonderful story your guide will be happy to tell you.
Hand Picked Kunming Hotels
Kunming is not a city that has a huge amount of the big chains in it and in fact it doesn’t have much in the way of traditional style places either, although there are plenty of these as you leave Kunming and get out into Yunnan province to places such as Lijiang, Dali & Shangri La. We have therefore chosen a couple of practical places for you here.
The New Era is the standard hotel we use here with a fantastic location right in the very centre of town and within short walking distance of everything you need. A real solid 4 star option.
The Green Lake hotel. If you are looking for something a little more high end then this is really your best option in town set right next to a beautiful lake and with all the trappings of a western 5 star hotel.
By Phil Stanley & Headseast – TCTC Destination Expert.