Kunming (昆明, Kūnmíng) is the capital of Yunnan Province in China.
Golden Horse memorial Archway on Jinbi Road
Known in China as the "City of Eternal Spring" (春城, Chūnchéng), Kunming lies at an almost-tropical latitude but its 2000 m (6600 ft) altitude gives it a very temperate climate. It may snow in winter and locals says the recent winters have become colder and colder, so pack warm if visiting from December to February. Rainy days are also usually cold. The air is also quite clean compared to many Chinese cities, but the population of the prefecture is closing on 10 million and the city is expanding rapidly, with modern buildings and numerous highways emitting their fair share of air pollution. In addition to its own charms, Kunming also serves as a hub from which to explore Yunnan Province.
Some routes to or from Kunming are described in Overland Kunming to Hong Kong. Routes to the West are in Yunnan tourist trail.
Kunming Changshui International Airport (KMG) has plenty of domestic connections within China and Hong Kong, as well as international flights to Southeast Asian cities like Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Kuala Lumpur, and Singapore. You can book air tickets at the Air China Office (Wallton Bldg, 448 Baoshan St,+86 871 3159-171) or any number of travel agents in the King World Hotel a few blocks north of the train station on Beijing Lu. Tickets to Beijing are usually about ¥1600-2000, to Hong Kong about ¥1200-1500, and closer destinations are getting ever cheaper as China's domestic carriers jostle for market share.
Changshui International Airport is located about 25 km (15 mi) northeast of the downtown Kunming. A taxi there will take about 30–40 minutes, but congestion during rush hour can easily double the time. The Airport Express bus to Kunming Railway Station takes about as long and costs 25 RMB. The cheaper bus 919 for 13 RMB rides to the city center making several stops en-route to Renmin West road City Bus station. There is also a Metro line (Line 6) now in service from 07:00–19:00 daily, connecting the airport to the City East Bus Station (which is some 30min additional busride from the city center/ South Railway station), which provides a large number of lines into downtown Kunming. (Two intermediate stops are planned but not yet opened as of October 2015.) A single ride takes about 20 minutes and costs 5 RMB. The trains usually run every 20–30 minutes, but run every 5–10 minutes during peak congestion.
The older Wujiaba airport has been closed since June 2012.
Kunming Railway Station has recently been refurbished and has a ticket office on its lower level. The station provides service to the national rail network, with established routes to Chengdu, Nanning, Guilin, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Xi'an, and Beijing. Train service to destinations inside Yunnan is poor except for overnight sleeper trains to Xiaguan (Dali New Town, about 8 hours) and Lijiang. As of 2014, there were at least 5-6 trains each day to and from Xiaguan/Dali and fewer from Lijiang. The railway line between Dali and Lijiang has completed its renovations; the line between Guangtong and Dali is still under repair.
Kunming has moved its bus stations to the edge of the city in a bid to decrease traffic congestion. The bus stations next to the train station are NO LONGER long-distance bus stations.
There are four bus stations for each of the cardinal directions (N,S,E,W). The general rule of thumb is you should go to the bus station in the direction you want to travel: e.g., if you are headed to Dali or Lijiang, you will need to use the West Bus Station (西部客运站, Xibu Keyun Zhan) and, if you are headed to Jinghong or Jianshui, you will need the South Bus Station.
- South Bus Station (南部客运站 新螺蛳湾) (Attention: Not to be confused with "South Station", which refers to Kunming's railway station.)
- —Kunming Railway Station: Bus C1 (5 RMB, ~30min)
- - Easily reached by Metro from Government Sq
- —Kunming Railway Station: Bus 60 (2 RMB, ~30min)
- —Shilin ("Stone Forest"; 50 RMB, ~2hrs)
- North Bus Station (北部客运站)
- —Kunming Railway Station: Bus C72 (5 RMB, ~40min)
- —Xishan: Bus 6 (5 RMB, ~20min)
The long-distance buses are generally excellent—cheap, reliable, and comfortable. However, overnight sleepers can be cold, bumpy, and dirty, so check out the bus before you buy the tickets. Non-smokers should be aware that people smoke on the bus in China, which can be a big problem if the weather is cold and all the windows are closed.
There are international departures to Laos from the South Bus Station and Vietnam from the East Bus Station, although these services are not always running. The bus to Laos goes all the way from Kunming to Vientaine, costs approximately US$50, and lasts around 40 hours. (This is unconfirmed but there have been reports that improved roads have shortened the journey to around 28 hours.). There are also buses to Huai Xai. You can also buy cheaper tickets to stops along the route, like Luang Prabang. Laos buses depart between 6-7pm to reach the border the next morning (Dec 15). The buses are clean but make stops in unexplained places for short periods. The bus also stops along the way at dingy restaurants and even nastier gas station restrooms. Still, its a manageable journey if you need to go from Laos to Kunming or visa versa. The journey to Vietnam is less arduous. Buses to Hekou, the Chinese border city, leave regularly. There were night buses which allowed you to leave Kunming at 8 PM and arrive at Hekou in time to cross the border as soon as it opened, but improved travel times (the ride only takes 7 hours now) may have changed the bus schedule. The bus station in Hekou is about 3 km from the border crossing but local buses go there. From there, you can take one of the many buses to Sapa, the bus or train to Hanoi, or journey elsewhere.
||WARNING: Beware of con men who may help you to board the bus and then ask for a "luggage fee" or "Chinese gasoline fee". There is no such fee: the ticket price is all inclusive. They may present fake bus company ID cards or threaten to call the police if you express suspicion. Stay firm and refuse to pay and they will eventually leave.
||WARNING: Beware of fake public buses!!! (e.g., Bus C72 from the East Bus Station)
Be aware that there are some fake "public buses". The price is the same, the bus number is the same, the bus color is the same! But the bus is a bit dirty and old, the driver uses a speaker, and the bus doesn't have a schedule but just waits until it's full to leave. It takes local and cycle roads and arrives at the dirty rear area of the train station instead of the main bus area.
Kunming has very bad traffic conditions and not only at peak times. It's worth planning ahead if you have somewhere to get to.
- Bicycles can be rented at some hostels for about ¥20 a day. There are bike lanes along the edges of many major roads and traffic generally moves fairly slowly. In addition, a scheme launched 2012 in the Dianchi (lakeside) area provides bicycle rental as a public service, similar to schemes in Paris and London. However, registration is a prerequisite and it is unclear how accessible the system is to foreigners, particularly short-stay tourists.
By City Buses
- City Buses are ¥1 for older models and ¥2 for those with A/C and heaters (around ¥5 for the longer routes to the city's outskirts). They operate from about 6 AM until late evening 21:30–23:00. They stop regularly along their routes but not necessarily at every bus stop along the roads. (Don't be surprised at a bus driving right past a stop, as it is simply not on their route.) Routes are marked on some local maps which may be purchased from street vendors or at kiosks but these may be outdated. Bus.mapbar.com is a Chinese-only website which provides maps of most bus routes: e.g., this map of Bus 10's route. (The number can be changed in the URL if you're unable to navigate the page.) For C61–62, see km.ganji.com (no map). Stops are usually 500 m to 1 km apart. Bus drivers are lead footed and often race each other, especially on the ring roads. They tend to stop suddenly too, so have a good handhold if you are standing. Most stops are beside the road but some are located in the middle and appear to have been designed to provide maximum inconvenience and danger for passengers. There have been reports of pick-pocketing on crowded buses, especially in the crowds around the Spring Festival migrations, when many people carry extra cash.
A bus card provides a 10% discount on fares but costs ¥20 upfront. It is available at bus stations and can be recharged there and at some China Post offices.
- Taxis start at ¥8. Sometimes, taxi drivers will ask for a flat fee but you should make sure the driver uses the meter to avoid being scammed. In the case of refusal, simply leave the taxi: either the drivers will change their minds or you can get a different cab. (Don't worry: there are loads of them, except around the shift change at 6:30 PM when drivers are returning their cars to the company lots.) As usual, care should be taken when traveling at night or long distances. Larger taxis cost more than smaller taxis. Also be aware that taxis are zoned and cannot access all areas. Don't be surprised if a taxi driver cannot take you to your destination, as some companies are limited to the outer areas of the city to reduce competition and congestion.
A fuel tax of ¥2.5 has been added to fares and is explained on a small sign on the dashboards of all taxis. Thus for each ride you'll have to add ¥2.5 to the meter reading to calculate your real fare.
- Those who want to use the Metro stop at Kunming Railway Station should be aware that there is a 10+ minute walk between the two, including passage through a tunnel which is not wheelchair accessible.
- Kunming municipal pump house. As a result of droughts parching Yunnan, the reservoirs surrounding Kunming are of vital importance. The specter of Kunming's taps suddenly running dry is of great concern for residents. The two-room "History Museum of Kunming Water Supply" (昆明市自来水历史博物馆)is inside the Green Lake Park, and is housed in the building that once pumped 1,000 cubic meters of water daily from Green Lake's spring-fed Nine Dragon Pond (九龙池) and along a 9.5 kilometer network of municipal water pipes. The pump station was completed in 1917 and started operating in 1918. It continued to be used until 1957. The current museum still contains what appear to be the two original French-made electric water pumps, along with a small collection of old photos and other curios, such as tokens that could be used to buy water from any of the more than 50 public water taps that were part of the system. The museum is located inside the park's east gate, which is actually located in the southeast of the park. Visitors walking through the gate will see the museum about 100 meters directly ahead of them. Entry to the museum is free and it is open Wednesday through Sunday from 9:30am to 4:30pm.
- Earth Forest, . The Earth Forest in Yuanmou County in Chuxiong Prefecture is a scenic spot at the provincial level. Earth Forest, as a representative landscape in the county, comprises Xinhua, Bangguo, Wanbao and Tiger Leaping Beach, covering an area of 50 square kilometers. The Earth Forest came into being since geological movement and soil erosion one or two million years ago. Its shape looks like an immense forest and the main component is earth, so it is named Earth Forest. The Earth Forest, the Stone Forest in Kunming and the Colorful Sand Forest in Luliang are called “the Three Forests in Yunnan”. edit
Yuantong Temple (圆通寺; Yuántōngsì), (At the foot of Yuantong Hill in the northern part of Kunming). ¥6. edit
With a history of more than 1200 years, Yuantong Temple is the grandest and most important Buddhist temple in Yunnan Province. King Yimouxun of the Nanzhao Kingdom built the temple in late eighth century. The restorations from the Qing Dynasty onward has not changed the unique mixed architectural style of the Yuan and Ming Dynasties.
Unlike all other Buddhist temples, you enter Yuantong Temple from above and descend along a gently sloping garden path. A memorial archway with four Chinese characters is standing halfway. The temple complex is built around Yuantong Hall, which is surrounded by a very large pond. A delicate stone bridge which has an elegant octagonal pavilion stands in the center and connects the hall and the temple entrance. The pavilion is connected to the rest of the complex by various bridges and walkways.
Sakyamuni, Amitabha and the Medicine Buddha, all Yuan Dynasty statues, are found in the main hall. The surrounding 500 Buddhist Arhats which are carved in the walls are noted for their perfect proportions and lively appearances. Also in this temple hall are two ten meter high pillars from the Ming Dynasty that are each engraved with a dragon trying to extend their bodies and claws into the air. Outside, on each side of the main hall, there are stone staircases carved out of the mountainside and wind their way to the top of the hill. There are ancient inscriptions along the way and various stone artworks considered the most important historical relics in Kunming. From the top of the stairs, you are presented with a terrific panoramic view of the entire complex. In 1982, Thai Buddhists sent a 3.5-meter-high copper statue of Sakyamuni, which is now placed in the Copper Buddha Hall combining Chinese and Thai styles.
Surrounding the temple pond are a series of halls where you will find old women praying, people sitting and chatting, ongoing classes in Buddhist scriptures, a magnificent calligraphy studio, an exhibit of temple photographs, a temple shop, a restaurant, and more.
Yuantong Temple is a real working temple. Buddhists from many different countries come here on pilgrimages to pay homage. There are special Buddhist services two times each month, and the Buddhist Association of Yunnan Province is also located here, making it a center of Buddhism in Yunnan.
Tanhua Temple (昙华寺; Tánhuàsì; also known as Taohua Nunnery), Guangming Road, Panlong District (盘龙区光明路; Pánlóngqū Guāngmínglù) (At the foot of Tuiying Mountain in the eastern outskirts of Kunming City, about 4km from the city centre), ☎ +86 871 3857297. Free. edit
Built in 1634. According to historical records, before the temple was erected, there had been a thatched shack where Shi Shiqiao, a scholar of the Ming Dynasty, buried himself in books. Shi Tai, grandson of Shi Shiqiao, donated the estate for the shack whereon the temple was built.
In the backyard there was an epiphyllum tree, which is called tanhua in Chinese, hence the name. The temple went through many renovations during the Qing Dynasty. It is well-known for its flowers and plants. It has been a scenic spot for more than three hundred years, and an epitome of Kunming, the Flower City of the Southern Frontier. The epiphyllum tree was planted in the side court of the depository of Buddhist Scriptures. There is a stone tablet on which four characters are carved The Epiphyllum Brings Luck. After the erection of the temple, the original epiphyllum withered and died. The epiphyllum now standing taller than the eaves of the temple sprang from the root of the original one at the beginning of the Qing Dynasty, and is about three hundred years old. It bursts into flowers in mid-summer. The big loquat tree in the backyard is said to have been planted in the early Ming Dynasty.
In the South Garden there are flowers and rockeries with winding paths among the flowers and the zigzagging corridor surround the Lotus Pond, where you can watch fish. The East Garden is shaded by tall cedars and cypresses and include seven smaller gardens and a Children's Playground.
In recent years, the old temple has resumed its original grandeur. It has become one of the most famous scenic spots in Kunming.
- Daguan Pavilion (大观楼; Dàguānlóu; lit. Grand View Pavilion), (Inside Daguan Park (大观公园; Dàguān Gōngyuán)). Daguan Park in the western part of Kunming traces Dianchi Lake in the south and the Western Mountains in the west. The pavilion, with a history of more than three hundred years, is a three-floor square structure with flying eaves and golden-lacquered ornamentation. The top floor of the pavilion provides an all-embracing view of the vast Dianchi Lake and the peaks of the Western Mountains. A 180 character couplet is hanging down the pavilion, which is lauded as the number one couplet past and present. The Park is the most fascinating garden in urban Kunming. edit
- Qiongzhu Temple (筇竹寺; Qióngzhúsì; lit. Bamboo Temple), Yu'an Mountain, Xishan District (西山区玉案山; Xīshānqū Yùànshān) (Any bus to Huang Tu Po (West Bus Station) ¥2 then Bus C61/C62/C63 ¥6). An amazing work of art hidden in a temple several kilometers up in the mountains encircling Kunming. For the most part, it is a normal temple, but in one room, there is a series of sculptures that is an incredible work of art. A mixture of life-like figures in totally fantastical positions (man whose eyebrows grow down to the floor, monks riding giant fish), this is some trippy artwork that is worth the trip. ¥6. (48R 260328E 2774679N,) edit
- Yunnan University Wu Mayao Museum of Anthropology (云南大学伍马瑶人类学博物馆), Inside Yunnan University on Beimen Jie 北门街云南大学里面 (Just south of the main Yunnan University gate on Beimenjie), ☎ +86 871 5031607. Fascinating museum with an impressive collection of minority and Han artifacts from around Yunnan. Highlights include painted wooden torso armor of the Yi people, fearsome warriors of a traditionally caste society who historically controlled the mountainous region between Sichuan and Yunnan and whose queen was instrumental in negotiating the entry in to Yunnan of the Mongol Horde at the dawn of the Yuan Dynasty, ushering in the first real period of Han control thus beginning the widespread Sinification in Yunnan province. Unfortunately the showy modern glass presentation makes photography of some artifacts rather difficult. Free?. edit
- Kunming Zoology Museum (昆明动物博物馆; Kūnmíng Dòngwù Bówùguǎn), 32 Jiaochang East Road (教场东路32号; Jiāochángdōnglù) (Situated in the north of Kunming between the first and second ringroads, approximately 600 metres directly west of the Carrefore supermarket at the intersection of Longquan Road and Baiyun Road. Bus routes 4 and 92 (route 4 terminates just around the corner) run close to the museum, alternatively take routes 9, 55, 59, 74 or 96 to the Carrefore and walk from there.), ☎ +86 871 5130101, . Anybody interested in Yunnan's animals through the ages could spend a couple of hours here. The museum is adjacent to, and indeed shares a compound with, a university science campus. The exhibits are arranged on five floors starting with dinosoars, fossils and skeletons on the ground floor and working up to a tropical rain forest replica on the uppermost floor. There are sections with preserved fish and amphibians, stuffed animals and preserved insects. The exhibits seem to concentrate on creatures that are, or were, to be found in Yunnan. Most exhibits are labelled in English and Chinese but the longer explanations and information boards are generally Chinese only. Overall it is a pleasant, clean, museum with the exhibits well presented and usually well lit. It is not really an interactive museum; there is plenty to point at and peer at but not much to do. There is a small table offering momentos for sale but otherwise no shop. Nor is there any onsite catering. ¥80 Yuan (September 2008). edit
- Yunnan Military Academy (云南陆军讲武堂;), 22 CuiHu Xi Lu, (昆明市翠湖西路22号), . The museum is in three sections with bilignual information boards and artefact labels. free. edit
- Yunnan Railway Museum (云南铁路博物馆; Yúnnán Tiělù Bówùguǎn), Kunming North Railway Station, 913 Beijing Road, Panlong District (盘龙区北京路913号火车北站; Pánlóngqū Běijīnglù Huǒchēběizhàn) (Section 1 is in the main railway station building, Section 2 is 500 metres to the east of the railway station), ☎ +86 871 6138610, . Closed Monday and Tuesday. This is a smallish museum dedicated to the various narrow gauge railways constructed to link Yunnan with other places. These railways were brought into existence principally through French-Chinese collaboration but the equipment originated in various countries. The museum is in two sections: The first contains maps, documents, models, information boards and small artifacts. The information boards and artifact labels are generally in Chinese and English, but many of the copies of original documents and annotated drawings are in French and Chinese. The second section of the museum houses various locomotives and rolling stock. Non-commercial photography is permitted but, as both sections of the museum are poorly lit, a tripod might be useful. Railway enthusiasts can probably browse contentedly for an hour or two but small children and people with no interest in history or railways might find 15 minutes to be more than long enough. Adults ¥10, children ¥5, one ticket provided access to both sections. edit
- Yunnan Provincial Museum (云南省博物馆; Yúnnánshěng Bówùguǎn), 118 Wuyi Road, Wuhua District (五华区五一路118号; Wǔhuáqū Wǔyīlù) [please note this is the old address, from Feb 2015 the museum has moved to Guandu Ancient Town, the Wuhua District Address is incorrect] (Quite central, situated on the southern side of the junction of Dongfeng West Road (东风西路) and Wuyi Road, bus routes 26, 52, 66, 73, 95, 98 and 100 all stop nearby), ☎ +86 871 6179536, 6179528, . 9:30AM-5:30PM, closed Monday. A smallish museum containing artifacts from the past 2,500 years. The items are presented quite and are reasonably well lit. For persons who are particularly interested in history one and a half hours might be sufficient. Descriptions are given in Chinese and English. Occasionally, the museum hosts temporary exhibitions on the ground floor. The permanent exhibitions are on the two upper floors, access by stairs only. Adults ¥10, students ¥5. edit
- Kunming City Museum (昆明市博物馆; Kūnmíngshì Bówùguǎn), 71 Ta East Road, Guandu District (官渡区拓东路71号; Guāndùqū Tàdōnglù), ☎ +86 871 3153310. A simple museum whose main attraction is a central pillar taken from an old temple (now destroyed) and other relics from the Dian Kingdom (a tribute state of the Western Song dynasty). A large part of the museum is taken up by a series of shops selling fossils/minerals (many of the fossils are fakes) plus overpriced Chinese paintings, textiles, porcelains and some furniture. Free, including af tour. edit
- Yunnan Nationalities Museum (云南民族博物馆; Yunnan Minzu Museum). A simple museum whose main attraction is a central pillar taken from an old temple (now destroyed) and other relics from the Dian Kingdom (a tribute state of the Western Song dynasty). A large part of the museum is taken up by a series of shops selling fossils/minerals (many of the fossils are fakes) plus overpriced Chinese paintings, textiles, porcelains and some furniture. edit
Streets and areas
- Kunming flower and bird market (昆明花鸟市场; Kūnmíng Huāniǎo Shìchǎng), (Very central and situated within the area bounded by Dongfeng West Road (东风西路) to the south, Wuyi Road (五一路) to the west, Renmin West Road (人民西路) to the north and Zhengyi Road (正义路) to the east). If purchasing cute little puppy dogs, live crickets, birds, live bird food, tortoises and other things creepy, crawly and/or fluffy is your thing then it is here to be had ... along with a few flowers and a great many trinkets. The most obvious stalls begin where Wuyi Road meets Dongfeng West Road but other sellers can be found on other streets within the district. edit
- Guandu Old Town (官渡古镇; Gūandù guzhèn), Guandu district (Bus 31, 165, 185, 186, 210, 908 and C85 goes here; you can also cycle (or walk, though this is far from the city centre): get on Qingnian Lu, ride south until Guangfu Lu and head east until reaching the intersection with 043 County Road/Baoguan Lu, following the brown bilingual signs..). Guandu Old Town is a 'new-old' area of southern Kunming, in many ways like a small slice of the old towns of Lijiang or Dali. In addition to beautiful classical architecture (the vast majority of it built in recent years), the area houses four temples (the largest one is the Guandu Shaolin Temple 官渡少林寺), parks, pavilions and bridges, souvenir stalls, and abundant shops and restaurants (donkey meat seem to be a favorite here, see also "Ah Bo's Burmese Cuisine"). The action is sort of centered on the square around the ancient Varja Pagoda (金刚塔), where the parks and most of the temples can be found. This place is packedon weekends, and one of Kunming's most pleasant people-watching spots. The Guandu Old Town is supposed to house the Gudu Liyuan Theater (古渡梨园), where traditional Yunnanese Opera is staged. edit
- Zhangguanying Secondhand Market (昆明二环北路,靠小屯立交桥), Erhuan Beilu (Under the viaduct formed by Erhuan Beilu. The nearest bus stop is the Jiaotong Xuexiao stop (交通学校站), 100 meters to the market's east on Puji Lu (普吉路). The stop is served by the 1, 8, 8 special line (专线) 53, 68 151, 189, C3 C10, C68 and C69 bus routes). 9AM-8PM. Housed in an old warehouse area, this place has an especially relaxed atmosphere, almost like a small world in itself. There's several restaurants and barbeque stalls, a hair salon, an acupuncturist and even a tattoo parlor (all in somewhat shabby condition) hidden away between shops and stalls of furniture, household appliances, porcelain, old computers, enormous stone lions, CD's, VCD's and DVD's, car paraphernalia, books, magazines, and souvenirs and antiquities of all kinds. Close by, on the other side of Puji lu (普吉路), is Duo'er Hui Shangye Taobaocheng (多尔惠商业淘宝城), a huge secondhand clothing market housed in a derilict and seemingly abandoned shopping mall building. Along Erhuan Beilu some other, similarly shabby, secondhand markets can also be found, one seemingly specialising in fake brand mobile phones. edit
- Kunming Zoo (昆明动物园; Kūnmíng Dòngwùyuán), (A few hundred metres north east of Green Lake, a few hundred metres east of Yunnan University, buses 101, 92, 95 to south side, buses 4, 22, 59. 74, 83 to north entrance), ☎ +86 871 5154546. The Zoo was built in 1953 and has over 300 species. There is a peacock garden, butterfly enclosure, avery and aquarium. In spring the zoo is reputed to be a sea of flowers, in particular the blossom of cherry trees and weeping Chinese crabapple trees. Overall the zoo is a pleasant enough place but with a slight air of weariness and decay about it. Local people also use it as a place for performing exercise or playing cards and mahjong. ¥15 (as of April 2011) with further ¥3 for the butterfly and peacock park. edit
- Kunming Botanical Gardens (昆明植物所; Kūnmíng Zhíwùsuǒ), . These gardens are 12km from Kunming proper and, together with the Black Dragon Park, constitute a national scenic area. The gardens have introduced precious flowers, traditional medicinal herbs, important trees and endangered plants of the province. Also they have cultivated many plants for domestication and the protection of their migration. The gardens have collected some 4,000 species of plants and established 10 special plant gardens and experimental districts. The camellia garden is unique in the country and has collected 40 spucles of camellias. Yunnan Province boasts more than 100 species of camellia. These gardens were one of the earlies gardens to collect the cedar. edit
- Dianchi (滇池湖; Diānchíhú; also known as Kunming Lake, Kunming Pond, and Southern Lake of Yunnan in ancient times). Plateau lake with beautiful scenery. The lake is 40 by 8 kilometers and is 1,886 meters above sea level. The lake water and the sky seem joining mutually like a city sea, dense mist and rolling water are on the surface of the lake, and sails are strolling above the water. It claims to be a pearl on the Yungui Plateau. It is the largest lake in Kunming. The west side of the lake is the mountain forest, while on the east side are lands dotted with the fisheries and agribusinesses. Traditional fishing boats still sail on the lake. The most beautiful view appears at dawn and sunset. The ocean-like lake is the best place to go for those people who wish to get away from the bustling city and be close to the nature. edit
- Green Lake Park (翠湖公园, Cuìhú Gōngyuán), (Located near Yunnan University in the north western part of town). A pleasant, smallish expanse of park and lake that serves as a mellow hang-out. Musicians sometimes practice along the paths. Plenty of goldfish and lotus plants can be seen. In the mornings it is a popular place for people to perform their morning exercises. During December and January many seagulls arrive in the region and in the mornings many people feed the birds or photograph them as they swoop past to catch the thrown food. There are a number of restaurants and tea shops near the lake and the northern edge is close to Wenlin Street where there are many restaurants. Free. edit
- Yunnan Nationalities Village (云南民族村; Yúnnán Mínzúcūn), 1310 Dianchi Road (滇池路1310号; Diānchílù) (near Dianchi Lake), . 9AM-6:30PM. Covering an area of about 133.3 hectares. An ethnographic display of the architecture and ways of life of Yunnan's minority populations. edit
- Jindian Park (昆明金殿公园; Kūnmíng Jīndiàn Gōngyuán; lit. Kunming Golden Temple Park), (On Mingfeng Mountain, seven kilometers northeast of Kunming, a taxi is around ¥20 and takes 20 minutes, buses 10 and 71 go there as well), ☎ 8. 8AM-7PM. The park, sprawling for more than 133.3 hectares on the Mingfeng Mountain, is a national forest reserve comprising natural scenery mingled with sites of historical interest and man-made gardens. Some 12% of the surface are lakes or ponds. On the Mingfeng Mountain stands the exquisite and serene Golden Temple, 6.7 meters in height and 7.8 meters in width, and cast of 250 tons of solid bronze. It is the largest bronze hall in China. The Expo Garden was constructed for the 1999 Kunming International Horticulture Exposition but is still in use and displays a wide variety of plants. It attracts many locals who can buy annual tickets at a fraction of the cost charged to foreigners, and is a popular site for wedding photographs. A day ticket purchased at the Southern gate of what is now known as the ''World Horti-Expo Garden'' is ¥100 (October 2010). edit
- Western Mountain Forest Reserve. The forest reserve on the west bank of the Dianchi Lake consists of the Huating, Taihua and Luohan Mountains, which extend for more than 40 kilometers at an altitude of 2,500 meters. This is a colossal natural forest reserve, its lofty chain of mountains crisscrossed by gurgling brooks and streams. Ancient trees heap up rich piles of foliage, and birds warble and flutter in the midst of fragrant flowers. Viewed from the southeast corner of Kunming, the entire forest reserve looks like a beautiful maiden reclining leisurely by the Dianchi Lake, her long hair quivering in the limpid water. Hence the nickname of the Western Mountains Forest Reserve, Sleeping Beauty. Dragon Gate (Longmen) is built on the steep rock hills, the carved stone Dragon Gate consists of the major part, which was cut in the years from 178l. No tourist can but be astonished at such elegant carving on such precipitous hills. On March 3, every lunar year, hundreds of Kunming people crowd up to the hills for celebrating their traditional distinguished gathering called Spring Touring, dancing and singing on the green western hills. edit
The stone forest near Kunming
- ShilinStone Forest (石林; Shílín), About 2 hours by bus from Kunming, luxury buses depart regularly from east side of Kunming main railway station (does not seem to be available anymore, oct 2011) or from eastern bus station, ¥29 to Stone Forest, other buses may charge ¥90 for the same trip, if one of the touts working in front of the train station assist you to find your bus their ¥10 commission will be added to your fare, . Shilin This is a UNESCO listed site of remarkable Karst geography. Good weekend trip and lots to see. It is not possible to change currency at the sole local bank and their ATM often does not work. Very good Youth Hostel (¥160 for doubles) or can get room at the Summer Hotel inside the nature reserve for around ¥200 for good a/c double room. Entry is pricey at ¥175 per person per day; ¥5 for chinese only map. edit
- Jiuxiang Scenic Area (昆明九乡风景区; Kūnmíng Jiǔxiāng Fēngjǐngqū). This scenic area is 20 sq km and includes five tourist attractions, Diehong Bridge (5km southeast from Jiuxiang Street, famous for the karst caves, the twin waterfalls and the huge natural stone dam cluster), Dasha Dam (consisting of picturesque karst caves and thick forest), Sanjiao Cave (5km north of Jiuxiang Street, famous for the karst caves), Alu Long [a scenic area 6km west of Jiuxiang Street, famous for the excavated Yi Nationality cliff paintings of Qin (221BC-206BC) and Han (206BC-220AD) dynasties] and Mingyue (meaning the bright moon) Lake. Jiuxiang is known as the museum of karst caves, which boasts its caves as the largest in scale and number (there are about a hundred karst caves) and has the most wonderful in-cave scenes in China. The caves in Jiuxiang fall into four cave clusters: Sanjiao Cave, Dashang Cave, Diehong Cave and Dasha Dam Cave. 66 out of the numerous caves in the area are profitably exploitable and the karst cave cluster is the largest of its kind on Yunnan-Guizhou plateau. The caves in the area are praised for their grandeur, wonder grotesquerie and natural beauty. Jiuxiang, the birthplace of the aboriginal Yi ethnic people, has a strong minority custom color, a long cultural history, and widely spread old myths and tales. These include Hunting Festival, the Worship the White Dragon Festival, Love Song Contest, Bullfighting, Wrestling, Sanxian Dance (Sanxian is a three-stringed plucked instrument), Rattle Stick Dance and so on. Tourists should take enough clothes since they may get wet in boats when they visit the karst caves and the gorges. The folk songs and dances and the local food are also special. What is more, Yangzonghai Lake Scenic Spot and Little White Dragon Forest Park are not far from Jiuxiang Scenic Spot. Tourists can take buses at the gate of the Jiuxiang to go there. edit
- Black Dragon Pool Park (黑龙潭公园; Hei-long-tan Park). Hei-long-tan Park Black dragon Pool is a rare large garden, is the Kunming plum resort, known as the" Longquan exploration plum". The" Tang Mei" legend from Nanzhao transplant, with the tranquility Caoxi Temple" Yuan Mei" is considered to be Yunnan's most precious Gu Mei. Entry is pricy at ¥20 per person per day;. edit
- Bao Hai Park Park in 1999December will open. Park green rate 61.3%, grow a winter cherry and large areas of evergreen lawn, extensive use of camphor, azaleas and other native plant landscaping, formed" squid constant four spring" green environment.Hai Bao Park is located in the southeast of the city of Kunming District, and China World Trade Center center adjacent to the north, South transit road, East and southeast by Wanxing, Yinhai Residential Garden West Road, treasure. It covers an area of 250 acres, is larger in Kunming modern city.
- Dinosaur Valley at Lufeng opened at 2008. This is a national park displaying more than 70 full dinosaur skeleton fossils found in the area, scattered over the mountains about 75 kilometers away from Kunming. Many attractions for kids available. Regular buses go from Kunming's West bus terminal. Very nice for a half-day trip. Entry 120¥.
- Kunming Art Theater, Dongfeng West Road (五华区东风西路; Wǔhuáqū Dōngfēngxīlù) (Buses 10, 26, 52 and 82). edit
- Kunming Theater (昆明剧院; Kūnmíngjùyuàn), 409 Qingnian Road (青年路409号; Qīngnián Lù). edit
- Huayang Academy, 6th Floor Vanke Xuefu Building, 296 Jianshe Rd. (五华区建设路296号万科学府6楼), . Learn Mandarin in Kunming. The school is offering intensive group courses of all levels, private lessons, conversation classes, and HSK exam preparation edit
- Kunming International Art Festival (中国昆明国际艺术节). Three weeks in April/May. Annual festival with music, dance, and art. edit
- Outdoor Equipment. As with mountainous cities elsewhere, you can buy fairly good quality fake and "overrun" outdoor and camping gear in Kunming. Shops can be found in a courtyard at 20 E. Dongfeng Road and on Baoshan Street close to the central square, as well as in the enormous garment district on the South Ring Road between the moat and the shopping center with the Carrefour. (Check the basement and top stories: no self-respecting counterfeit hawker would sell on the building's main floor.) Bargain hard. edit
- Local minority souvenirs, jade, and Chinese games, Flower and Bird Market (See [[#See|See]]). edit
- Mandarin Bookstore, 52 Wenhua Alley 9-10 (End of Wenlin Road: turn right after the police station). Has some English, French, and German books available for sale. Also has the Lonely Planet China guidebook (a relative rarity within China itself) for ¥330 (less a 15% discount as of May '09). edit
- Computer street, (near the zoo's north entrance, Bus 83 from railway station). If you need some IT stuff. Pay attention to counterfeit and if international warranty is available. edit
Local specialties include:
- Over-the-Bridge Rice Noodles (过桥米线; guoqiao mixian) is a noted Yunnanese dish. It has a long history, to which a vivid love story has been attached. The famous dish is essentially chicken-flavored hot pot: a big bowl of chicken soup is prepared with a layer of oil on top to preserve its heat for cooking the three courses. The first includes raw pork, cooked chicken, pork liver, and sliced squid and carp; the second includes various vegetables; and the third is a course of rice noodles.
- Steam Pot Chicken (汽锅鸡; qiguo ji) Steam Pot Chicken has been well-regarded since at least the early Qianlong Era of the Qing Dynasty, when it became popular among the lower classes. The pots from Jianshui County have traditionally been regarded as the best in Yunnan, with a hollow tube fixed in the center up to the height of the pot. The chicken, ginger, salt, and other ingredients are placed inside and then the pot is placed inside a second, larger one with boiling water, roasting the food gently and evenly.
- Goujie or Yiliang Roasted Duck—The roasted duck produced on Goujie Street in Yiliang is extraordinarily delicious, with crispy skin, tender meat, and a special slight aroma of pine needles.
- Xuanwei ham dates back to 1727 and won a prize at the Panama Fair in 1915. In 1923, Sun Yat-sen inscribed Yin He Shi De ("eat properly for a sound mind") for the ham while tasting it at a food competition in Guangzhou. It is exported to Southeast Asia and Europe. As a rule, Xuanwei ham is processed during the winter. Excellent pork legs are bled out completely, rubbed with salt until it reaches the proper depth, and then air or smoke dried. It is then tested when the surface of the pork turns green, usually by punching three needles into the ham to check the fragrance.
- Erkuai (饵块) is a chewy rice cake made from steamed rice, which is pounded, kneaded, and rolled into various shapes. The resulting cakes are used in a number of dishes: thinly-sliced erkuai stir-fried with spicy hot sauce and pork (chao erkuai), cut into square noodles served with gravy (lu er si), in soup, or rolled into pancakes wrapped around a youtiao (the Chinese fried dough stick) with a sweet or spicy sauce.
- Sweet Tonghai Peapowder Candy is a famous traditional snack.
- Qujing Pickled Chives Flower was first produced in the Guanxu Year of the Qing Dynasty. Its main ingredients are chives flowers, salt, wine, chili, and brown sugar.
- Sweet Pickled Kaiyuan Chinese Onion—Kaiyuan is a place in south Yunnan famed for its delicious sweet pickled Chinese onions. Brine, salt, chili, brown sugar, and wine flavor it over the three months it spends sealed in a jar before serving.
- Smoked Stinky Tofu (烟熏臭豆腐 yanxun chou doufu) is one of the popular snacks found in the night snack market in Kunming. The tofu is smoked over a charcoal fire.
- The Eight Treasures of Yunnan—Of all the well-known Yunnanese cakes, the Eight Treasures comes first. It is packed in eight small pieces. It consists of one hard-skin cake, a ham-stuffed moon part, two crispy white parts stuffed with purée, and two crispy parts stuffed with sesame, peanuts, mushroom, and pickled rutabaga.
- Wild mushrooms (菌子 junzi), quite expensive, fresh wild mushrooms
- Old Lady Potatoes (老奶洋芋 laonai yangyu) with peppers and fennel.
- Fried goat cheese (rubing), sometimes served with sugar or black pepper and salt.
- Kabobs—at night, Muslim street vendors set up charcoal grills where they barbeque potatoes, zucchinis, lamb, chicken, and beef on skewers—all sprinkled liberally with powdered chili unless you ask otherwise (不要辣, bù yào là). Typically ¥2 each.
- Muslim vendors can be found hawking granola-bar type snacks in the older part of town north of the train station. A tough but tasty treat sold by the kilo, the vendor will chop a piece off a huge nut- and honey-filled cake and make bars or squares as you like.
Halal restaurants (Hui and Uyghur cuisine) are scattered all across town, offering porkless noodle and rice dishes at bargain prices, often into the late hours. Try:
- Lánzhōu Fēngwèi Niúròumiàn (兰州风味牛肉面), No. 236 121 Blvd. (on the main university street, just north of Wenlin St). morning til 9PM. A friendly, immensely popular place; no English, but they have the standard picture menu. No alcohol allowed inside. Great barbecue skewers (available from afternoon forward). Single-person dishes, ¥6-12. edit
- Yuanxi Rd (园西路 Yuanxi Lu), (Next to the zoo). A street full of small restaurants and shops. There's a good place hidden behind an entrance with a small chinese-style roof on top, selling stinky tofu in the entrance. One shop to the left you can try pork brain or just some tasty dumplings. On the opposite side of the street, there's a Dai minority restaurant. You can recognize it by its bamboo-style walls. edit
- Guozilou (锅子楼), 76 Wenhua Alley at Wenlin St (文林街文化巷76附10号), ☎ (0871) 6403071. kitchen closes at 9PM. A big Yunnanese restaurant in the middle of trendy Wenhua Alley; picture menu with autotranslated Chinglish. Great meat and fish dishes; the veggies are better at Heavenly Manna a few doors down the street. Dishes ¥15-60. edit
- Heavenly Manna (吗哪; Mǎnǎ), 74 Wenhua Alley at Wenlin Street (文林街文化巷74号; Wénlín Jiē Wénhuà Xiàng) (Next to Salvador's), ☎ +86 871 5369399. Claustrophobic but cozy Yunnanese restaurant in the very trendy and fashionable Wenlin Street area. English menu. Fantastic food at fantastic prices and the locals know it. Prepare to wait for a table. Dishes ¥10-35. edit
- Ah Bo's Burmese Cuisine (瑞丽金锅贴), Food St, Guandu Old Town 官渡古镇特色小吃街, ☎ 15288148883. Far out of downtown in Guandu Old Town, but definitely worth a visit for it's authentic Burmese food and nice atmosphere with outdoor seating; on a good day, Burmese music videos are displayed inside. Ah Bo's has nice soups, omelettes, and banana pancakes, but the highlight is the freshly-pressed fruit juices, that are amazingly cheap even by Chinese standards. The passion fruit one is widely considered the best. Dishes ~¥20, fruit juice ¥7. edit
The main bar streets in town—Wenlin Street (文林街, Wenlin Jie) and Wenhua Alley (文化巷, Wenhua Xiang)—are lined with many Western cafes and restaurants, as well as a few Japanese, Korean, and Indian ones. They include:
- Great Australian Bite (考拉澳洲西餐厅), Bldg. 5, 14 Banzhuhou Street at E. Hongshan Rd., ☎ 0871 6464 5858. 10:30 to late. A 15 minutes' walk from Wenlin Street.An Australian steak house owned by an Aussie with an Aussie chef. Also serves burgers, pizza, pasta, and a range of other Australian mains. Famous for its traditional Sunday roast. edit
- Mazagran Cafe (水井咖啡屋), Bldg. 7, 201 Wenhua Alley 文化巷7栋201号 (In a side street just off Wenhua Alley, next to an imported candy store, opposite of Salvador's. 2F, the stairs are in the back of the building), ☎ (0871) 5352697. Owned by Christian missionaries. Has a good selection of Western meals and some delicious cakes and cookies. (The millionaire shortbread and cheesecake are favorites). The clientele is a mix of Westerners and locals, including lots of students looking for an afternoon study spot and enjoying the free wi-fi and old laowais meeting their dates. Its second-floor location and open frontage makes it a good place to watch Kunming's beautiful people on Wenhua Alley pass by below. Dishes ¥25-45. edit
- Salvador's, (Near the intersection of Wenhua Alley and Wenlin Street), . The meeting point for native English speakers. You can't miss them while you pass by—there's a high table outside where they all gather in the evening. Wide variety of western food and imported beer. They make excellent ice cream. edit
- French Cafe. Offers free wifi internet and serves a list of French options that cannot be found elsewhere in Kunming. Great homemade baguette, real french pastries, good coffee... The lovely atmosphere and the good music is a plus. It has become a popular spot to hang out and have a beer or two in the evenings. edit
- Games Cafe. Run by a Frenchman and his local wife, this place offers a stunning collection of boardgames in a few languages (mostly English and Chinese) and is popular with both foreigners and locals. Local and imported beers, home made noodles, various French food and amazing meal-portioned salads. edit
- Prague Cafe. Cute cafe with an upper level with books and magazines. Has a variety of meals including Japanese and Western cuisine. While this place largely remains a Chinese hangout, several foreigners looking for a quieter lunch or place to study Chinese can be seen. The staff are friendly and the coffee is probably second best in the area. Food is mediocre, pizza is microwaved from a box. Pricy drinks. Disgusting bathroom: ¥50 fine if you poop or throw paper in the toilet. edit
- Slice of Heaven, 168 Hong Shan Dong Lu (Next to the Yun An Shang Pin). 8.30am to 11pm. A 30 minutes' walk from Wenlin St. It's owned by a New Zealander and her business partner and specializes in Australian and Kiwi cuisine. Great pizzas, cakes, pies, etc. are all made on the premises. Reasonably priced imported wines. Nice place to spend an afternoon or evening. edit
- Shiping Huiguan (石屏会馆), 24 Zhonghe Alley at S. Cuihu Rd. (翠湖南路中和巷24号) (Near the south end of Green Lake Park), ☎ 87 1362 7222 or 7444. An expansive menu of Yunnanese cuisine in a large traditional Chinese multi-courtyard house: the amazing building is reason enough for a visit, though the food is also very good. The plate of fried insects is interesting but rather dry; laowai usually enjoy the river shrimp and baked fish; local favorites are the stone-pot chicken and pig-shaped baozi: come early or they'll be sold out. Wifi is available but not in all parts of the building. 50-150 RMB/person. edit
- Makye Ame (玛吉阿米), Jinhuapu Rd (近华浦路迪庆州驻昆办二楼) (Inside the Kunming office of Diqing Prefecture, west of the university area), ☎ (0871) 8336300. A Tibetan restaurant with fantastic atmosphere and design and nightly stage performances of Tibetan songs and dances. Some yak beef must of course be tried; there is plenty in the menu. 40-80. edit
The main bar streets in town are Wenlin St and Wenhua Alley. Several western-style retro-bars can alsobe found on E. Tuo Rd. east of Bailong Rd. These cater mostly to a local clientèle, affording an opportunity to mingle with locals.
Other bars include:
- Dyonysos (狄俄尼索), 8F, 1 Baoshan St. (盘龙区宝善街宝善1号8楼, 近前景动感天下) (A few buildings north-west of Jinbi square). A high class live-music bar. Very good local snacks and great selection of drinks. Usually six singers a night with other musicians between. Somewhat pricy but great to entertain guests downtown. edit
- Freedom Bar, E. Renmin Rd. (人民东路; Rénmíndōng Lù) (A few blocks west of Beijing Rd.). A club and bar with dance music, a small dance floor, and plenty of alcohol. During happy hours, foreigners are allowed three free drinks: either 3 whiskeys or 3 beers. edit
- Aoma Meili Pub (敖玛梅里餐厅; Áomǎ Méilǐ Cāntīng), 60 E. Dongfeng Rd. (东风东路60号; Dōngfēngdōng Lù) (Right by the Camellia Hotel), ☎ +86 871 3126036. This well-known western restaurant is undergoing some changes to be more of a bar. There are no other bars near the Camellia Hotel, so it is really nice! It is one of the few places with a Western bartender as well. He has lived in Yunnan for a few years and is really good if you'd like more information about the area. He said he just started here, so as soon as he gets all the equipment he promised some great cocktails! Good food, nice atmosphere. edit
- The bomb-shelter bar beneath the zoo closed in 2012.
Near railway station
There are a number of so-so budget options around the Railway Station and along Beijing Road north of the railway station:
- Golden Bridge Hotel (金桥大酒店; Jīnqiáo Dàjiǔdiàn), South Railway Station Square, Panling District (盘龙区火车南站广场; Pánlóng Qū Huǒchē Nánzhàn Guǎngchǎng) (Just outside the railway station to the left), ☎ +86 871 3532868. Not a bad option. From ¥40. edit
- Kunming Jin Jiang Hotel (昆明锦江饭店), 98 Beijing Road, Panlong District, ☎ +86 871 3138888, . Four star hotel offering 315 air-conditioned guestrooms, all of which have cable TV, broadband Internet access, toilet, and bath with spray-jet tub. Some of its amenities include massage service, sauna, fitness center, and beauty salon. Best rates on official website start at ¥320. edit
- Kunming Leshi Hotel (昆明乐仕宾馆; Kūnmíng Lèshì Bīnguǎn), 9 Nanba Road, Xishan District (西山区南坝路9号; Xīshān Qū Nánbà Lù), ☎ +86 871 3524196 (fax: +86 8713536598). Small rooms without internet access except for more expensive ones, which charge for access. Chinese restaurant. Listed rates for doubles from ¥168, discounted from ¥108, no breakfast available. edit
- International Youth Hostel, Zhanqian Lu and Yongfeng Lu (When you exit the train station, the first street you reach is Zhanqian Lu. Turn right and walk about two blocks.). A nice spot that is convenient if you have an early train to catch in the morning or if you arrive late at night. There is a nice balcony on the roof, a good place to hang washed clothes. Not much in the way of sightseeing around the hostel but, again, very convenient for the train station. ===Budget=== * Kinn One Hotel (京王酒店连锁(昆明南屏店); Jīngwáng Jiǔdiàn Liánsuǒ (Kūnmíng Nánpíng Diàn)), 88 W. Dongfeng Rd., Wuhua District (五华区东风西路88号; Wǔhuá Qū Dōngfēngxī Lù) (Close to downtown, two minutes' walk to the main pedestrian area, easy to miss since it only has a small entrance to its elevator), ☎ +86 871 6077555 (fax: +86 871 6179689). checkout: 1PM. A fairly new hotel. No english spoken at reception. Very clean, very good service, and the rooms on the north side of the building have a view over the bird market. LAN internet connection in rooms, free breakfast in the restaurant on the 9th floor. Laundry service available. From ¥120 for a double with en suite. edit From ¥120 for a double with en suite. edit
- The Hump Hostel (昆明驼峰客栈; Kūnmíng Tuófēng Kèzhàn), Jinma Rd., Jinma Biji Square, Jinbi Road (金马路金马碧鸡广场; Jīnmǎ Lù, Jīnmǎ Bìjī Guǎngchǎng) (Go to Beijing Rd, straight along to the first traffic light, head right to Yongping Rd, then cross the road to take Bus 107 (West) to the Jinmafang (5 stops, 1 RMB). The Hump is at the southeast of the square. Taxi 15 RMB.), ☎ +86 871 3640359 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . checkout: 12:00. This place is a cafe, bar, and hostel. It is on the third floor and has a rooftop garden where you can have drinks while overlooking Jinma Biji Square. The staff speaks some English and are helpful with booking tickets. Great selection of western style plates. Have pool table, DVDs and free wi-fi. Dorm ¥25, twins from ¥80, Double bed (shared bathroom) ¥110. edit
- Yuntel Inns (Kunming Xinying Branch) (云之舍酒店连锁 （昆明新迎店）; Yúnzhīshè Jiǔdiàn Liánsuǒ (Kūnmíng Xīnyíng Diàn)), 128 Wenyi Rd., Xinying Neighborhood, Panlong District (盘龙区新迎小区文艺路128号; Pánlóngqū Xīnyíngxiǎoqū Wényìlù), ☎ +86 871 6078588 (fax: +86 871 3321118). Small rooms with free internet. No restaurant. Listed rates for doubles from ¥188, discounted from ¥108, no breakfast available. edit
- Kunming Cloudland International Youth Hostel, 23 Zhuang Tang Lu (south of the corner of Xichang Rd. and W. Renmin Rd., west of Government Square), ☎ 0086-0871-4103777 (email@example.com). A great hostel with a great atmosphere. Clean with a good, inexpensive restaurant. Since being recommended by Lonely Planet it seems to have lost some of its charm and it has picked up many of the traits of well-trodden hostels (unfriendly and unknowledgeable staff, poor wifi/internet, more expensive facilities, etc). Several restaurants within a short walk.. Dorms beds from 40 RMB. edit
The City Cafe & Hostel was demolished a few years back.
- '7 Days Inn (7天连锁酒店, 7 Tiān Liánsuǒ Jiǔdiàn), Qingnian Rd., ☎ +86 871 8098088. Very clean rooms with helpful but non-English-speaking staff. Rooms with free internet. A free computer is also usually available in the lobby. The rooms come equipped with a satellite dish that covers channels from all over China (only one or two English channels). Because it is located in the city, do not be surprised to find no view from your window. Think Best Western. Doubles from ¥150. edit
- Spring City Star Hotel, 241 Baita Rd., ☎ +86 871 6161666. Formerly the Spring City Inn and, before that, the Yunnan Machinery Hotel. The hotel is in a quiet courtyard off busy Baita Rd., close to a secondary school. Fantastic value, exceptionally clean twin rooms, nice staff, A/C, internet, breakfast included. For laundry service, go just around the corner to the Aoma Meili Pub (¥10/kg). 4 floors, no elevator. Standard rooms with en suite bath are ¥138 (December 2008). edit
- Fairyland Hotel, 99 W. Dongfeng Rd. (东风西路99号; Dōngfēngxīlù) (No vehicle access from W. Dongfeng Rd. In the same building as YSSJ Hotel & New Era Hotel & Apartments. Lobby to the right of the New Era Hotel entrance), ☎ +86 871 6353777. Since the hotel lobby is located on the first floor, Fairyland has the advantage of receiving walk-ins first, but there are several other hotels in the same building that represent better value. Be aware that staff will generally not help you find the other hotels; to see them, go directly to the 9th floor. Rooms have a slight odor and an odd yellow-and-orange color scheme. Flat screen TVs, but no computer provided. No english speaking staff. Very central location. ¥268 for double (May 2011). edit
- YSSJ Hotel, 99 W. Dongfeng Rd. (东风西路99号; Dōngfēngxīlù) (No vehicle access from W. Dongfeng Rd. In the same building as the Fairyland & New Era Hotels and the New Era Apartments. Front desk is in room 910 on the 9th floor.), ☎ +86 871 3633348 (fax: +86 871 3633608), . * New Era Apartments, 99 W. Dongfeng Rd. (东风西路99号; Dōngfēngxīlù) (No vehicle access from W. Dongfeng Rd. In the same building as the New Era, Fairyland, & YSSJ Hotels. Entrance to the right of the revolving doors in front of the parking valet.), ☎ +86 871 2364684 (fax: +86 871 3635308). En-suite rooms with double bed, sofa, mediocre TV, good cable & internet access, approximately 30 m² of space, well lit, nicely decorated, uncramped, clean, & comfortable. A fridge and microwave might be provided in the room. The hotel does not occupy all the floors of the building, so the single (somewhat overworked) elevator does not stop at all floors but will often keep you waiting. Also the set of elevators in the main lobby of each floor do not stop at all, presumably because they are used by some other hotel in the same building. The rooms overlooking the square below can be noisy 9 AM-10 PM if some event is in progress in the square. Nearby are various eastern- and western-style restaurants and fast food joints, a very badly organized Carrefour supermarket, various retail outlets, and small stores. Doubles ¥180-240 (August 2008), depending on length of stay and haggling skills. edit Doubles ¥180-240 (August 2008), depending on length of stay and haggling skills. edit
- Expo Garden Hotel, No.5, Shibo Road, Panlong Area, (just up the hill from the entrance to the Expo Garden), ☎ 0871-5012666, . checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00. 7 km from downtown and taxis can be hard to find, so probably not a good choice unless you need to be in the area. Half the rooms face in towards an atrium which is used for noisy events on the weekends. Outward-facing rooms are OK but have rock-hard Chinese mattresses. Helpful staff all keen to practice their English. ¥400. edit
- Grand Park Hotel, 20 Hong Hua Qiao, Wuhua District (五华区洪化桥; ) (20 minutes by car from Kunming International Airport), ☎ +86 871 5386688 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +86 871 5381189), . Top business and leisure hotel with a splendid view of Green Lake. 300 rooms, including some 2-bedroom suites. edit
- Green Lake Hotel, 6 Cuihu South Road (+86 871 5158888), (fax: +86 871 5153286), . A modern luxury hotel. The bar has a panoramic view of Green Lake Park. Private car tours of the area are also offered. 293 rooms. edit
- Kunming Hotel, Panlong District, ☎ +86 21 61226688 ext. 7800 (email@example.com), . Jin Jiang Hotels' flagship hotel, the 4-star Kunming Hotel features highly business-oriented but very luxurious rooms and meeting areas. edit
- Kai Wah Plaza International Hotel, 157 Beijing Road, ☎ +86 871 3562828 (fax: +86 871 3561818), . A large, elegant hotel with glass lobby, panoramic views, and a shopping center next door. 555 rooms. edit
- King World Hotel Kunming (昆明锦江大酒店), 98 Beijing Road, . Kunming Jin Jiang Hotel is an award winning 4-star hotel. It has been awarded with various honors, including the 50 Best Star Hotels in China, Top100 Best Star Hotels in China, a role model of the National Youth Civilization Project. edit
- Zhen Zhuang Ying Binguan, 514 Beijing Road, ☎ +86 871 3165869. A very beautiful hotel in a large garden. The hotel of choice for the Chinese president and other high-ranking officials when they are in Yunnan, but not much English. 86 rooms. edit
- New Era Hotel, 99 W. Dongfeng Rd. (东风西路99号; Dōngfēngxīlù) (No vehicle access from W. Dongfeng Road. Near the Shuncheng Shopping Mall, facing the Tommy Hilfiger store. The same building houses the New Era Apts and the Fairyland and YSSJ Hotels.), ☎ +86 871 3624999 (fax: +86 871 3636556). Expensive for its class given that there are better-valued hotels literally next door but the front desk reception speaks English, which is a rarity in Kunming. Rooms generally have great views of the city. There is a gym, but no pool. The single room had a flat screen TV with several American channels (MTV, CNN, HBO), writing desk, and sofa. There is free wifi and you can rent laptops from the hotel. The bathroom was mostly clean with a slightly moldy tub. Complimentary breakfast buffet. To see the other hotels, go directly to 9th floor. Single ¥980 (May 2011). edit
- Public Saftey Bureau, 118 Tuodong Rd. M-F 09:00-12:00, 13:00-17:00. It takes 5 working days to get the visa extension. ¥160. edit
- Cambodia, 172 Xinying Rd, 4F, Guanfang Hotel, ☎ +86 871 3317-320. edit
- Myanmar (Burma), 99 Yingbin Lu, Guangdu District. edit
- Thailand, 145 Dongfeng E Rd, 1F, South Bldg, Kunming Hotel, ☎ +86 871 3168-916 (), . edit
Kunming is located in an earthquake zone and the last earthquake happened in 2009. In some seasons, torrential rains can cause flash floods.
There has been some terrorist activity, including bomb incidents in 2008 (one in Bus 54 and another inside Salvador's Coffee House) and an infamous knife attack at the train station in March 2014.
The buses are sometimes plagued by pickpockets, so keep an eye on your bags and pockets. There have also been reports of bag slashing in the downtown commercial area.
In 2010, travelers to Kunming reported barbershops, massage parlors, and other small shops involved in various cons. One such involves an older woman entering the shop and demanding a larger amount than was quoted. The woman together with the workers apply pressure and it can be especially intimidating to be surrounded by a shop filled with angry Chinese while your head is covered in soap (and it is dripping into your eyes), all your clothes and passport are locked in a closet (and they have the key), or together they are blocking the exit. If you give in to the much larger demanded amount, the service will continue. Disagreement can result in variations of the shop workers pushing you out barefoot with your hair half cut and full of soap or simply not allowing you to leave while one (or many) of the workers surround you attempting to reach your wallet. To date, so many incidents have been reported to the Kunming PSB that they are considering setting up Yunnan's first-ever Tourist Police unit. Note that the barbershops near the main railway station seem to be decent enough.
- Visit the hot springs at Anning - 34 kms from Kunming.
- The Western Mountains (西山, Xi Shan) provide a good view of the city and have a few ancient Taoist grottoes. Take Bus 5 west to the end of the route, then Bus 6 or a minibus. In total, the trip should take no more than an hour and a half. From the nearest Bus 6 stop, either take a minibus up to the main gate or walk about 3 hours. There is an entrance fee to the grottos (¥30).
- Travel further north-west to the old towns of Dali (4 hours) or Lijiang (8 hours), both very popular with foreign tourists. See Yunnan tourist trail for discussion.
- Fuxian Lake - one of cleanest and deepest lakes in China, albeit that's hard to believe when you see how locals wash their motorbikes on the beach. A great day trip. From South Bus Station, take Buses 156 or 170 (¥15-20) or a ¥40 taxi (~1 hr). From Chengjiang (澄江), you can walk 3-4 km to the lake or take local transport or a taxi. The last bus back to Kunming leaves at 7 PM. You also can camp on the beach, ideally not too close to the city. The lake is huge, clear, and beautiful! You can walk around it over a weekend or head to the south end of the lake, taking transport back to Kunming from one of the villages there.
- Yuanyang rice terraces to the south.
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