Kunming

Kunming Travel Guide, Yunnan

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Overview

Kunming is known as the "Spring City". The weather is as temperate as spring all year round, not having severe winters or hot summers.

The rich cultural and historical heritage of the city offers a wealth of treasures. The Golden Temple Park and the Bamboo Temple are essential stops on the tourist route. The city also boasts numerous natural attractions, the Stone Forest being the most popular, winning world fame for of its breathtaking beauty.

Another fascinating aspect of the city are the many different cultures and ethnic groups thriving here. The ethnic groups, featuring a wealth of cuisine and entertainment, practice various cultural and religious activities.   >> Kunming Travel Maps

Highlights: Natural landscapes / Ethnic Minority Culture

Getting there & away

**By air
Kunming Wujiaba International Airport has connecting flights with most of the major Chinese cities such as Beijing/ Shanghai/ Chengdu/ Guangzhou/Guilin, as well as international destinations such as Hong Kong/Bangkok/Singapore/Kuala Lumpur. Flights from Kunming to Yunnan tourist destinations (Baoshan, Jinghong, Lijiang, Manshi, Xiaguan and Zhaotong) are generally available.

The airport is 5 km south of the city center. To get to the airport by taxi usually costs about Y15 and takes 20 minutes. Bus No. 52 runs from Daguan Tower via the main railway station to the airport. Also, bus No.67 runs by the north railway station via the main railway station. Bus No.78 runs between the airport and the north railway station via the municipal government building. Most of the above buses are available from 6am to 10pm.

**By train

There are two railway stations in Kunming.
The main railway station (also known as Nanyao station) is 4km from the city, a taxi ride is about Y10 and takes 15 minutes. Apart from bus lines that link the railway station with the airport, bus No.68 runs to the Expo '99 Garden and bus No.80 runs to the Xiyuan bus station. Most hotels in Kunming have rail ticket booking services. The main railway ticket office is at 19 Kubshi Lu not far from the Nanjing Hotel. There, tickets can be arranged from 8am-5:30pm (with a long lunch break).

  • Yunnan tourist trains:
    Kunming to Shilin (Number 202): 8:28am-9:55am
    Returning (Number 201): 3:20pm-4:47pm (Y20 for a one-way ticket and Y30 for a roundtrip ticket)

    Kunming to Dali (Number 213): 10:10pm-6:45am
    Returning (214): 7:42am-10:50pm(Y50 for a hard seat ticket and Y85 for a hard sleeper middle bunk)

The Northern Railway station might be useful for those seeking a further trip to Vietnam. Be careful as it is impossible to get a Vietnamese visa in Kunming, a visa has to be arranged beforehand in Guangzhou or Beijing or other parts of the world. The railway station is 3km north of  the city. A taxi will get you there for Y10 in 15 minutes. Bus No.25 and bus No.64 both run to the northern station (and the main Nanyao rail station as well) and bus No.78 runs between the northern rail station and the airport.

**By bus
There are four major long distance bus stations in Kunming:

1. The South station is directly opposite the Nanyao railway station on Beijing Lu. This is Kunming's major bus station and has bus routes to most regional destinations. There are two classes of bus generally available here: the cheaper Regular and the faster and more luxurious Gaokuai (literally "Highway Express"). The station is well managed and ideal for all manner of tourists.

2. The Railway station square bus station has buses for most destinations in Kunming, although it is less organized with more private buses that have less fixed schedules.

3. The Western station - Buses run to most regional destinations from here.

4. Huangtupo station - far from the city and most bus routes are not to tourist destinations, except only 2 sleepers to Zhongdian departing at 3 PM and 7 PM, probably stopping in Lijiang and Dali, it is not widely used by tourists.

Getting Around

Public buses and taxis are the two main means of transportation in the city.

  • By Public Bus: Over 100 bus lines crisscross the city  reaching every corner.Y1~2 for a non air-conditioned and air-conditioned .
  • By Taxi: The starting price is Y8.00 for the first 3km and Y1.0 will be added for per extra 1km. After 10:00 pm price is a bit higher .
  • By Bicycle : Hotels around the Kunming Railway Station provide bicycle rental service. the price is busually Y2 /hr and Y10 /day.
Sleeping
  • The Hump Hostel ("Tuofeng Kezhan"驼峰客栈 in Chinese) - Located in the city centre, it's the most popular budget hotel for backpackers in Kunming. Banks, shopping malls, super markets, restaurants and pubs are just within walking distance.  Y40/head for 4~6 beds room, Y150 for twin and double, Y90 for single. Most of its guests are overseas.

    From Wujiaba Airport to the Hump, a taxi costs approx. RMB20. If you arrive by train, you can call them 1 day ahead for free pickup from 9:00am to 6:00pm.

    Tel/Fax :0086-871-3640359; Address:Jinmabiji Square,Jinbi RD,Kunming,

  • Cloadland International Youth Hotel ("Dajiaoshi" in Chinese) - around 6km from the railway station and 15km from the airport. The hotel provide clean coverlet for guests, but you need to take off his/her coverlet and return it to the reception desk when checking out. Y40/head for 4~6 beds room, Y150 for twin and double, Y90 for single.

    Telephone:0871-4103777, Address:23# Zhuantang Lu, Kunming

  • Camellia Hotel (Chahua Binguan) - 3km from the railway station and 6km from the airport. The hotel also operates the Camellia Travel Agency which provides all kinds of local travel related services, including bike rental, ticketing, travel advice and organized tours. With its message board near the lobby, the hotel is also a great place to find a travel companion for further travel throughout Yunnan.

    Tel:0871-3163000, Address:154# Dongfeng Dong Road, Kunming

  • Yunnan University Guest House - Located in the quiet neighborhood around famous Yunnan University. It offers a full range of travel services including ticketing, travel advice and more. Famous as a guest house for foreign students in Kunming, the staff in the guesthouse speak excellent English and are really friendly and helpful.

    Telephone:0871-5034181, Address:121 street, Tianjudian Road, Kunming

Dining

The most fabulous of Yunnan food is Yunnan rice noodles (Guoqiao mixian, literally "Crossing the bridge rice noodles"). This tasty noodle dish made with chicken broth and super thin slices of meat is famous throughout all of China and you can try this typical Yunnan dish at the "Jixin Yunnan Flavor Restaurant" and the Guoqiaodu Restaurant. Other Yunnan treats to look for are the Yunnan Eight Pastries and also Xuanwei Ham.

For a taste of ethnic cuisine, such as Dai or Bai, there are many good restaurants in Kunming. Laozhiqing Restaurant is well known for its authentic, delicious Dai food.

After dark, street peddlers are all around the city selling noodles, snacks and other "street food". While street food can be lacking in the hygiene department on occasion, it is tasty and cheap. If you are brave (or completely insane!) enough, try snake, grilled rat or even fried bee.

Attractions

  • The Western Hills -16km from Kunming city, lying along the western shore of Dianchi Lake. It stretches from north to south for about 40 km. The Hills resemble a reclining maiden lying on the banks of Dianchi Lake with her long hair flowing down into the lake. it's a forested park for hiking. Some of the major sites include: Huating Temple (Huating Si), an ancient Buddhist temple that was originally a retreat for the local ruler; Taihua Temple (Taihua Si), with its charming orchard courtyard; Sanqing Pavilion (Sanqingge), a Daoist temple dedicated to that religion's three major deities; and Dragon Gate (Longmen), a collection of Daoist caves and sculptures.  Recommend you take at least half a day to climb the Hills and explore the various sites along the way.

    Get there - Bus No. 51 and No.6 both reach the the park. A taxi costs Y30 and takes 40 minutes from the city center. There is a cable car linking the Dragon gate and the Yunnan Nationalities Village. Y50 for round way ticket and Y30 for one way.

    [Admission fee:Y20,  Opening Hours: 8am-7pm]
  • Dian Lake (Dianchi) - the 6th largest freshwater lake in China, also known as Kunming Lake or Kunming Pond (Kunmingchi), was formed by the subsidence of a fault zone. The lake and the area around the lake is regarded as the center of Kunming's attractions. Located 10 km from the city and covers a vast area in Southwest Kunming, the beauty of the lake can be appreciated from Daguan Tower, the Western Hill Park, or the "Yunnan Nationalities' Village".

    How to get there: A Taxi ride to the northern section of the lake near Daguan Tower lakeside from the city center should cost you a mere Y15.
  • Golden Temple Park - Located 8km east of the city center. The most interesting attractions in the Golden Temple Park (Jindian Gongyuan) are the Taihe Palace (Taihegong) and the Golden Temple (Jindian).

    Taihe Temple is the most important and active Taoist temple in Yunnan. Atop the front gate, is a large horizontal board inscribed with the Chinese saying "Ying Wu Chun Shen", meaning "Spring abounds on Yingwu Mountain" (the site of the park).

    The Ming Dynasty Golden Temple is the most unique and well known structure in the park. It, like Taihe Temple, is a Taoist temple. However, the special thing about Jindian is the architecture. The walls, sixteen pillars, rafters, roof tiles, altar, statues, altar-hanging, the horizontal inscribed board, the table and even the banner on the right in front of the temple are all made from bronze. The whole temple weighs more than 280 tons, making it not only one of the four largest bronze temples in China, but also the heaviest and best preserved.

    Get there - A taxi ride from the city center is about Y20 and take less than 30 minutes. Bus No.10 connects the park with Yuantong Dong Lu near the Yuantong Temple.

    [Admission fee: Y15, Opening Hours: 8am-7pm]
  • Bamboo Temple - Located on the Yu'an Mountain, 15km from the center of Kunming.Bamboo Temple is a Tang Dynasty construction known for its Arhat statues,arguably the most famous of Kunming's temples. Arhats are famous monks and "saints" of Chinese Buddhism, usually displayed in large groups of 500 or more. The Arhats of the Bamboo Temple were made over a period of 7 years by a famous craftsman from Sichuan.

    On each side of the temple gate stand 4 ancient Cypress trees, planted during the Ming Dynasty, more than 400 years ago. Entering the temple, the first thing visitors notice is the carefully designed courtyard, spread over 4 layers, one on top of another. The Main Hall contains a trinity of enormous gilded Buddha statues seated on lotus thrones.

    Get there: minibuses departing from the railway station are not on a fixed schedule, the best way may be to take a taxi,around Y40.
  • The Yunnan Nationalities Village (Yunnan Minzucun) - located 7km south of the city center and on the northeastern shore of Dianchi Lake. 25 different independent villages have been planned and 20 was constructed. In addition to these "ethnic villages", there are activities such as a welcoming ceremony with performing White Elephants, the Dinosaur Island theme park area, a concert area for ethnic singing and dancing performances, as well as an Asian Elephant show in the Plaza of Ethnic Unity. The climax of a visit to the Nationalities Park is a film shown on a fountain of water. The "villagers" are all chosen from the youth of the relevant nationalities to act as guides and performers for tourists. The three major villages represent the Dai, the Bai and the Yi nationalities.

    Get there- by taxi at about Y20 from the center of Kunming. Also, bus number 44 reaches.

    [Admission fee: Y45, Opening Hours: 8am-7pm]

Useful Telephone Numbers

Area code:0871
Airport Info: 3133216
Railway Info: 3162321
Coach Info: 3510617
Accident: 3165603
Animal & plant quarantine: 4141342
Kunming Post Office:3160858
Air Ticket Reservations: 3164270
Kunming People's Hospital:3188176
Kunming Tourist Vehicle Co.:3317114
Complaint against taxi drivers: 3312533
Kunming Branch, Bank of China: 3160827
Chuncheng Evening Newspaper 24hr: 4141291

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