Kunming - Do & See
The best way to experience the charm of Kunming is simply wandering around the constantly changing city centre. Though modernizing the city is an ongoing process, most residences in Kunming still retain the traditional style of architecture, quadrangle courtyards with sun-powered water heaters and cooling even without air-conditioner, thanks to the landscape and climate. Flowers are abundant – in roadside stores, along green belts, on the tables of many restaurants or living places, giving the city a very pleasant vibe. Most sights outside the city are just a quick bus ride away, with enough to occupy the visitor for more than a couple of days.
The West Hill
Known as the "Sleeping Beauty", the tranquil surroundings of the West Hill is beautiful with lush vegetation, blooming flowers, green grass and ancient stone inscriptions. There is also a cliff with a view of Dianchi Lake. The highlight of this area is called "Dragon Gate". You can also get to the Ethnic Minorities Village from here by cableway. The tomb of Nie Er, the writer of the national anthem of China, rests on the hill.
You get the best view of Dian-chi Lake on a cruise in Haigeng Park. Particularly on light rainy days, the Lake appears most romantic. The park is a good place for public recreation like fishing and barbecue.
Chaotian Gate Plaza
The Grand View Park is in the west of Kunming with Dian-chi Lake close by. The pavilion, with a history of more than 300 years, is a three-storey square structure with flying eaves and golden lacquered ornaments. A historic couplet of 180 characters hangs down the pavilion, lauded as "number one couplet in the past and present". In winter the Siberian sea gulls stop by on their migratory flights.
World Horticulture Expo Garden
The World Horti-Expo Garden is a first class garden with a grand exhibition of horticulture from all over the world on open squares and gardens. Situated in the northern suburbs of Kunming, it is next to the Golden Temple scenic spot and 4 km from downtown.
Golden Temple Park
The park is the most prestigious Taoist resort and a national forest reserve in central Yunnan. The serene Golden Temple standing on the Mingfeng Mountain (in the park), is the largest bronze hall in China. It was built by General Wu Sangui, dating from the early Qing Dynasty.
Rare plants and tea flowers flourish in this traditional Chinese-style garden. It has become a local traditional custom to enjoy the blooming flowers in the park every annual Temple Fair, which is held on the 9th day of every Lunar New Year.
The natural landscape of the stone forest is a typical karst formation, which has been named a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site. Exposed to rain and winds and eroded by the elements, the limestone ranges were shaped by time into a vast forest of stone. Visitors are sometimes surprised by how the rock can have such a stunning beauty.
Green Lake Park
The Green Lake is known as the Jade of the city. Two long dikes divide the lake into four parts. Brightly painted pavilions, tree-lined walks and exercising locals all add to the appeal of the park. During the winter months, black-headed gulls from Siberia migrate to Green Lake and entertain the crowds of visitors as they circle around and snap up bread fed to them by birdwatchers and visitors. In the neighborhood there used to be a military school, Army Lecture Room, where the famous Chinese Generals Zhu De and Ye Jianying were educated in the 1910s.